Thursday, August 17, 2006

 

Scientists Find Brain Evolution Gene

Chimpanzee NASA Gene Human Brain (Evolution Research: John Latter / Jorolat)Washington Post - Scientists believe they have found a key gene that helped the human brain evolve from our chimp-like ancestors. In just a few million years, one area of the human genome seems to have evolved about 70 times faster than the rest of our genetic code. It appears to have a role in a rapid tripling of the size of the brain's crucial cerebral cortex, according to an article published Thursday in the journal Nature.

Study co-author David Haussler, director of the Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said his team found strong but still circumstantial evidence that a certain gene, called HAR1F, may provide an important answer to the question: 'What makes humans brainier than other primates?' Human brains are triple the size of chimpanzee brains.

The Abstract of the Nature paper "An RNA gene expressed during cortical development evolved rapidly in humans" can be found here. [Evolution]

The Washington Post is also covering this topic in its 'Findings' section: Gene May Be Key To Brain Evolution and here

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