Sprague Word

The future and more from Richard Sprague

Posted by sprague on January 21, 2005

A new article in S. Dorus et al. “Accelerated evolution of nervous system genes in the origin of Homo sapiens.” Cell 119, 1027-1040 (2004). says that genes known to be involved in brain size evolved very quickly, indicating strong selective pressure.

As The Guardian’s summary puts it, quoting Bruce Lahn, an assistant professor of human genetics at the University of Chicago and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute:

Professor Lahn’s research, published this week in the journal Cell, suggests that humans evolved their cognitive abilities not owing to a few sporadic and accidental genetic mutations – as is the usual way with traits in living things – but rather from an enormous number of mutations in a short period of time, acquired though an intense selection process favouring complex cognitive abilities.


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