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"Novelty" gene

Richard Norman RNorman at msn.com
Thu Jan 4 04:42:19 EST 1996

The idea that "novelty" (or whatever it is that a particular
psychological test measures) is influenced by some one or more
genes seems unremarkable.  After all, every synapse (almost) must 
involve some kind of transmitter.

It is the reverse argument that I seriously question.  Is it really
proper to call a particular dopamine receptor the "novelty" gene?
It seems to me that the nicotinic receptor gene should be called the
"suffocation" gene because if I block its product, the most 
noticeable effect is that the subject suffocates!  Of course, there 
might be a 
few other motor deficits, but lack of breathing is certainly the 
most striking outcome!

Is it not much more likely that that particular receptor is involved
in a myriad of circuits/systems/pathways, but that "novelty" seems
to be one that was caught by a particular test?

Richard Norman
Department of Natural Sciences
University of Michigan-Dearborn
rnorman at umich.edu or rnorman at msn.com

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