Can Neuroplasticity Create New Genes?
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. This surprising ability allows the brain to adapt and recover from injury, learn new skills, and compensate for degenerative diseases.
New research has shown that neuroplasticity may also allow the brain to create new genes. This finding could have major implications for our understanding of how the brain works and how we can optimize its function.
The study, which was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Toronto, found that neuroplasticity can induce the formation of new genes in the brain. This process is known as “transcriptional reprogramming.”
Transcriptional reprogramming is a way for cells to create new genes in response to changes in their environment. For example, when a cell is exposed to a new stressor, it can transcribe new genes that help it adapt to the new situation.
In the case of the brain, transcriptional reprogramming may allow neurons to create new genes that helps them survive in a changing environment. For example, if a neuron is damaged, it may transcript new genes that help it repair itself or compensate for the loss of function.
The finding that neuroplasticity can induce transcriptional reprogramming is significant because it suggests that the brain has a greater capacity for self-repair than we previously thought. It also opens up the possibility that we can use transcriptional reprogramming to improve brain function in people with neurological disorders.
The study was conducted in mouse models, but the findings are likely to apply to humans as well. The next step will be to conduct further research to confirm the findings and to determine how we can harness transcriptional reprogramming to improve brain function.