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Are We Hardwired?The Role of Genes in Human Behavior$
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William R. Clark and Michael Grunstein

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195178005

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195178005.001.0001

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In the Beginning: The Evolutionary Origins of Behavior

In the Beginning: The Evolutionary Origins of Behavior

(p.23) 2 In the Beginning: The Evolutionary Origins of Behavior
Are We Hardwired?

William R. Clark

Michael Grunstein

Oxford University Press

How far down the evolutionary tree can we descend and still find evidence of behavior? This chapter looks at one of the simplest eukaryotes (the paramecia) for defined behaviors, and mutations in genes that alter these behaviors. The advantage of studying behavior in single-cell organisms such as paramecia is to get a glimpse of the cellular patterns that are responsible for behavior, and how mutations affect them. Paramecia have what is called reflexive behavior. They do not integrate experience with memory, but simply react to the environmental stimulus at hand via pre-programmed pathways. Paramecia orient themselves in hydraulic and electrical currents, and are sensitive to light and to the chemical content of their environment. Various mutations that affect these and other behaviors are discussed at the cellular and molecular level.

Keywords:   paramecia, membrane channels, ciliary motion, reflexive behavior

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