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A Human Brain Gene Could Hold Clues On The Evolution Of Brain Capacity

Scientists claimed to have discovered a gene that could hold clues as to the evolution of the capacity of the brain.//

The scientists have explained that the gene discovered has undergone a quickened evolutionary change in humans and are active during a vital stage in brain development. The researchers have stated that though they are yet to resolve the precise function of the gene, the evidence they have come across seemingly suggests that it might play a role during the development of the cerebral cortex and may even help explain the remarkable expansion of this part of the brain during human evolution.

"At this point, we can only speculate about this gene's role in the evolution of the human brain, but it's exciting to find a new gene involved in brain development, and it's especially exciting for us because it validates our approach of letting evolution guide us and tell us what are the important parts of the human genome," said David Haussler, director of the Center for Bio molecular Science and Engineering (CBSE) at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator.

The study, published by Nature on August 16 as an advance online publication, was led by CBSE researchers Katherine Pollard and Sofie Salama, who worked with an international team of collaborators including neuroscientists in Belgium and France. Pollard, now an assistant professor of statistics at UC Davis, performed an extensive computational analysis, comparing the genomes of humans, chimpanzees, and other vertebrates to identify elements of the human genome that have undergone accelerated evolutionary changes.

This computer-intensive bio informatics approach produced a list of the most rapidly evolving regions of the human genome, and subsequent work focused on the top hit, a region called HAR1. Salama, a HHMI research biologist, led the "wet lab" investigations, using the laboratory techniques of m
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