A gene known as Kibra plays a role in short-term memory, according to new research from the Translational Genomics Research Institute and the University of Zurich, in Switzerland. Researchers tested short-term memory in 351 Swiss young adults and then did a genome-wide scan of their DNA to identify genetic variants that were correlated to memory performance. Those with better short-term memory carried a version of the gene known as the T allele. According to brain-imaging studies, people without the T allele gene had more activity in the brain areas involved in memory, suggesting that they had to work harder on memory tests. While scientists don’t yet know the exact function of the gene, it may be involved in synaptic plasticity, a form of cellular learning. Researchers say they plan to use the findings to develop new treatments for cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Read the press release here or the related Science paper here (subscription required).
The study is the first published using the 500K Affymetrix chip, which can search for 500,000 genetic variations in a single experiment, drastically reducing the time it takes scientists to identify genes linked to different diseases or other characteristics. Studies using the chip to examine the genetic root of autism, Alzheimer’s, and obesity are already under way. (See “A Massive Search for Autism Genes Begins.”)
Forget dating apps: Here’s how the net’s newest matchmakers help you find love
Fed up with apps, people looking for romance are finding inspiration on Twitter, TikTok—and even email newsletters.
How AI is reinventing what computers are
Three key ways artificial intelligence is changing what it means to compute.
These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems
They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.
We reviewed three at-home covid tests. The results were mixed.
Over-the-counter coronavirus tests are finally available in the US. Some are more accurate and easier to use than others.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.