Gene making our brains bigger
An article by BEC crew was published on Feb 20, 2015 in sciencealert.com. According to the article, the gene that makes our brains bigger, identifed by scientists from Duke University in the US.
All we know that our greatest tool is our brains. Also we know that the human and chimpanzee DNA differs only by 2 percent. 98% of our genes are completely identical.
So, the scientists started to investigate the enhancer sequences in the specific areas of human and chimpanzee DNA. They found several thousand enhancers in every genome, and with a careful selection, they diminished the number to 106. These enhancers might have been responsible for the differences between human, and chimpanzee brains.
After a closer analysis, they found that only six sequences “were located near genes thought to be involved in brain development.” They called these six sequences as HARE (human-accelerated regulatory enhancers).
“HARE5, in particular, was looking particularly special. When they inserted the sequence into mouse embryos, the mice grew brains that were 12 percent bigger than those of mouse embryos that received HARE5 sequences from chimpanzees. Which is pretty surprising, seeing as these enhancers only differ between chimps and humans by 16 letters in their genetic code.”
According to the team, “the region that was most affected by this hyper-growth in the mouse brains was the cerebral cortex, which is thought to be involved in language and reasoning skills.”
Now they want to learn whether that brain growth is effective on memory or socialization in mice.
These are only the baby steps. I’m sure that we shall see the mind blowing new results in the near future.