Fuelled by the ongoing genomic revolution, broadscale RNA expression surveys are fast replacing studies targeting one or a few genes to understand the molecular basis of behaviour. Yet, the timescale of RNA-sequencing experiments and the dynamics of neural gene activation are insufficient to drive real-time switches between behavioural states. Moreover, the spatial, functional and transcriptional complexity of the brain (the most commonly targeted tissue in studies of behaviour) further complicates inference. We argue that a Central Dogma-like 'back-to-basics' assumption that gene expression changes cause behaviour leaves some of the most important aspects of gene-behaviour relationships unexplored, including the roles of environmental influences, timing and feedback from behaviour - and the environmental shifts it causes - to neural gene expression. No perfect experimental solutions exist but we advocate that explicit consideration, exploration and discussion of these factors will pave the way toward a richer understanding of the complicated relationships between genes, environments, brain gene expression and behaviour over developmental and evolutionary timescales.
|Original language||English (US)|
|State||Published - Sep 15 2021|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)