News-Medical.net - Study Provides New Insight Into Human Cognitive Function and Risk for Neurological Diseases

 – November 22, 2012 /Press Release/  –– 

Short snippets of DNA found in human brain tissue provide new insight into human cognitive function and risk for developing certain neurological diseases, according to researchers from the Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. There are nearly 40 million positions in the human genome with DNA sequences that are different than those in non-human primates, making the task of learning which are important and which are inconsequential a challenge for scientists. Rather than comparing these sequences strand by strand, Schahram Akbarian, MD, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, wanted to identify the crucial set of differences between the two genomes by looking more broadly at the chromatin, the structure that packages the DNA and controls how it is expressed. "While mapping the human genome has taught us a great deal about human biology, the emerging field of epigenomics may help us identify previously overlooked or discarded sequences that are key to understanding disease," said Dr. Akbarian.
- Dr. Schahram Akbarian, Professor, Psychiatry, Neuroscience, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
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