Applying gene regulatory network logic to the evolution of social behavior

Figure 1: GRN and SBN circuits. (A) Circuit diagram representing the GRN controlling forebrain specification at midlate gastrula stage. The diagram shows the regulatory activity of key developmental transcription factors implicated in the specification of the different forebrain domains. Modified from ref. 11. (B) Simplified circuit diagram representing the core social behavior neural network for aggression, plus several key regions in the mesolimbic reward pathway.

Figure 1: GRN and SBN circuits. (A) Circuit diagram representing the GRN controlling forebrain specification at midlate gastrula stage. The diagram shows the regulatory activity of key developmental transcription factors implicated in the specification of the different forebrain domains. Modified from ref. 11. (B) Simplified circuit diagram representing the core social behavior neural network for aggression, plus several key regions in the mesolimbic reward pathway.

Nicole M. Baran, Patrick T. McGrath, & J. Todd Streelman
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS)
Vol. 114, No. 23 (June 2017), pp. 5886–5893

Abstract: Animal behavior is ultimately the product of gene regulatory networks (GRNs) for brain development and neural networks for brain function. The GRN approach has advanced the fields of genomics and development, and we identify organizational similarities between networks of genes that build the brain and networks of neurons that encode brain function. In this perspective, we engage the analogy between developmental networks and neural networks, exploring the advantages of using GRN logic to study behavior. Applying the GRN approach to the brain and behavior provides a quantitative and manipulative framework for discovery. We illustrate features of this framework using the example of social behavior and the neural circuitry of aggression.

Baran, N.M., McGrath, P.T., Streelman, J.T. (2017) Applying gene regulatory network logic to the evolution of social behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/05/30/1610621114

Nicole M. Baran