Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Evolution of Human Intellect: Human-Specific Regulation of Neuronal Genes

A new study published November 20 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology has identified hundreds of small regions of the genome that appear to be uniquely regulated in human neurons. These regulatory differences distinguish us from other primates, including monkeys and apes, and as neurons are at the core of our unique cognitive abilities, these features may ultimately hold the key to our intellectual prowess (and also to our potential vulnerability to a wide range of 'human-specific' diseases from autism to Alzheimer's).
Hennady P. Shulha, et al.
PLoS Biology, 2012; 10 (11): e1001427 DOI:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001427