When your friend tells you "The color of your dress is so delicious!", she means that your dress is beautiful. However, there are people that can actually feel, taste and even hear colors. Can you believe it?
Synesthesia is an enigmatic phenomenon when people can hear sounds and automatically see colors, or when they read specific words, they can see it with their minds. Just four percent of individuals are lucky to have this amazing ability. It is more common in women than in men, and appears to be genetic.
Puzzled scientists decided to solve this mystery and conduct a study. In order to solve this mystery, scientists explores genetic factors. They were looking for genes that predispose individuals to the development of synesthesia. They found three families, where this condition evolved over at least three generations.
Members of these families experienced sound-color synesthesia, which means that they could see sounds. These people usually connect a particular sound with a particular color. However, each member of one family could see different color even if they all listen to the same sound. Researchers used DNA sequencing to explore the genes of participants.
Then they compared the results of family members with synesthesia to results of family members without this condition. But they couldn't find the answer to explain this mystery. It is very difficult to finish this study, as scientists need more people with synesthesia to single out the specific genes and see the truth. That is why scientists explored biological functions of these genes to find out how it could be linked to the development of the condition.
They have found the gene of axonogenesis, which helps neurons connect to the brain. In other words, scientists confirmed that the genes play a huge role in the coordination of brain areas and this is the reason why the brain of people with synesthesia works in such a unique way.
The research continues, and now scientists are looking for more people with this rare phenomenon to take part in their tests in order to study how variations of genes can change the brain structure and its functions.
Most of us may experience synesthesia in hidden and restrained forms. But some people are really able to see this world differently due to this mysterious phenomenon.
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