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Brain, Behavior and Evolution

María Inés Sotelo, M Florencia Daneri, Verner Peter Bingman, Rubén N Muzio
Amphibians are central to discussions of vertebrate evolution because they represent the transition from aquatic to terrestrial life, a transition with profound consequences for the selective pressures shaping brain evolution. Spatial navigation is one class of behavior that has attracted the interest of comparative neurobiologists because of the relevance of the medial pallium/hippocampus, yet, surprisingly, in this regard amphibians have been sparsely investigated. In the current study, we trained toads to locate a water goal relying on the boundary geometry of a test environment (Geometry-Only) or boundary geometry coupled with a prominent, visual feature cue (Geometry-Feature)...
November 26, 2016: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Benjamin Pawlik, Tina Schlüter, Heiner Hartwich, Saskia Breuel, Lennart Heepmann, Hans Gerd Nothwang
The neurons in the mammalian and avian auditory hindbrain nuclei share a number of significant morphological and physiological properties for fast, secure and precise neurotransmission, such as giant synapses, voltage-gated K+ channels and fast AMPA receptors. Based on the independent evolution of the middle ear in these two vertebrate lineages, on different embryonic origins of the nuclei and on marked differences on the circuit level, these similarities are assumed to reflect convergent evolution. Independent acquisition of similar phenotypes can be produced by divergent evolution of genetic mechanisms or by similar molecular mechanisms...
November 19, 2016: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Da-Wei Liu, Ying Lu, Hong Young Yan, Harold H Zakon
Losses of cone opsin genes are noted in animals that are nocturnal or rely on senses other than vision. We investigated the cone opsin repertoire of night-active South American weakly electric fish. We obtained opsin gene sequences from genomic DNA of 3 gymnotiforms (Eigenmannia virescens, Sternopygus macrurus, Apteronotus albifrons) and the assembled genome of the electric eel (Electrophorus electricus). We identified genes for long-wavelength-sensitive (LWS) and medium-wavelength-sensitive cone opsins (RH2) and rod opsins (RH1)...
November 8, 2016: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Alice Schade Powers
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
August 24, 2016: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
(no author information available yet)
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
August 24, 2016: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Kent D Dunlap
Fish have unusually high rates of brain cell proliferation and neurogenesis during adulthood, and the rates of these processes are greatly influenced by the environment. This high level of cell proliferation and its responsiveness to environmental change indicate that such plasticity might be a particularly important mechanism underlying behavioral plasticity in fish. However, as part of their highly labile physiology and morphology, fish also respond to the environment through processes that affect cell proliferation but that are not specific to behavioral change...
August 24, 2016: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Lara D LaDage
Although hippocampal neurogenesis in the adult brain has been conserved across the vertebrate lineage, laboratory studies have primarily examined this phenomenon in rodent models. This approach has been successful in elucidating important factors and mechanisms that can modulate rates of hippocampal neurogenesis, including hormones, environmental complexity, learning and memory, motor stimulation, and stress. However, recent studies have found that neurobiological research on neurogenesis in rodents may not easily translate to, or explain, neurogenesis patterns in nonrodent systems, particularly in species examined in the field...
August 24, 2016: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Øyvind Øverli, Christina Sørensen
Individual variation in how animals react to stress and environmental change has become a central topic in a wide range of biological disciplines, from evolutionary ecology to biomedicine. Such variation manifests phenotypically as correlated trait-clusters (referred to as coping styles, behavioral syndromes, shyness-boldness, or personality traits). Thresholds for switching from active coping (fight-flight) to inhibition and passive behavior when exposed to stress depend on experience and genetic factors. Comparative research has revealed a range of neuroendocrine-behavioral associations which are conserved throughout the vertebrate subphylum, including factors affecting perception, learning, and memory of stimuli and events...
August 24, 2016: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Hans-Peter Lipp, Luca Bonfanti
Mammalian adult neurogenesis has remained enigmatic. Two lines of research have emerged. One focuses on a potential repair mechanism in the human brain. The other aims at elucidating its functional role in the hippocampal formation, chiefly in cognitive processes; however, thus far it has been unsuccessful. Here, we try to recognize the sources of errors and conceptual confusion in comparative studies and neurobehavioral approaches with a focus on mice. Evolutionarily, mammalian adult neurogenesis appears as protracted juvenile neurogenesis originating from precursor cells in the secondary proliferation zones, from where newly formed cells migrate to target regions in the forebrain...
August 24, 2016: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Barbara S Beltz, Georg Brenneis, Jeanne L Benton
The 1st-generation neural precursors in the crustacean brain are functionally analogous to neural stem cells in mammals. Their slow cycling, migration of their progeny, and differentiation of their descendants into neurons over several weeks are features of the neural precursor lineage in crayfish that also characterize adult neurogenesis in mammals. However, the 1st-generation precursors in crayfish do not self-renew, contrasting with conventional wisdom that proposes the long-term self-renewal of adult neural stem cells...
August 24, 2016: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Carolyn L Pytte
Our understanding of the role of new neurons in learning and encoding new information has been largely based on studies of new neurons in the mammalian dentate gyrus and olfactory bulb - brain regions that may be specialized for learning. Thus the role of new neurons in regions that serve other functions has yet to be fully explored. The song system provides a model for studying new neuron function in brain regions that contribute differently to song learning, song auditory discrimination, and song motor production...
August 24, 2016: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Alice Schade Powers
Studies of the relationship between behavioral plasticity and new cells in the adult brain in amphibians and reptiles are sparse but demonstrate that environmental and hormonal variables do have an effect on the amount of cell proliferation and/or migration. The variables that are reviewed here are: enriched environment, social stimulation, spatial area use, season, photoperiod and temperature, and testosterone. Fewer data are available for amphibians than for reptiles, but for both groups many issues are still to be resolved...
August 24, 2016: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Leah C Wilson, James L Goodson, Marcy A Kingsbury
In many species, seasonal variation in grouping behavior is widespread, with shifts towards territoriality in the breeding season and grouping in the winter. Compared to the hormonal and neural mechanisms of seasonal territorial aggression, the mechanisms that promote seasonal grouping have received little attention. We collected brains in spring and winter from wild-caught males of two species of emberizid sparrows that seasonally flock (the field sparrow, Spizella pusilla, and the dark-eyed junco, Junco hyemalis) and two species that do not seasonally flock (the song sparrow, Melospiza melodia, and the eastern towhee, Pipilo erythrophthalmus)...
2016: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Jesús M López, Lorena Morales, Agustín González
The present immunohistochemical study represents a detailed spatiotemporal analysis of the localization of orexin-immunoreactive (OX-ir) cells and fibers throughout development in the brain of the anuran amphibian Xenopus laevis, a model frequently used in developmental studies. Anurans undergo remarkable physiological changes during the early life stages, and very little is known about the ontogeny and the localization of the centers that control functions such as appetite and feed ingestion in the developing brain...
2016: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Julian P Knopf, Patrick R Hof, Helmut H A Oelschläger
We investigated the morphology of four primary neocortical projection areas (somatomotor, somatosensory, auditory, visual) qualitatively and quantitatively in the Indian river dolphins (Platanista gangetica gangetica, P. gangetica minor) with histological and stereological methods. For comparison, we included brains of other toothed whale species. Design-based stereology was applied to the primary neocortical areas (M1, S1, A1, V1) of the Indian river dolphins and compared to those of the bottlenose dolphin with respect to layers III and V...
2016: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Devin P Merullo, Caroline S Angyal, Sharon A Stevenson, Lauren V Riters
Some animals, including songbirds, vocalize at high rates when alone or in large groups. In songbirds, vocal behavior in these contexts is important for song learning and group cohesion. It is not obviously targeted at any particular individual and is described as 'undirected'. Studies suggest a role for dopamine (DA) in undirected song. The neuropeptide neurotensin (NT) can enhance dopaminergic signaling upon binding to the NT receptor 1 (NTR1) and is found in regions where DA can influence song, including the ventral tegmental area (VTA), septum, and the song control nucleus Area X...
2016: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Andrew C Halley
Variation in relative brain size among adult mammals is produced by different patterns of brain and body growth across ontogeny. Fetal development plays a central role in generating this diversity, and aspects of prenatal physiology such as maternal relative metabolic rate, altriciality, and placental morphology have been proposed to explain allometric differences in neonates and adults. Primates are also uniquely encephalized across fetal development, but it remains unclear when this pattern emerges during development and whether it is common to all primate radiations...
2016: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Erin E Mattson, Christopher D Marshall
Histological data from terrestrial, semiaquatic, and fully aquatic mammal vibrissa (whisker) studies indicate that follicle microstructure and innervation vary across the mystacial vibrissal array (i.e. medial microvibrissae to lateral macrovibrissae). However, comparative data are lacking, and current histological studies on pinniped vibrissae only focus on the largest ventrolateral vibrissae. Consequently, we investigated the microstructure, medial-to-lateral innervation, and morphometric trends in harp seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus) vibrissal follicle-sinus complexes (F-SCs)...
2016: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Emily C Turner, Nicole A Young, Jamie L Reed, Christine E Collins, David K Flaherty, Mariana Gabi, Jon H Kaas
According to previous research, cell and neuron densities vary across neocortex in a similar manner across primate taxa. Here, we provide a more extensive examination of this effect in macaque monkeys. We separated neocortex from the underlying white matter in 4 macaque monkey hemispheres (1 Macaca nemestrina, 2 Macaca radiata, and 1 Macaca mulatta), manually flattened the neocortex, and divided it into smaller tissue pieces for analysis. The number of cells and neurons were determined for each piece across the cortical sheet using flow cytometry...
2016: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Catherine A McCormick, Shannon Gallagher, Evan Cantu-Hertzler, Scarlet Woodrick
The nucleus medialis is the main first-order target of the mechanosensory lateral line (LL) system. This report definitively demonstrates that mechanosensory LL inputs also terminate in the ipsilateral dorsal portion of the descending octaval nucleus (dDO) in the goldfish. The dDO, which is the main first-order auditory nucleus in bony fishes, includes neurons that receive direct input from the otolithic end organs of the inner ear and project to the auditory midbrain. There are two groups of such auditory projection neurons: medial and lateral...
2016: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
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