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BMC Biol. 2016 May 19;14:40. doi: 10.1186/s12915-016-0261-6.

What is memory? The present state of the engram.

Author information

1
Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China. mpoo@ion.ac.cn.
2
RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, Department of Biology and Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA.
3
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA.
4
MPI of Neurobiology, Munich-Martinsried, Germany.
5
Department of Biological Chemistry and Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Studies, David Geffen School of Medicine, BSRB 390B, 615 Charles E. Young Dr. South, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 90095, USA.
6
Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA.
7
The Neuroscience Institute, School of Medicine and Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, NY, 10016, USA.
8
Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Laboratory of Genetics, 10010 N. Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA, 92037, USA.
9
HHMI, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, USA.

Abstract

The mechanism of memory remains one of the great unsolved problems of biology. Grappling with the question more than a hundred years ago, the German zoologist Richard Semon formulated the concept of the engram, lasting connections in the brain that result from simultaneous "excitations", whose precise physical nature and consequences were out of reach of the biology of his day. Neuroscientists now have the knowledge and tools to tackle this question, however, and this Forum brings together leading contemporary views on the mechanisms of memory and what the engram means today.

PMID:
27197636
PMCID:
PMC4874022
DOI:
10.1186/s12915-016-0261-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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