A brain-development gene found exclusively in humans has an unusual evolutionary history and could contribute to what makes us distinctly human. Equally surprising, this is a partial gene created from an incomplete duplication of its “parent” gene in the prehistoric human genome.
Gene duplication is an important driving force in creating physical changes in living things during evolution, explained the researchers studying the SRGAP2 gene family. Drs. Megan Dennis and Xander Nuttle, in the Howard Hughes Medicine Institute research lab of Dr. Evan Eichler, University of Washington professor of genome sciences, co-authored the report on the findings. (more…)