Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Imprinting


The ability to identify and retain logical relations between stimuli and apply them to novel stimuli is known as relational concept learning. This has been demonstrated in a few animal species after extensive reinforcement training, and it reveals the brain’s ability to deal with abstract properties. Here we describe relational concept learning in newborn ducklings without reinforced training. Newly hatched domesticated mallards that were briefly exposed to a pair of objects that were either the same or different in shape or color later preferred to follow pairs of new objects exhibiting the imprinted relation. Thus, even in a seemingly rigid and very rapid form of learning such as filial imprinting, the brain operates with abstract conceptual reasoning, a faculty often assumed to be reserved to highly intelligent organisms.

Concepts: Cognition, Learning, Logic, Object, Abstraction, Imprinting, Imprint


Filial imprinting in precocial birds is the process of forming a social attachment during a sensitive or critical period, restricted to the first few days after hatching. Imprinting is considered to be part of early learning to aid the survival of juveniles by securing maternal care. Here we show that the thyroid hormone 3,5,3'-triiodothyronine (T(3)) determines the start of the sensitive period. Imprinting training in chicks causes rapid inflow of T(3), converted from circulating plasma thyroxine by Dio2, type 2 iodothyronine deiodinase, in brain vascular endothelial cells. The T(3) thus initiates and extends the sensitive period to last more than 1 week via non-genomic mechanisms and primes subsequent learning. Even in non-imprinted chicks whose sensitive period has ended, exogenous T(3) enables imprinting. Our findings indicate that T(3) determines the start of the sensitive period for imprinting and has a critical role in later learning.

Concepts: Endothelium, Thyroid, Thyroid hormone, Learning, Developmental psychology, Ethology, Critical period, Imprinting


With the aim of elucidating the neural mechanisms of early learning, we studied the role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in visual imprinting in birds. The telencephalic neural circuit connecting the visual Wulst and intermediate medial mesopallium is critical for imprinting, and the core region of the hyperpallium densocellulare (HDCo), situated at the center of this circuit, has a key role in regulating the activity of the circuit. We found that the number of BDNF mRNA-positive cells in the HDCo was elevated during the critical period, particularly at its onset, on the day of hatching (P0). After imprinting training on P1, BDNF mRNA-positive cells in the HDCo increased in number, and tyrosine phosphorylation of TrkB was observed. BDNF infusion into the HDCo at P1 induced imprinting, even with a weak training protocol that does not normally induce imprinting. In contrast, K252a, an antagonist of Trk, inhibited imprinting. Injection of BDNF at P7, after the critical period, did not elicit imprinting. These results suggest that BDNF promotes the induction of imprinting through TrkB exclusively during the critical period.

Concepts: Nervous system, Phosphorylation, Neurotrophin, Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, Nerve growth factor, Neurotrophins, Critical period, Imprinting


Sexual imprinting is important for kin recognition and for promoting outbreeding, and has been a driving force for evolution; however, little is known about sexual imprinting by auditory cues in mammals. Male mice emit song-like ultrasonic vocalizations that possess strain-specific characteristics.

Concepts: Human, Male, Sex, Learning, Human development, Ethology, Imprinting, Kin recognition


Imprinting disorders (IDs) are a group of eight rare but probably underdiagnosed congenital diseases affecting growth, development and metabolism. They are caused by similar molecular changes affecting regulation, dosage or the genomic sequence of imprinted genes. Each ID is characterised by specific clinical features, and, as each appeared to be associated with specific imprinting defects, they have been widely regarded as separate entities. However, they share clinical characteristics and can show overlapping molecular alterations. Nevertheless, IDs are usually studied separately despite their common underlying (epi)genetic aetiologies, and their basic pathogenesis and long-term clinical consequences remain largely unknown. Efforts to elucidate the aetiology of IDs are currently fragmented across Europe, and standardisation of diagnostic and clinical management is lacking. The new consortium (European network of congenital imprinting disorders) now aims to promote better clinical care and scientific investigation of imprinting disorders by establishing a concerted multidisciplinary alliance of clinicians, researchers, patients and families. By encompassing all IDs and establishing a wide ranging and collaborative network, brings together a wide variety of expertise and interests to engender new collaborations and initiatives.

Concepts: DNA, Medicine, Gene, Genome, Genomics, Collaboration, Etiology, Imprinting


Silver-Russell syndrome (SRS) (mainly secondary to 11p15 molecular disruption) and Temple syndrome (TS) (secondary to 14q32.2 molecular disruption) are imprinting disorders with phenotypic (prenatal and postnatal growth retardation, early feeding difficulties) and molecular overlap.

Concepts: Imprinting, Imprint


Magnetic molecularly imprinted polymers (MMIPs) have superior advantages in sample pretreatment because of their high selectivity for target analytes and the fast and easy isolation from samples. To meet the demand of both good magnetic property and good extraction performance, MMIPs with various structures, from traditional core-shell structures to novel composite structures with a larger specific surface area and more accessible binding sites, are fabricated by different preparation technologies. Moreover, as the molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) layers determine the affinity, selectivity, and saturated adsorption amount of MMIPs, the development and innovation of the MIP layer are attracting attention and are reviewed here. Many studies that used MMIPs as sorbents in dispersive solid-phase extraction of complex samples, including environmental, food, and biofluid samples, are summarized. Graphical abstract The application of magnetic molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) in the sample preparation procedure improves the analytical performances for complex samples. MITs molecular imprinting technologies.

Concepts: Sample, DNA, Surface-area-to-volume ratio, Specific surface area, Surface chemistry, BET theory, Polymers, Imprinting


In this work, a fast and selective method based on magnetic extraction is presented for the simultaneous extraction of sulfonamides (SAs) and fluoroquinolones (FQs), followed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry detection. In this method, magnetic surface double-template molecularly imprinted polymers (MSdt-MIPs) with superparamagnetic property and high selectivity toward both SAs and FQs were synthesized and directly applied to the simultaneous extraction of SAs and FQs from environmental water as magnetic adsorbents. The extraction and enrichment procedures could be accomplished in one single step by stirring the mixture of MSdt-MIPs and water sample, and the MSdt-MIPs with adsorbed analytes were easily separated from the water sample by a magnet afterwards. The adsorption mechanism of MSdt-MIPs was investigated by employing the adsorption thermodynamic and kinetic studies, and the selectivity of the MSdt-MIPs toward target analytes was evaluated through the selectivity test. For validation of the proposed method, the matrix effect was evaluated and compared to that of the traditional SPE method. Excellent linearity (R > 0.9990) for both SAs and FQs were obtained in the concentration range of 20-2000 ng L-1, and the limits of detection are in the range of 3.0-4.7 ng L-1for SAs while 4.1-6.1 ng L-1for FQs. Finally, the proposed method was successfully applied to the simultaneous determination of SAs and FQs in several environmental water samples.

Concepts: Energy, Magnet, Magnetism, Adsorption, The Matrix, Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, Langmuir equation, Imprinting


We describe a novel dispersive solid-phase imprinting technique for the production of nano-sized molecularly imprinted polymers (nanoMIPs) as plastic antibodies. The template was immobilized on in-house synthesized magnetic microspheres instead of conventional glass beads. As a result, high-affinity and template-free MIPs were produced in higher yields.

Concepts: Protein, Polymer, Plastic, Glass, Imprinting, Imprint


Synthetic molecular recognition materials, such as molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs), are of increasing importance in biotechnology and analytical chemistry, as they are able to selectively bind their respective template. However, due to their specificity, each MIP has to be individually designed for the desired target leading to a molecularly tailored synthesis strategy. While trial-and-error remains the common approach for selecting suitable functional monomers (FMs), the study herein introduces a radically new approach towards rationally designing MIPs by rapidly screening suitable functional monomers based on local density of states (LDOS) calculations in a technique known as Electronic Indices Methodology (EIM). An EIM-based method of classification of FMs according to their suitability for imprinting was developed. Starting from a training set of nine different functional monomers, the prediction of suitability of four functional monomers was possible. These predictions were subsequently experimentally confirmed.

Concepts: DNA, Scientific method, Prediction, Chemistry, Hypothesis, Supramolecular chemistry, Methodology, Imprinting