The Planet Of The Apes Is Dawning For Real
The Planet of the Apes is actually starting to dawn for real. Scientists have started with mice first, so we may be still a few years away from total annihilation. Whew, now that we have that out of the way we can get to the science.
Researchers at Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics have been playing mad scientist and found a single gene that can create a primate-level neural development in the mouse’s neocortex.
The gene is called Pax6 and the results mean more neurons are generated and the mouse exhibits primate-like features – notably those in the top layer, a characteristic of expanded neocortex.
“The evolutionary expansion of the neocortex is a hallmark of species with higher cognitive functions,” explains Wieland Huttner, the research group leader and director at the MPI-CBG. “Our findings contribute to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying this expansion. While the findings demonstrate how altering the expression of a single key gene can make a big difference to brain development, a future challenge will be to obtain a comprehensive, integrated view of all the molecular changes that made our brains big.”
The study was published in an open-access paper in the journal PLOS Biology
Oh, help me, Dr. Zaius! Dr. Zaius! Dr. Zaius! Oh, Dr. Zaius!