The neurogenetic approach to understanding the development, structure, and functioning of excitable cells and systems is a relatively new one. The results of this approach as described in this book, demonstrate that neurogenetics is already taking its place along side the traditional tools of physiology and biochemistry in the study of the nervous system. The book opens with a discussion of the basic cellular functions that underlie a variety of seemingly simple behaviors. It then proceeds to more complex phenomena, involving far more than one or a pair of excitable cells. Rather than developing the neurogenetic features of each experimental organism in isolation, topical features of the various organisms are discussed at appropriate points throughout. The subject is developed under three major headings: Physiological and Neurochemical Genetics: sensory mechanisms, nerve impulses and ionic channels, and neurotransmission; Behavioral Neurogenetics: general motor mutants, visual behavior, circadian rhythms, learning and memory, reproductive behavior, and the neurochemistry of higher behavior, and Developmental Neurogenetics: fate mapping of presumptive neural tissues, histogenesis and differentiation of excitable cells, inductive tissue interactions, neurospecificity, and physiological activity in development.
The book is another in a series that has evolved from a Work Session organized by MIT's Neurosciences Research Program.