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:6/7/2016)... -- Syngrafii Inc. and San Antonio Credit Union (SACU) ... Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature "Wet" solution into SACU,s ... in greater convenience for SACU members and operational ... document workflow and compliance requirements. Logo ... Highlights: ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... , June 2, 2016 The Department ... has awarded the 44 million US Dollar project, for the ... Vehicle Plates including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , ... in the production and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous ... however Decatur was selected for the ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... , June 2, 2016 Perimeter ... Platforms, Unmanned Systems, Physical Infrastructure, Support & Other Service  ... visiongain offers comprehensive analysis of the global ... market will generate revenues of $17.98 billion in 2016. ... DVTEL Inc, a leader in software and hardware technologies ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/22/2016)... Cell Applications, Inc. and StemoniX announced ... up to one billion human induced pluripotent stem ... These high-quality, consistent stem cells enable researchers to ... more time doing meaningful, relevant research. This achievement ... process that produces affordable, reliable HiPSC for life ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... --  StockNewsNow.com , The Official MicroCap News Source™, today ... Pourhassan , President & CEO of CytoDyn Inc. (OTCQB: ... and potential commercialization of humanized monoclonal antibodies for the ... company,s website (see here: www.CytoDyn.com ). The video ... 2016, at the LD Micro Invitational in ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... ... , ... New light-based technologies that facilitate a “look inside” the human body ... compact, wearable devices for point-of-care diagnostics as well as powerful new systems that provide ... visionary future directions are detailed in a new open-access article by Antonio Pifferi and ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... and ALBANY, N.Y. , ... (Teewinot) and Albany Molecular Research, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... licensed Teewinot,s technology to produce and sell the ... The CBCA analytical standard is manufactured using Teewinot,s ... expression of cannabinoid biosynthetic genes in microorganisms for ...
Breaking Biology Technology: