Endophenotypes and group social interaction

The ability of organisms to translate their genetic code into behavioral and physiological functions is intriguing. Understanding this multi-step gap between the genotype and phenotype is undoubtedly one of the foremost challenges we are facing today in the field of neuroscience. The behavior of an organism is determined by both its genetic makeup and environmental influences. Neurobiological processes play a pivotal role in translating genetic predispositions into complex behavioral traits as well as modulating behavior under a variety of conditions. 
Endophenotypes are quantitative biological traits associated with a complex genetic disorder, but are not direct symptom of that disorder. The strength of an endophenotype is its ability to differentiate between potential diagnoses that present with similar symptoms. Thus, in addition to furthering genetic analysis, endophenotypes can clarify clinical classification and diagnosis and foster the development of valid animal models. The concept of endophenotypes gained increasing importance in recent years, particularly in neuropsychiatric research, and is the center of several ongoing projects in our lab.

Relevant Publications

Shemesh Y, Forkosh O, Mahn M, Anpilov S, Sztainberg Y, Manashirov S, Shlapobersky T, Elliott E, Tabouy L, Ezra G, Adler Es, Ben-Efraim Yj, Gil S, Kuperman Y, Haramati S, Dine J, Eder M, Deussing Jm, Schneidman E, Yizhar O, Chen A. (2016). Ucn3 and CRF-R2 in the medial amygdala regulate complex social dynamics.  Nat. Neurosci.. 19: (11):1489-1496.
Shemesh Y, Sztainberg Y, Forkosh O, Shlapobersky T, Chen A, Schneidman E, (2013). High-order social interactions in groups of mice.  Elife. 2. .
Sztainberg Y, Kuperman Y, Tsoory M, Lebow M, Chen A, (2010). The anxiolytic effect of environmental enrichment is mediated via amygdalar CRF receptor type 1.  Molecular Psychiatry. 15: (9):905-917.
Sztainberg Y, Chen A, (2010). An environmental enrichment model for mice.  Nature Protocols. 5: (9):1535-1539.