Skip to comments.Scientists discover the 'Homer Simpson' gene that makes mice more intelligent if it is switched off
Posted on 09/22/2010 12:59:50 PM PDT by Nachum
Scientists have discovered a gene which makes mice more intelligent when it is not working. Nicknamed the Homer Simpson gene, after the hapless cartoon character, it operates in a part of the brain which regulates how animals learn and form new memories. The researchers from the Emory University School of Medicine say that deleting the gene in mice made them more skilled at navigating mazes and remembering objects. (Snip) John Hepler, PhD, professor of pharmacology at Emory University School of Medicine, said: "A big question this research raises is why would we, or mice, have a gene that makes us
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Mmmmmm - The Democrat Gene
“A big question this research raises is why would we, or mice, have a gene that makes us less smart
Put into a virus and injected along with the last flu vaccines.
[Wow, I actually scared myself}
Genes are not the reason Homer is stupid. He has a crayon crammed up his nose and into his brain. When it’s removed he is very intelligent.
what is the reproductive advantage to being stupid?
keep making babies despite the lack of family resources to raise them?
induce mating with ugly people? (beer goggle gene?)
Dumb not-a-ping to you.
As to why we (and mice) would have a gene that makes it easier to forget, perhaps they should consider that while being locked into the memory of a maze may be advantageous to a lab raised maze walking mouse - it could be absolute MURDER for a wild mouse that has to adapt to changing circumstances and cannot be a slave to its memory.
Imagine if you never forgot anything! I asked out a gal once, and she turned me down.... never do THAT again!
I always thought it was the lack of a gene but it makes sense because you can’t be that stupid from nothing.
FREE HEALTH CARE FREE FOOD STAMPS FREE HOUSING FREE LOADING...............
“Shut up, brain, or I’ll stab you with a Q-Tip!”
“How is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain - remember when I took that home winemaking course, and I forgot how to drive?”
“I hope I didn’t brain my damage!”
“I am so smart, I am so smart, S M R T, I mean S M A R T.”
“Simpson gene? That’s just foolishness!”
Scouts Out! Cavalry Ho!
They want democrat/liberal voters
You’re right. The brain needs to dump useless stuff...
I thought it was the removal of a crayon lodged in his brain that caused his upswing in intelligence.
All right Brain, you don’t like me, and I don’t like you. But let’s just do this and I can get back to killing you with beer.
I think it is something like creativity -vs- autism. Most people are not flaky crazy creative, and neither are they rigidly autistic - they are somewhere in the middle.
Now a gene variation that makes you more mathematically inclined and intellectually rigorous may also make you more prone to autism, while loosening up that rigidity can lead to more free wheeling creativity, but can also lead to craziness of a different sort.
If this gene was evolutionarily conserved from the time when mice and men shared a common ancestor, it is obviously doing something worthwhile.
My father, an engineer, said “When all you have is a hammer, problems look like nails.”
I suppose to a guy who runs mice through mazes, a mouse who can memorize a maze better seems “smarter”.
But there is a lot more to it than THAT!
I would like to see how these knockout mice (mice without the gene that helps them to forget, memory mice lets call them) would survive and/or interact in a situation that more closely replicates the wild.
I would bet that they perform quite a bit less well in “life”, than in the maze.
It seems likely that this gene helps to prevent some form of disability. The strain of lab mice used in this experiment may lack the potential for the disability, but later research on wild type mice will probably uncover it.
“As to why we (and mice) would have a gene that makes it easier to forget, perhaps they should consider that while being locked into the memory of a maze may be advantageous to a lab raised maze walking mouse - it could be absolute MURDER for a wild mouse that has to adapt to changing circumstances and cannot be a slave to its memory.”
It’s hard to imagine that a better memory would not be an advantage for survival. Remembering not to eat certain things that made you sick or not doing to certain things that almost got you killed would be helpful. There must be other things the gene effects that on balance make it better to have in the wild.
The trick is to remember that a food made you sick, or that a place is dangerous, but not be so locked into the memory that you forgo advantageous behaviors because of an unfortunate memory.
Obviously there is a balance achieved in the wild between being able to remember, but not being a slave to the memory. You knock out this gene and the balance is thrown off, and you have a mouse that is MUCH better at memorizing a maze - but is it as adaptable to new circumstance, is it as ‘creative’ at problem solving - or is it locked completely into what worked or what didn't work previously?
So I guess what I am saying is that a mouse remembers good enough to do his mousy thing, a mouse isn't (in the wild) a maze walker, he is a mouse.
If a population of mice needed to remember things better or more viscerally or whatever - and this gene didn't have other features of antagonistic pleotropy (for any good thing it does it probably does bad stuff also)- then the natural tendency would be for this gene to be downregulated or rendered non-functional through selection of genetic variation.
funny, but seriously. Imagine if people could pay $50,000 or so to have this turned off and increase their intelligence...
I can hear the democrats screaming about the growing intelligence gap, and how unfair it is that only the rich can afford this treatment, the very people who need it the least, and how governments starting probably with California should pay for this for the poor and lower middle class.
IOW, they found the Democrat gene.
I am the flaky, creative, messy type. My friend is the organized, ridged, dependable type.
Just last week, we had a conversation on the advantages of both. I told her, “If everyone was like me, nobody would ever make an appointment. Everyone’s place would be a mess. No repetitive jobs would be done. The world would fall apart.
“However, if everyone were like *you*, people would overreact when messy life situations happened. Ridged, organized people don’t react so well when a kid is sick or when their schedule is thrown off. We help you guys cope with the messiness of life.
“The world needs both and it needs a few who actually manage to be well balanced and in the middle. We keep each other sane.”
Shouldn’t they have called it the “Pinky” gene instead?
For example, common variation of repeat number in the gene for the dopamine receptor. Those with a high number of repeats are not as sensitive to dopamine (the brains “good boy!” chemical), they tend to be the thrill seeker type, that is always pushing the envelope, that has to do everything better and faster next time to get the same thrill.
I thought, “I must have the shortest number of repeats within common human variation”. I ate the same jalapeno with cream cheese and lox bagel for breakfast for a year, and damned if I didn't enjoy it the three hundredth day just as much as the first!