Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Movement Without Senses Coded Into Neurons, Says University Of Toronto Researcher

Date:
March 22, 2002
Source:
University Of Toronto
Summary:
An animal's ability to move - like the kicking of a developing baby or the crawling and walking of insects - is intrinsic, not dependent on sensory stimulation, says a University of Toronto neurobiologist.

An animal's ability to move - like the kicking of a developing baby or the crawling and walking of insects - is intrinsic, not dependent on sensory stimulation, says a University of Toronto neurobiologist.

"All animals, from worms to humans, have rhythmic movements that underlie locomotion," says Max Suster, a post-doctoral fellow at U of T at Mississauga and lead author of a paper in the March 14 issue of Nature. "The question is whether this ability is built into the neurons of central nervous systems or whether sensory input from the outside world helps organize those movements so that they are suitable to real life. Our research suggests that the development of embryonic motor systems is largely intrinsic to central nervous systems and not dependent on sensory cues like touch or smell."

Suster and University of Cambridge professor Michael Bate examined the development of rhythmical movements in a type of fruit fly known as Drosophila. They compared fly embryos that received sensory input to those deprived of stimulation through methods of genetic engineering.

"We discovered, somewhat surprisingly, that the ones without sensory references still performed enough movements to get out of their egg case and crawl," says Suster. "The rhythmic movements were essentially the same, regardless of whether the embryo received stimuli or not. The amazing thing is that it was demonstrated so clearly, something that we haven't seen before."

Movements generally have certain rhythmic properties to them and it has been known for some time that central pattern generators - specialized groups of neurons in the nervous system - produce these rhythmic movements, which are essential for all forms of locomotion and reflexes, says Suster.

He says all animals, including humans, have fundamentally the same kinds of rhythmic movements. "We all depend on these types of circuits or central pattern generators. What the research tells us is that even when embryos are deprived of sensory references, they still develop rhythmic movements. And that leads us to the suggestion that these movements are, to a large extent, coded in the intrinsic properties of neurons within the central nervous system, so much so that they are sufficient to drive the movements."

However, the researchers also discovered that a lack of sensory information - while not necessary for coordinated movement in the embryo - did influence movement in the larval stage. Once the embryos hatched from their shells, they exhibited inappropriate movement such as moving backwards, swinging their heads frequently and crawling upside down. This strongly suggests that sensory information plays a crucial role in directional movement and that without such information, animals are unable to adapt to their surroundings, search for food and survive, Suster says.

This research was supported by the Venezuelan National Academy of Sciences and a grant from the Wellcome Trust.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Toronto. "Movement Without Senses Coded Into Neurons, Says University Of Toronto Researcher." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 March 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020314080425.htm>.
University Of Toronto. (2002, March 22). Movement Without Senses Coded Into Neurons, Says University Of Toronto Researcher. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020314080425.htm
University Of Toronto. "Movement Without Senses Coded Into Neurons, Says University Of Toronto Researcher." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020314080425.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

AP (July 29, 2014) Food scraps and other items left on the grounds by picnickers brings unwelcome visitors to the grounds of the world famous and popular Louvre Museum in Paris. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jane Goodall Warns Great Apes Face Extinction

Jane Goodall Warns Great Apes Face Extinction

AFP (July 29, 2014) The world's great apes face extinction within decades, renowned chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall warned Tuesday in a call to arms to ensure man's closest relatives are not wiped out. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rat Infestation at Paris' Tuileries Garden

Rat Infestation at Paris' Tuileries Garden

AFP (July 29, 2014) An infestation of rats is causing concern among tourists at Paris' most famous park -- the Tuileries garden next to the Louvre Museum. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins