Navigation Links
New brain gene gives us edge over apes, study suggests

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
University of Edinburgh

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:
(Date:5/16/2016)... 16, 2016   EyeLock LLC , a market ... opening of an IoT Center of Excellence in ... the development of embedded iris biometric applications. ... convenience and security with unmatched biometric accuracy, making it ... from DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses video technology to deliver ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a ... the MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) ... large-scale multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple ... using any combination of fingerprint, face or iris ... MegaMatcher SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator , ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... India and LONDON ... Infosys Finacle, part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product ... and Onegini today announced a partnership to integrate ... solutions.      (Logo: ... to provide their customers enhanced security to access ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... MA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... Peel Plate® YM (Yeast and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research Institute ... platform of microbial tests introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO , June 23, 2016   ... it has secured $1 million in debt financing from ... to ramp up automation and to advance its drug ... for its new facility. "SVB has been ... goes beyond the services a traditional bank would provide," ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case ... Denmark detail how a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer ... could change the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... Hematology Review, 2016;12(1):22-8 ... , the peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew ... escalating cost of cancer care is placing an ... result of expensive biologic therapies. With the patents ...
Breaking Biology Technology: