Integrated evolutionary studies in laterality of sensory-motor integration and autism-like behaviors in the Mexican cavefish

Dr. Masato Yoshizawa
Friday, September 28, 2018 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm
Bilger 150

Laterality is a preference for the right or left side when using sensory systems, generating behavioral outputs, and/or asymmetry of the usage of left and right hemispheres of the brain. Many animals show laterality and it is thought to be advantageous for performing complex activities such as foraging. However, it is unknown how laterality is gained through modification of the neural system during evolution, particularly, in adaptation processes. I will show our new finding of laterality in the sensory-behavior association, and discuss an ecological relevance of laterality in the blind Mexican cavefish. In addition, through a series of our investigations of innate behaviors, gut microbiota composition, altered gene-expression patterns, genomic surveys of divergent variants, and responses to autism drugs, our cavefish stands out as a particularly well-suited system for the emerging gut-brain interaction in autism patients. This interaction has not been properly implemented in current ASD biomedical models. I will discuss the current update for this study too