Nencki Institute Seminar

Dear All

Next Thursday April 22nd at 3pmAnna Goncerzewicz, who is a PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Ewelina Knapska the head of the Neurobiology of Emotions Lab and Marek Konarzewski from the Faculty of Biology at the University of Białystok, will give a lecture entitled:

Brain size, gut size and cognitive abilities: experimental evolution of energy trade-offs


The enlarged brains of homeotherms bring behavioural advantages, but also incur high energy expenditures. The ‘Expensive Brain’ (EB) hypothesis posits that the energetic costs of the enlarged brain and the resulting increased cognitive abilities (CA) were met either by increased energy turnover or reduced allocation to other expensive organs, such as the gut. We tested the directionality of the evolutionary relationships between energy expenditures, brain, gut and CA using an experimental evolution model in which we subjected line types of laboratory mice to artificial selection on basal (BMR) or maximum (VO2max) aerobic metabolism – traits that are implicated in evolution of homeothermy, having been pre-requisites for the encephalisation and exceptional CA of mammals, including humans. High-BMR mice had bigger guts, but not brains. Yet, they performed better on the cognitively demanding tasks carried out in both reward and avoidance learning contexts. Furthermore, the high BMR mice had higher neuronal plasticity (indexed as the long-term potentiation, LTP) than their counterparts. Our data indicate that the evolutionary increase of CA in mammals was initially associated with increased BMR and brain plasticity. It was also fueled by an enlarged gut, which was not traded off for brain size.

Please use the following zoom information:

Nencki Seminar

Meeting ID: 966 1729 0469
Passcode: 316107

Best regards,

16 April 2021
2021-04-22 15:00:00
2021-04-22 17:00:00