• Behavior;
  • genomics;
  • learning;
  • memory;
  • microarray

The characterization of the molecular mechanisms whereby our brain codes, stores and retrieves memories remains a fundamental puzzle in neuroscience. Despite the knowledge that memory storage involves gene induction, the identification and characterization of the effector genes has remained elusive. The completion of the Human Genome Project and a variety of new technologies are revolutionizing the way these mechanisms can be explored. This review will examine how a genomic approach can be used to dissect and analyze the complex dynamic interactions involved in gene regulation during learning and memory. This innovative approach is providing information on a new class of genes associated with learning and memory in health and disease and is elucidating new molecular targets and pathways whose pharmacological modulation may allow new therapeutic approaches for improving cognition.