Skip to comments.Gene Mutation Linked To Cognition Is Found Only In Humans
Posted on 05/10/2007 11:50:52 AM PDT by LibWhacker
Science Daily The human and chimpanzee genomes vary by just 1.2 percent, yet there is a considerable difference in the mental and linguistic capabilities between the two species. A new study showed that a certain form of neuropsin, a protein that plays a role in learning and memory, is expressed only in the central nervous systems of humans and that it originated less than 5 million years ago. The study, which also demonstrated the molecular mechanism that creates this novel protein, will be published online in Human Mutation, the official journal of the Human Genome Variation Society.
Led by Dr. Bing Su of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Kunming, China, researchers analyzed the DNA of humans and several species of apes and monkeys. Their previous work had shown that type II neuropsin, a longer form of the protein, is not expressed in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of lesser apes and Old World monkeys. In the current study, they tested the expression of type II in the PFC of two great ape species, chimpanzees and orangutans, and found that it was not present. Since these two species diverged most recently from human ancestors (about 5 and 14 million years ago respectively), this finding demonstrates that type II is a human-specific form that originated relatively recently, less than 5 million years ago.
Gene sequencing revealed a mutation specific to humans that triggers a change in the splicing pattern of the neuropsin gene, creating a new splicing site and a longer protein. Introducing this mutation into chimpanzee DNA resulted in the creation of type II neuropsin. "Hence, the human-specific mutation is not only necessary but also sufficient in creating the novel splice form," the authors state.
The results also showed a weakening effect of a different, type I-specific splicing site and a significant reduction in type I neuropsin expression in human and chimpanzee when compared with the rhesus macaque, an Old World monkey. This pattern suggests that before the emergence of the type II splice form in human, the weakening of the type I splicing site already existed in the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees, implying a multi-step process that led to the dramatic change of splicing pattern in humans, the authors note.
They identified a region of the chimpanzee sequence that has a weakening effect on the splicing site that also probably applies to humans. "It is likely that both the creation of novel splice form and the weakening of the constitutive splicing contribute to the splicing pattern changes during primate evolution, suggesting a multi-step process eventually leading to the origin of the type II form in human," the authors state.
They note that further studies should probe the biological function of type II neuropsin in humans, as the extra 45 amino acids in this form may cause protein structural and functional changes. They note that in order to understand the genetic basis that underlies the traits that set humans apart from nonhuman primates, recent studies have focused on identifying genes that have been positively selected during human evolution. They conclude, "The present results underscore the potential importance of the creation of novel splicing forms in the central nervous system in the emergence of human cognition."
Article: "A Human-Specific Mutation Leads to the Origin of a Novel Splice Form of Neuropsin (KLK8), a Gene Involved in Learning and Memory," Zhi-xiang Lu, Jia Peng, Bing Su, Human Mutation; May 2007; (DOI: 10.1002/humu.20547).
Actually there is a bit of an overlap at the ends of the two spectrums...
I used to be a strict evolutionist at one time. Then I realized evolution is not a substitute for creation. Given the complexity of life, a BMW 740i has a higher chance of spontaneously coming into existence out of nothing.
The same protein, just a longer version, and we have cognition. Kind of puts that 1.2 percent difference in perspective, doesn’t it.
Evolution is not exclusive of creation, either.
Didn’t say it was. Evolution can work independently of creation, as it most certainly does.
Would be interesting to ask the question:
“Whattup dawg?” and get a reply from your canine.
Dunno if this fits any of your lists.
Some life is more complex than other life. Some life is very very simple. But no one believes that life of the complexity of humans spontaneously came into existence out of nothing. On the contrary, the theory explicitly states that humans arose after - to borrow a convenient quote from the above article - "a multi-step process eventually leading to" the current form.
Gee wish I could have been a fly on the wall when the species diverged oh say some 5 million years ago.
We can’t even find civilizations from only a thousand years ago and their evidence is actually buried in the dirt....how do they find “evidence” for something that supposedly happened millions of years ago?
You finally really did it you maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you! Damn you all to hell!
I'd rather seem them do something positive, like splicing that gene into liberals.
I know that “loose lips sink ships”, but
does anyone think THERE WILL NOT BE some “scientists” that will perform R&D with “gene therapy” experiments, where they attempt to “give” the genes in question to some Chimps.
We are entering the age of the Chimera’s - hybrid animal-human life forms. We are entering the age where the arrogance and hubris of humanity - that we ARE as great as God - can become the most self-destructive force humans have ever “created”.
The way they toss around and abuse terms like cognition they’ll never find the real deal. They aren’t even in the right structure.
Oh really, which life forms are?
"Introducing this mutation into chimpanzee DNA resulted in the creation of type II neuropsin." - Article
Read about prions. They are “lifeless”, self-replicating molecules of protein.
Shades of Flowers For Algernon ... how soon before science finds a way to stimulate this protein (type II neuropsin) and ‘enhance’ human mental capabilities?
Mice are simpler than humans, fruit flies are simpler than mice, bacteria are simpler than fruit flies...
Was this a real question?
Do you seriously consider bateria a simple lifeform?
Or if there are any other species that have this form of protein [dolphins or mice]?
I find it interesting that mythology is packed solid with chimera.
Have we been down this road before?
Only in the test tube, right?
Um, look. Surely you agree that some life forms are simpler than others. Take the 0.01% (or whatever small %) of life forms which are simpler than the other 99.99% (however you want to gauge "simple"). Well, I call this 0.01% very very simple.
The simpliest life form we have discovered is still incredibly and extraordinarily complex.
By what measure? Compared to what? This is begging the question.
Do you seriously consider bateria a simple lifeform?
Relatively speaking? Of course.
I stand corrected, thank you, point taken.
If you paired him with helen thomas, now the image??????
A bacterium is more complex than the sun? Than a laptop computer? Than the Milky Way Galaxy? Than a Toyota Prius? Than a tornado? Than a linear accelerator? Than the Grand Canyon? Than an aircraft carrier?
Non-living things, all. (by most definitions)
and not just by orders of magnitude, as though there were some smooth gradation between the organic and inorganic worlds and life was just a bit farther along the road to complexityville.
That's not what I said. Life is a different type of thing, true. I was not asserting otherwise.
The difference is a chasm that makes bacteria and primates look even more closely related than chimps and humans.
You lost me. I don't understand how any relative comparison can make bacteria look more closely related to primates than chimps look to humans. Relative or not, the latter pair are surely more closely related than the former pair, on any scale.
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“Wonder how long it’ll be before scientists want to splice this gene mutation into chimps, or dogs, etc.?”
Whaaa?? You are leaving Democrats after chimps and dogs for the splicing?
An intelligent liberal?? Awesome concept!!
All neuropsin belong to us.
FGS don't do that! then the computers would have it!
I’m hoping that giving them cognitive ability will suppress their liberalism. Think of it as gene therapy.
Thank you for NOT posting an image or images to show your conception of what this would have looked like. I’m fresh out of eye-bleach.
Thank you for your cheeky response. I do not have any barf bags left.
It’s been said that he is an angry elf. You be the judge.
I work in a department full of liberal English Professors.
I’m sorry to hear that. Are you being punished for crimes against humanity?
Not yet. They don’t know that I’m not a liberal. They might suspect, but they aren’t sure. The students know, but they seem to appreciate how unique it is to have an English professor who spits on the floor whenever he has to mention John Kerry or Hillary Clinton’s name. (Okay I fake it)
I also make students write papers on the advantages of global warming. Most of our students still aren’t sufficently brainwashed yet to be good knee-jerk liberals. You ought to see the shock on their little faces when they find out that I am not a liberal knuckle dragger.
And I’m not the only conservative or libertarian in the department. We have a secret handshake.
I believe that one of my students is now actually posting on Free Republic.
“Thank you for your cheeky response. I do not have any barf bags left.”
Me neither. Not to mention that the idea boggles the mind. I had nightmares about that idea last night...
“Shades of Flowers For Algernon “
Or rather, “The Ugly Little Boy.”