Friday, October 20, 2006

Scientists Discover How Memory Genes Work

Researchers at Zurich University have made an important step in improving understanding of how the human memory works.

They have for the first time been delving into the human genetic sequence to identify new memory-related genes.

One of their most important discoveries is the function of the Kibra gene, which helps regulate memory performance.

The scientists say the results of the study could help in the search for solutions to memory related diseases such as Alzheimer's and depression.

The research, headed by Andreas Papassotiropoulos and Dominique de Quervain from Zurich university's Division of Psychiatry Research - and done in collaboration with Dietrich Stephan from the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix, United States - is published in Friday's edition of the magazine, Science.

"The main objective of our research group is to identify the molecular underpinnings of human memory because very little is known about how memory works," Papassotiropoulos told swissinfo.

"Our work was to establish a new way of looking at things based on new information about the human genome. We hoped to identify novel and as yet undescribed memory-related genes in humans."

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