While researchers agree that the birth of new neurons plays an important role in the adult brain, they have long linkurl:debated;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23351/ to which aspects of learning, memory and behavior the process contributes. A new linkurl:study;http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nature06562.html published today (January 30) in Nature has used a gene knockout approach to link adult neurogenesis to spatial learning. The paper showed that adult mice that were deficient for a neurogenesis-linked gene , Tlx, had diminished learning and memory capabilities compared to their wild-type counterparts. The researchers, led by linkurl:Ronald Evans;http://www.salk.edu/faculty/faculty_details.php?id=21 at the Salk Intsitute for Biological Studies, demonstrated that knock-out mice took, in some cases, 10% longer than the controls to navigate a water maze. In the past, researchers have irradiated the hippocampus or used drugs that blocked neurogenesis to observe the outcome on behavior in animal models. But using a genetic approach adds a lot of power to the study, linkurl:Elizabeth Gould;https://weblamp.princeton.edu/~psych/psychology/research/gould/index.php...
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