Close your eyes and imagine you are in a darkened Carnegie Hall. Although its pitch black, you know you are getting closer to the stage as the music gets louder. If you have been there before, you have a sense of the location of the seats and aisles. You remain upright because you somehow know where your legs, arms and feet are. Your head remains upright.
A variety of neurons or nerve cells makes it possible for you to approach the stage and even find a seat without sight. Several of those neurons migrate from an embryonic structure called the rhombic lip, and many of these in the auditory, vestibular and proprioreceptive (sense of position in space) systems come into being because of a single gene called Math1, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in a report in the current issue of the journal Neuron.
"These three systems all seem to have a similar function. They all help us coordinate body perception and movement in space. Now we know that one gene specifies the majority of these neurons – that this one gene has been conserved during evolution to execute this task, said Dr. Huda Zoghbi, BCM professor of pediatrics and molecular and human genetics as well as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.
Ross Tomlin | EurekAlert!
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