Soon we will be genetically modifying fetuses with super enlarged brains.
A minute particle within a protein allowed humans to become the most intelligent creatures on the planet, say scientists.
It holds the key to understanding why our brains are so much bigger and more complex than any other animal, according to new research. It may also explain how its unequalled mental capacity evolved so rapidly and dramatically, a mystery that has baffled researchers for decades.
‘This research indicates that what drove the evolutionary expansion of the human brain may well be a specific unit within a protein – called a protein domain – that is far more numerous in humans than other species.’ The protein domain issue is known as DUF1220.
Humans have more than 270 copies of DUF1220 encoded in their DNA, far more than other species. The closer a species is to humans, the more copies of DUF1220 show up. Chimpanzees have the next highest number, 125. Gorillas have 99, marmosets 30 and mice just one.
Prof Sikela said: ‘The one over-riding theme that we saw repeatedly was the more copies of DUF1220 in the genome, the bigger the brain.
- Our big human brains may depend on DUF1220 copy numbers (dienekes.blogspot.com)
- Evolutionary increase in size of the human brain explained (scienceblog.com)
- Evolutionary increase in size of the human brain explained (eurekalert.org)
- Evolutionary increase in size of the human brain explained: Part of a protein linked to rapid change in cognitive ability (sciencedaily.com)
- Microscopic molecule within protein holds the key to why our brains are so big (investmentwatchblog.com)