How close are neurotransmitters?

Aquiles Luna-Rodriguez pz4a004 at
Tue Jan 9 09:49:08 EST 1996

I'm a psychology student, and as part of my graduation works
I'm developing a neural simulation toolbox.  To keep it running
in any reasonable time, it uses a maximum of 6 different neuro-
transmitters, whose properties are user defined.

Some time ago, I readed about the hipothesis that maybe some
neurotransmitters developed from each other, and today's mess
of hundreds of transmitters, receptors and modulators has its
origins in only a handfull of substances.  That made sense to
me, since all of them can't be developed at once, and even 
the original substances must represent a survival advantage.

The fact that simple neural sistems appear practically at the
same time as multicellular beings, sugests also that primitive
neurotransmission could be no more than a faster or longer-ranging
type of intercellular communication (take for example the calcium ion

One way to prove this idea would be comparing the genetic coding
of different neurotransmitters, and using the differences 
(or lack of them) to group them in families and set roughly the
time of divergence.  Since I know almost nothing about molecular
biology, that may be either impossible or already done and written
in textbooks (whose language I find too difficult to understand,

If someone out there has information for/against this approach,
I would really apreciate it,  specially since my experience
with molecular biologists is that they are very suspicious of
computer models (I must admit that in most cases with good
*  Aquiles Luna-Rodriguez         //there is a bg in this remark       *
*  Universitaet Hamburg, Germany  //there is a bug in the next remark  *
*  pz4a004 at     //the previous remark is buggy       *

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