Navigation Links
New brain gene gives us edge over apes, study suggests
Date:11/14/2012

Scientists have taken a step forward in helping to solve one of life's greatest mysteries what makes us human?

An international team of researchers have discovered a new gene that helps explain how humans evolved from chimpanzees.

Scientists say the gene called miR-941 appears to have played a crucial role in human brain development and may shed light on how we learned to use tools and language.

Researchers say it is the first time that a new gene carried only by humans and not by apes has been shown to have a specific function within the human body.

A team at the University of Edinburgh compared the human genome to 11 other species of mammals, including chimpanzees, gorillas, mouse and rat, to find the differences between them.

The results, published in Nature Communications, showed that the gene miR-941 is unique to humans. The researchers say that it emerged between six and one million years ago, after humans had evolved from apes.

The gene is highly active in two areas of the brain that control our decision making and language abilities. The study suggests it could have a role in the advanced brain functions that make us human.

It is known that most differences between species occur as a result of changes to existing genes, or the duplication and deletion of genes.

But scientists say this gene emerged fully functional out of non-coding genetic material, previously termed "junk DNA", in a startlingly brief interval of evolutionary time. Until now, it has been remarkably difficult to see this process in action.

Researcher Dr Martin Taylor, who led the study at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, said the results were significant.

He said: "As a species, humans are wonderfully inventive we are socially and technologically evolving all the time. But this research shows that we are innovating at a genetic level too. This new molecule sprang from nowhere at a time when our species was undergoing dramatic changes: living longer, walking upright, learning how to use tools and how to communicate. We're now hopeful that we will find more new genes that help show what makes us human."


'/>"/>

Contact: Anna Borthwick
anna.borthwick@ed.ac.uk
44-131-650-6514
University of Edinburgh
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. REST is crucial for the timing of brain development
2. Holding a mirror to brain changes in autism
3. Strong scientific evidence that eating berries benefits the brain
4. The Japanese traditional therapy, honokiol, blocks key protein in inflammatory brain damage
5. Step forward in research into new treatments for brain edema
6. University of Alberta led research may have discovered how memories are encoded in our brains
7. Nanotherapy: Treating deadly brain tumors by delivering big radiation with tiny tools
8. Friendly to a fault, yet tense: Personality traits traced in brain
9. New discoveries about brain-hand connection sought to improve therapies, treatments, prosthetics
10. Autism risk gene linked to differences in brain structure
11. Amyloid beta in the brain of individuals with Alzheimers disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/17/2016)... LONDON , Nov. 17, 2016 Global Market ... and Public Biobanks (Disease-Based Banks, Population-Based Banks and Academics) market ... Geographical analysis for Private Biobanks shows the highest Compounded Annual ... Asia-Pacific region during the analysis period 2014-2020. ... a CAGR of 9.95% followed by Europe ...
(Date:11/16/2016)... , Nov. 16, 2016 Sensory Inc ... and security for consumer electronics, and VeriTran ... and retail industry, today announced a global partnership ... way to authenticate users of mobile banking and ... TrulySecure™ software which requires no specialized biometric ...
(Date:11/15/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Bioinformatics ... ... The global bioinformatics market is projected ... in 2016, growing at a CAGR of 21.1% during the forecast ... by the growing demand for nucleic acid and protein sequencing, increasing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... Lajollacooks4u, San Diego’s premier team ... for team building events, new program offerings and company expansion. , This ... year to include groups of over 30 people. Ever since, Lajollacooks4u has seen significant ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , December 8, 2016 AskLinkerReports.com ... comprehensive analysis, titled Global Amyloglucosidase Industry 2016 Market Research Report. ... application, and industry chain overview are all covered in the ... analysis, and investment return analysis of the Amyloglucosidase industry. ... , , ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... DES MOINES, Iowa , Dec. 8, 2016 Eurofins ... for US Food and President of Eurofins Scientific Inc. (ESI). ... Food Division with his proven professional and entrepreneurial experience in leading ... growth in the US food testing market to uphold Eurofins, status ... ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... England , December 8, 2016 ... das Unternehmen für Molekulargenetik, erweitert seine Palette an ... myPanel™ NGS Custom FH Panels, das ein schnelles ... (FH) ermöglicht. Das Panel bietet eine Erkennung von ... Variations (CNV) mit einem einzigen kleinen Panel und ...
Breaking Biology Technology: