- 30 May 2019
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Thursday 30 may 2019, 1.00 PM
Auditorium, Level 6, BANCROFT Building
Robust inheritance of brain changes
Dr Guy Barry,
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
Human psychiatric diseases are highly heritable and somatic (non-germline) mutations may play a vital role. However, how does somatic heritability occur and how does genetic information pass from the brain to the germline? The traditional concept that heritability occurs exclusively from the transfer of germline-restricted genetics is being challenged by the increasing accumulation of evidence confirming the existence of experience-dependent transgenerational inheritance. Here we show for the first time the direct transport of RNA from the brain of an adult male mouse to sperm and subsequent offspring. Our results demonstrate that RNA is indeed transported in the mammalian body and that this information is passed to the next generation. We believe this is the first direct observation of somatic cell inheritance of genetic information and may reveal how heritable somatic alterations are transmitted to offspring.
Dr Barry received his Bachelor of Science from Cape Town University in South Africa and PhD from The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. In between he spent a year at The Scripps Research Institute and 9 years at a biotechnology company (Neurocrine Biosciences Inc.), both in San Diego, California. He has worked at the Institute for Molecular Biology and Queensland Brain Institute in Brisbane and moved up to QIMR Berghofer in Brisbane from the Garvan Institute in Sydney where he was a senior post-doctoral fellow in Professor John Mattick’s laboratory. In February 2016 he established the Neurogenomics laboratory at QIMR Berghofer. His current work focuses on diverse topics such as psychiatric disease, evolution, aging and cancer.