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Human cerebellum and cortex age in very different ways

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The study by Plotkin, Eisen, Berkeley graduate student Hunter B. Fraser, and Philipp Khaitovich and Svante Paabo from the Max-Planck-Institute in Leipzig, Germany, is one of many conducted to date on the question of how gene expression changes across the human lifespan, but the first to examine how the two major brain areas age differently. Scientists had also not previously compared the effects of aging on the brains of humans and other primates.

"The fact that chimpanzees' brains age so differently from our own suggests that our closest evolutionary relatives may use their brains very differently than we do," Plotkin says. "It appears that genome-wide patterns of aging evolve very rapidly."

The scientists say their results may cast some doubt on the effectiveness of mice and other species to model various types of neurodegenerative disease: If human and chimpanzee brains age in markedly dissimilar ways, the difference between humans and more distantly related species is likely greater yet.


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Source:Harvard University


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