It seems like miR-941 came around after humans evolved from apes and at just the right moment to give humans a real edge over other mammals, some time between six and one million years ago. This was when we as a species were really out there making strides like the genetic champions we are. _geekosystem
University of Edinburgh researchers have identified a gene that is carried only by humans, and may have assisted humanity's ascent into the realm of language, global civilisation, and terminal angst. Their findings were published in Nature Communications.
The gene, called miR-941, is carried only by humans and it appeared after humans evolved from apes and played a crucial role in human brain development and could shed light on how we learned to use tools and language...
...Scientists led by Dr Martin Taylor at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine showed that miR-941 had an important part in the development of the human brain and can even help explain how we acquire language and learn to use tools.
This new gene is the first known gene to be found in humans and not in apes. According to the team, it appears to have a certain purpose in the human body.
The researchers analysed 11 different species of mammals, such as gorillas, chimpanzees, rats and mice, and then compared them to the human genome in order to look for variations. _From Apes to Men
Interestingly, miR-941 is thought to have arisen out of non-coding DNA -- or "junk DNA." If so, a lot of proud people will need to downgrade their family lineages in the light of these findings.
It is known that most differences between species occur as a result of changes to existing genes, or the duplication and deletion of genes. But scientists say this gene emerged fully functional out of non-coding genetic material, previously termed "junk DNA", in a startlingly brief interval of evolutionary time. Until now, it has been remarkably difficult to see this process in action. _MXP
The flood of new information in genetics is overwhelming the old theories. Smarter humans are desperately needed. Perhaps another new gene may emerge "fully functional" out of the junk DNA, to give us a boost?
Labels: evolution, genetics