Brain Development Gene is Evolving the Fastest

Posted on August 16, 2006  Comments (2)

Fastest-evolving human gene linked to brain boost by Gaia Vince

A study of differences between the human and chimp genomes has identified a gene associated with neural growth in the cerebral cortex – the part of the brain involved in processing thoughts and learning – as having undergone “accelerated evolutionary change”.

Katherine Pollard and colleagues at the University of California Santa Cruz, US, suggest that the fast-changing gene may help explain the dramatic expansion of this part of the brain during the evolution of humans.

There are only two changes in the 118 letters of DNA code that make up HAR1 between the genomes of chimps and chickens. But chimps and humans are 18 letter-changes apart. And those mutations occurred in just five million years, as we evolved from our shared ancestor.

2 Responses to “Brain Development Gene is Evolving the Fastest”

  1. CuriousCat: » Brain Development
    March 16th, 2008 @ 7:38 pm

    “In a complex animal like a mammal or a bird, virtually every action depends on a coming together of systems for perception, attention, motivation, and so forth…”

  2. CuriousCat: How Humans Got So Smart
    August 13th, 2008 @ 8:39 am

    A nice example of scientific discovery in action. The direct link from cooking to brain development is far from proven but it is interesting…

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