New Brain Gene Gives Us Edge Over Apes
Scottish researchers have discovered a new gene they say helps explain how humans evolved from chimpanzees. The gene, called miR-941, appears to have played a crucial role in human brain development and could shed light on how we learned to use tools and language, according to scientists.
A team at Edinburgh University compared it to 11 other species of mammals, including chimpanzees, gorillas, mice and rats. The results, published in Nature Communications, showed the gene is unique to humans. The team believe it emerged between six and one million years ago, after humans evolved from apes. Researchers said it is the first time a new gene carried by humans and not by apes has been shown to have a specific function in the human body.