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This symposium will explore how the brain genome is regulated in order to support neural function and neural plasticity. We will consider various viewpoints on this question in the form of topical sessions in order to best cover the most exciting research being done at the moment in this area. We will explore how genome evolution has contributed to speciation, how genome architecture impacts neural plasticity, how transposable elements have shaped brain function, how epigenetic impacts gene expression and brain function across species, how the genome supports neural plasticity and how human genetic variation drives neural phenotypes. Overall, we will focus on the impact of genome regulation on unique features of the brain – its excitable nature, exquisite response to the environment and parallel processing capacity – with the longer-term vision of understanding how defective genome regulation can give rise to brain disease.