Tag: post-synaptic complex

Simple sponges provide clues to origin of nervous system

By Ed Yong | April 12, 2009 10:00 am


Blogging on Peer-Reviewed ResearchSponges are among the most primitive of all animals. They are immobile, and live by filtering detritus from the water. They have no brains or, for that matter, any neurons, organs or even tissues. If you were looking for the evolutionary origins of animal intelligence, you couldn’t really pick a less likely subject to study.

Over time, evolution co-opted the early PSD of the sponge and used it to craft true nervous systems.So it was with great surprise that Onur Sakarya from the University of California, Santa Barbara found that sponges carry the beginnings of a nervous system.

With no neurons to speak of, these animals still have the genetic components of synapses, one of the most crucial parts of our nervous system. And their versions share startling similarities with those of humans.

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