Human brain development tied to gene

Altered RNA may help tell the story of how human brains evolved from chimps

Juhi Yajnik
Aug 15, 2006
An RNA gene may help unlock the mystery of the evolution of the human brain, according to a report in Nature. By comparing the human genome with the genome of the chimpanzee, the study's authors identified a region that showed the most dramatic shift from chimps to humans, and is expressed by cells that play a role in cortical development -- suggesting that it may help explain what makes the human brain unique.Because the chimpanzee brain is about a third of the size of the human brain, changes in brain development could be key to understanding the evolution of humans. There is a "tantalizing possibility" that this pinpointed gene is involved in that process, study author David Haussler from the University of California, Santa Cruz, told The Scientist."One of the great mysteries is how did we come to be so different from our ancestors," Haussler...

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