Scientists Discover That the Genes for Learning and Memory Are 650 Million Years Old

Genetic DNA Close Illustration

Researchers have found that genes linked to complex behaviors like learning and aggression originated around 650 million years ago, potentially influencing the Cambrian Explosion. This discovery may provide insights into the origins of various complex behaviors in animals, including humans.

A team of scientists led by researchers from the University of Leicester has determined that genes responsible for learning, memory, aggression, and other complex behaviors emerged approximately 650 million years ago.

The research spearheaded by Dr. Roberto Feuda, of the Neurogenetic group within the Department of Genetics and Genome Biology, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Leicester and the University of Fribourg (Switzerland), has recently been published in the journal Nature Communications.

Dr. Feuda said: “We’ve known for a long time that monoamines like serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline act as neuromodulators in the nervous system, playing a role in complex behavior and functions like learning and memory, as well as processes such as sleep and feeding.

Roberto Feuda

Dr. Roberto Feuda. Credit: University of Leicester

“However, less certain was the origin of the genes required for the production, detection, and degradation of these monoamines. Using the computational methods, we reconstructed the evolutionary history of these genes and showed that most of the genes involved in monoamine production, modulation, and reception originated in the bilaterian stem group.

“This finding has profound implications on the evolutionary origin of complex behaviors such as those modulated by monoamines we observe in humans and other animals.”

The authors suggest that this new way to modulate neuronal circuits might have played a role in the Cambrian Explosion – known as the Big Bang – which gave rise to the largest diversification of life for most major animal groups alive today by providing flexibility of the neural circuits to facilitate the interaction with the environment.

Dr. Feuda added: “This discovery will open new important research avenues that will clarify the origin of complex behaviors and if the same neurons modulate reward, addiction, aggression, feeding, and sleep.”

Reference: “The monoaminergic system is a bilaterian innovation” by Matthew Goulty, Gaelle Botton-Amiot, Ezio Rosato, Simon G. Sprecher and Roberto Feuda, 6 June 2023, Nature Communications.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-39030-2

6 Comments on "Scientists Discover That the Genes for Learning and Memory Are 650 Million Years Old"

  1. Michael Van Orden | September 21, 2023 at 7:38 am | Reply

    Zero, I read the article twice, zero discussion regarding methods and data points used to determine age of these genes. Literally no attempt, which is contrary to almost all Scitech articles. This is a “clearinghouse” for science research. This article was not worthy of publication on your platform, and does a huge disservice to readers. I come here for science, not pseudo science, that covers an agenda. I can get that anywhere. Clean up this garbage, of you will soon join Sears and K-Mart.

  2. Science doesn’t say anything, scientists do.

  3. Two words on this story ……. Garbage science ……. Smh

  4. Memory mechanism is more ancient. Memory is saved as bit string of nitric oxide to microtubules dimer hinges when the MT is polymerized. Pauli repulsion join NO to N of tryptohane at the end of dimer. When streched MT relax the unbonding electrons of indole ring pair as Cooper pairs. The cloud of CP is Bose Einstein condensate which is consciousness. In Brains myelin sheaths are mass memory entities. When sheat loosens all MT inside it relax and play their BECs. Oligodentrocytes associates the memory entities

  5. What if the link we were missing was dinosaurs we evolved from them think about the air back then would of been toxic to us, but not to ruff scales and hard skin. Also we were still evolving at the time think of what we really are but a tad pool at first microscopic at first but grows. The air cleans up plants come back but to different air cause volcanos cooled enough to stop some toxins the balance between the north and South Pole being frozen prob also keep our planet cool enough to not have a ton of volcanic eruptions and molten lava moving around cause so many earth quakes we’ll humans adapt as we have atleast seen so far back.

  6. Of course they did. Anything to prop up their dead theory of evolution. But how in the world can they date a gene, just insanity trying to prop up the ridiculous

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