Some discoveries produce a Eureka moment. The discovery of the HOX code, for example, revealed deep and surprising evolutionary conservation of the molecular mechanisms that pattern the bodies of animals as diverse as flies and humans. Other discoveries produce years or decades of head-scratching before their significance becomes evident. Mendel’s rules of inheritance come to mind. If you are grappling with perplexing results, take heart. Sometimes we have to chip away at our ignorance for decades before we see what our results mean, like archaeologists meticulously chiseling amazing fossils out of chunks of rock. The roles of ubiquitin ligases in the control of neuronal connectivity and animal behavior fall into this latter category. Piece by piece, a picture is gradually emerging, providing unexpected insights into a fundamental problem in developmental neurobiology and animal behavior.
January 07, 2019