As traditional behavioral genetics analysis merges with neurogenetics, the field of neurobehavioral genetics, focusing on single-gene effects, comes into being. New biotechnology has greatly accelerated gene discovery and the study of gene function in relation to brain and behavior. More than 7,000 genes in mice and 10,000 in humans have now been documented, and extensive information about the genetics of several species is readily available on the World Wide Web. Based on knowledge of the DNA sequence of a gene, a targeted mutation with the capacity to disable it can be created. These knockouts— also called null mutants— are employed in the study of a wide range of phenotypes, including learning and memory, appetite and obesity, and circadian rhythms. The era of examining single-gene effects from a reductionistic perspective is waning, and research with interacting arrays of genes in various environmental contexts is demonstrating a need for systems-oriented theory.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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