What Makes Human Brain Unique?
Around 98% of the DNA sequences in the Homo sapiens genome are non-coding regions that were previously dismissed as junk DNA. Actually, junk DNA contains a number of regulatory regions that particularly regulate gene expression. A group of stem cell researchers at Lund University recently investigated what it is in our DNA that distinguishes human and chimpanzee brains and discovered that the explanation is found in non-coding DNA.
According to professor Johan Jakobsson, senior author, and neuroscientist in the Dept of Experimental Medical Science, Wallenberg Neuroscience Center and Lund Stem Cell Center, Lund University, laboratory-grown stem cells were used for studying instead of living humans and chimpanzees.
Professor Jakobsson and co-workers utilized stem cells to grow brain cells of humans and chimpanzees and compared both cell types.
They later discovered that humans and chimpanzees use some of their DNA differently, which seems to play an important role in our brain development.
Jakobsson stated that the part of our DNA that was identified differently was surprising.
Those so-called structural variants of DNA earlier called junk DNA long repetitive strings of DNA that have been thought to have no purpose.
Earlier, scientists searched for answers in
The current outcomes suggest that the differences seem to be located outside of the protein-coding genes.
This implies that the basis for the evolution of the human brain is a genetic mechanism that may be much more complicated than previously believed, as it was assumed that the answer was in that 2% of DNA.
The outcomes of the study imply that what has been vital for the brains development is possibly hidden in the junk 98% DNA, which seems to be important. This is a remarkable finding.
The authors believe their new findings may also contribute to genetically answering queries regarding psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia in the future.
Jakobsson stated that there is yet a long way to go before we get there. Now, we will have to burrow deep into 100% DNA rather than doing more research on the 2% coded DNA. It could significantly be a more difficult task for research.
The study outcomes of the study are published in the journalCell Stem Cell.
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Keywords: What Makes Human Brain Unique? The Answer Could The Junk DNA.
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