Well, there would have to be some, wouldn’t there? Otherwise, genomics would be hardly anything like it’s cracked up to be.*
From the Atlantic:
These genes might have contributed to the distinctive traits that make us human, but ironically, they are also very hard to study and often ignored. Many are missing from the reference human genome, which was supposedly “completed” in 2003.
One such unique human gene is HYDIN2. It first appeared around 3.1 million years ago, as a duplicate of an existing gene called HYDIN. During the duplication process, “the head got chopped off and the tail got chopped off,” explains Max Dougherty from the University of Washington. It was as if someone had transcribed a book but neglected the prologue and epilogue. That should have been a fatal mistake since the prologues of genes contain sequences called promoters, which switch them on or off. The new gene should have been dead on arrival—a book that couldn’t be opened.
Instead, as luck would have it, it fused with a copy of another gene, which gave it a new lease on life.
Every human being has this new gene.
The second of these, SRGAP2C, is especially interesting. It emerged around 2.4 million years ago, at the time in our evolution when the human brain was becoming distinctively bigger. And Franck Polleux from the Scripps Research Institute showed that SRGAP2C controls the growth and movement of neurons, leading to a thicker set of connections between these cells.More.
They tried testing one of these unique genes on mice, who developed deep brain folds like humans, but weren’t any smarter in consequence.
More surprises lurk, one guesses.
Note: No mo news bloggo till tonight, due to O’Leary for News’s other alternate night job.
*One mentions this because campus dumbdown machines are in high gear worldwide, producing grads so dumb that they can’t see that. Oh well, time to wipe the coffee stains off the tables, and then off to pay the next installment off the student loan, while living on tips … it’s all someone else’s fault anyway!
See also: What we know about human evolution
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