Episode 4 – The Evolution of the Synapse.

In this episode, we look at the extraordinary evolutionary history of the genes related to the synapse which were present even before the evolution of neurons. Our guest is Kenneth S. Kosik from UCSB. Watch it on YouTube!

Participants from left to right: Jean-François Gariépy, John Kubie, Kenneth S. Kosik, Leanne Boucher and Steven Miller.

“1:20” The importance of evolution.
“2:53” What is an animal?
“8:41” What is the difference between a colony and an animal?
“13:29” The Cambrian explosion.
“16:29” The diversity of non-bilaterians.
“21:34” The rudiments of a nervous system.
“28:24” Genes related to the synapse are already present in sponges.
“32:52” In situ hybridization reveals the RNA produced from genes.
“41:42” A highly-conserved protein.
“53:07” Genes turned on and off together during development.
“1:09:31” How nervous systems opened a new ecological niche for animals.

Many thanks to our guests! Here is the PNAS paper:

Conaco C, Bassett DS, Zhou H, Arcila ML, Degnan SM, Degnan BM, Kosik KS (2012) Functionalization of a protosynaptic gene expression network. 109 Suppl 1:10612-10618

Some Wikipedia reading:

Kenneth’s UCSB homepage
Leanne’s twitter
John’s blog
Steven’s blog
Jean-Francois’ twitter – soon available on iTunes!

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