Complexity in the nervous system is established by developmental genetic programs, maintained by differential genetic profiles and sculpted by experiential and environmental influence over gene expression. Determining how specific genes define neuronal phenotypes, shape circuit connectivity and regulate circuit function is essential for understanding how the brain processes information, directs behavior and adapts to changing environments. Mouse genetics has contributed greatly to current percepts of gene-circuit interfaces in behavior, but considerable work remains. Large-scale initiatives to map gene expression and connectivity in the brain, together with advanced techniques in molecular genetics, now allow detailed exploration of the genetic basis of nervous system function at the level of specific circuit connections. In this review, we highlight several key advances for defining the function of specific genes within a neural network.
Keywords: Canine adenovirus; Cre; circuits; combinatorial; conditional; genes; genetics; mice; molecular; nervous system.
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society.