Gene sets linked to memory processes

Gene sets linked to memory processes 'contents' Comcode tag)

Memories of personal experiences, known as episodic memories, rely on distinct cognitive processes. Although past studies have identified genetic variations associated with general memory performance, relatively little is known about the genetic underpinnings of specific memory-related mental processes, such as learning and memory maintenance.

Scientists performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 1,765 healthy young adults to identify sets of biologically related genes involved in different components of episodic memory. In a verbal memory task, participants were asked to recall neutral, positive, and negative words immediately after the initial presentation and 5 minutes later.

Computational modeling of behavioral data revealed distinct memory-related processes, which were associated with four separate gene sets identified from GWAS data. For example, the learning rate was associated with amine compound solute carrier transporters, the modulation of memory strength by negative emotions was associated with collagen formation, and repetition-based memory improvement was associated with L1 cell adhesion module interactions.

Some of these genes were previously implicated in neurological and psychiatric disorders, neuronal development, learning, and memory. The findings suggest that distinct genetic profiles might underlie specific mental processes of human episodic memory.

According to the authors, analysis of memory-related genetic pathways could lead to the development of therapies for neuropsychiatric disorders.