Image by Len Blumin via Flickr
Am just working up a review on the genetic regulation of the noradrenergic system and stumbled across a collection of papers from ye olde 1980’s. A scientist named Nicole Le Douarin has a series of papers performing a surgical switcheroo of neural tube & neural crest cells from the quail into the chick. Apparently, the cells survive and differentiate into mature structures and (because the quail cells were distinguishable by Feulgen stain) were a great way to study the effects of “genes vs. environment” on the development of specific cell types. Noradrenergic cells, it turns out can be induced to express cholinergic proteins in response to external cues for example. Interestingly, the chicks born with quail transplants crowed like quail, rather than chicks, demonstrating “the first demonstration of cross-species behavioral transfer brought about by neuronal transplantation.” Balaban et al., Science magazine (1988) vol 241, page 1339.