Wieland B. Huttner Which Evolutionary Changes in the Genome Led to the Development of the Large-Sized Human Brain?
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During the evolution of primates their brain size, and specifically the size of their cerebral cortex where the higher cognitive functions are located, expanded. Stem cells in the human brain go through a higher number of cell divisions and thus produce a higher number of neurons then do stem cells in the brains of apes. The research presented in this video investigates which evolutionary changes in the genome caused this increase in cell division. WIELAND HUTTNER describes how the research group isolated the relevant human-specific stem cells and, using a new method devised by the group, studied which genes were particularly highly expressed in those cells. The gene with the highest specificity of expression, AHRGAP11B, was introduced in mouse embryos. The results indicate that this gene is indeed responsible for an increase in cell division. Furthermore, in about half of the mouse embryos, the brain started to fold – a feature that is particularly prominent in species with enlarged brains.
LT Video Publication DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21036/LTPUB10360
Human-Specific Gene ARHGAP11B Promotes Basal Progenitor Amplification and Neocortex Expansion
- Marta Florio, Mareike Albert, Elena Taverna, Takashi Namba, Kay Prüfer, Janet Kelso, Ronald Naumann, Ina Nüsslein, Andreas Dahl, Robert Lachmann, Svante Pääbo and Wieland B. Huttner
- Published in 2015