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 copy of a brain-development gene, SRGAP2, 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.