Friday, February 27, 2015

Human Designated Cognitive Mystery Gene Touted as Genetic Trait for Brain Size Modifier in DNA

""Led by Wieland Huttner, director of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, the researchers said the brain's neocortex gets a neuron boost to fuel functions such as reasoning, language and sensory perception. These traits are what make the human brain the most complex in the animal kingdom.

"Our ultimate goal has always been to identify the changes in the genome that were responsible for us humans having larger brains than other primates," Huttner told the Guardian. "What we now have is a gene that is characteristic of a 1.3 liter to 1.4 liter brain, and that makes it very exciting."

For their study, the researchers injected the gene into mouse embryos, which in turn caused their brains to grow larger and develop wrinkles known to fit more tissue in the skull.

"Will they learn better, or have better memories? That's hard to say. But we should know that later this year," Huttner said. "We saw cortical folding in half of the mice. So the gene is sufficient to do that, but it won't necessarily do it every time."

But Huttner and his team will have to wait for the mice to grow older so their brains can develop. Afterward, the researchers will see if the gene also increases the mice's cognitive abilities.""


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