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:6/30/2017)... Today, American Trucking Associations announced Seeing ... and eye tracking software, became the newest member ... "Artificial intelligence and advanced sensing algorithms ... driver,s attentiveness levels while on the road.  Drivers ... fatigue and prevent potential accidents, which could lead ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... -- Veratad Technologies, LLC ( www.veratad.com ), an innovative and ... solutions, announced today they will participate as a sponsor ... May 17, 2017, in Washington D.C.,s ... Identity impacts the lives of billions of ... digital world, defining identity is critical to nearly every ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... , April 19, 2017 ... its vendor landscape is marked by the presence of ... is however held by five major players - 3M ... these companies accounted for nearly 61% of the global ... leading companies in the global military biometrics market boast ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/15/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The Conference Forum and The Trout Group ... series of upcoming panels and events. The partnership culminates with the 4th Annual ... New York City. , “With our experience in producing the Immuno-Oncology 360° NYC event ...
(Date:8/14/2017)... ... August 14, 2017 , ... Opal Kelly, ... USB or PCI Express, announced the release of SYZYGY™, a new open standard ... the need for a compact, low cost, low pin-count, high-performance connectivity solution between ...
(Date:8/11/2017)... ... August 11, 2017 , ... Algenist continues to disrupt the skincare industry ... never before. , Collagen is the key structural element skin needs to maintain ... which include: , First to market with proprietary collagen ...
(Date:8/10/2017)... ... August 09, 2017 , ... The era ... clinic is here. The team at Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. utilized a cardiosphere-derived stem-like ... studies. , Dr. Travis Antes, head of analytical development at Capricor Therapeutics ...
Breaking Biology Technology: