Saturday, May 5, 2012

Copy of key gene gave us smart brain?

WASHINGTON: The genetic changes that account for the bulk of differences between humans and primates boils down to a single factor - gene duplication , which gave us an all powerful brain.

A study by scientists of the Scripps Institute has shown that an extra copyof a brain-development gene, SRGAP 2, first appearing in our ancestral genomes 2.4 million years ago , allowed maturing neurons (brain / nerve cells) more time to wire themselves into a bigger brain .

"This appears to be a major example of a genomic innovation that contributed to human evolution ," said senior study author Franck Polleux , professor at the Scripps Research Institute, the journal Cell reports.

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