Tuesday, August 15, 2006

 

Spineless tales provide strong backbone to human brain research

Cuttlefish (Evolution Research)

University of Oregon biologist Nathan Tublitz talked about moths, flies and cephalopods, telling an audience of scientists meeting in Australia this week that research on these spineless creatures is unveiling the mechanics of how the brain regulates behavior.

Among his tales of three invertebrates were details of his discoveries, published in two papers this year, that two specific brain chemicals (glutamate and FMRFamide-related peptides), residing in a specific location, allow a cuttlefish (cephalopod) to change skin color or skin patterns in less than a second. In a paper that appeared online July 25 ahead of regular publication in the journal Integrative and Comparative Biology (Abstract), Tublitz and colleagues announced that the quick-change machinery resides primarily in the posterior subesophageal mass of the cuttlefish brain.

Also see: "Color blindness and contrast perception in cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) determined by a visual sensorimotor assay"

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