A well-researched study claims that a particular segment of DNA has been found out, that causes larger sized human brains. The researchers explored vividly the various genomic data of chimpanzees and humans and tried to locate the genomic enhancers that lead to larger brain early in its development.
The study was carried out by the researchers of the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke University (Medical Center), led by Debra Silver. Each DNA segments has enhancers and they closely monitor and affect the functioning or activities per se of the nearby genes. The team found HARE5, and stated that it is actively involved in suitably developing the brain’s cortex. This further controls Fzd8 gene, linked to development of brain.
The co-author of this study conducted by Duke University, Gregory Wray stated, “What we found is piece of the genetic basis for why we have a bigger brain.”
A Comparative Study On HARE5
HARE5 is the acronym for human-accelerated regulatory enhancer. In the earlier days, it used to be considered as a part of one junk DNA that hardly had any role to perform in the anatomy or functioning of a human being. The sequences of a human’s and a chimpanzee’s HARE5 were analyzed vividly.
The two sequences are more or less lookalike; there is only a difference by 16 letters in the two. When the same enhancer was fed to a mice’s brain, the latter developed a 12% enhancement in its size of the brain, in comparison to the chimpanzee’s version of HARE5.
Confirmatory Tests On Mice
The further tests on this hypothesis carried out on the mice ensured that indeed an enhancer, specifically HARE5 has a role to play in attributing to the size of one’s brain. The study also aimed at finding out whether bigger brains lead to superior brain functions, especially when the subject becomes an adult. Moreover, it was also comprehended that both the chimpanzees and the humans have identical development period.