About this Research Topic
Cognition encompasses all brain-derived processes that ultimately shape behavior. How an individual perceives itself and its surrounding through its senses, how it gathers information about specific situations and subjects, how memories are formed, evoked and transformed, how information is used to make decisions and solve problems are some of the processes that involve cognition, which are expressed as behaviors. Many questions have been raised about how cognition can be improved, whether through exercise or pharmacology, and why cognition deteriorates in certain situations such as sleep deprivation or brain disease.
These questions can be addressed using animal models, which allow for a comparative analysis of brain, behavior, and evolution. Zebrafish strike a compromise between system complexity and practical simplicity. Although fish are often considered primitive vertebrates because of their early evolutionarily appearance, their brain structure and function, as well as their rich behavioral repertoire, are comparable to those of mammals. This makes fish powerful animal models for investigating mechanisms underlying complex behaviors such as learning and memory.
Behavioral responses are shaped by cognitive processes, which are regulated by morphological, physiological and biochemical alterations in the central nervous system. The latter can be investigated at various levels of complexity, from simple protein interactions, all the way to the remodeling of an intricate neural pathway. In this regard, zebrafish offer the complexity of a vertebrate brain and the simplicity of an experimental model where classical behavioral and electrophysiological studies can be combined with the latest technologies in proteomics, reverse genetics and DNA/RNA sequencing.
With this Research Topic we seek to cover cognition at multiple levels of organization, ranging from molecules to behavior, to broaden our understanding of behavioral processes.
We extend the focus of this Research Topic to brain disease models in zebrafish, as current therapeutic efforts to improve cognitive function are based on very limited number of mammalian in vivo models.
Keywords: Zebrafish, Cognition, Behavior, Animal Model, Brain Diseases
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