Insights moleculares na evolução do cérebro humano

terça-feira, dezembro 29, 2009

PLoS Biol. 2005 March; 3(3): e50.

Published online 2005 March 15. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0030050.
PMCID: PMC1065704

Copyright : © 2005 Jane Bradbury. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited

Molecular Insights into Human Brain Evolution

Jane Bradbury

As a species, we pride ourselves on the uniqueness of our brain. Relative to our body size, the human brain is bigger than that of any other animal. It may also contain unique structures and patterns of organisation that presumably underlie our intelligence and ability to manipulate our environment. But how did our unique brain originate, and under what selective pressures did it evolve? Some of the answers may lie in the genetic differences that researchers are now uncovering between us and our closest relatives.

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What Is So Different about the Human Brain?

When we compare our brain to those of other animals, the first thing that strikes us is its size. Human brains weigh on average 1,300 grams; a squirrel brain weighs six grams. Some of this difference is because, as larger animals, we need more brain to run our bodies. However, the brains of our nearest relatives, the great apes, weigh only 300–500 grams, even though their body size is similar to ours (Figure 1). “Humans sit on the top of the pile when it comes to relative brain size”, notes geneticist Bruce Lahn (University of Chicago, Illinois, United States) (see Box 1).





A evolução do cérebro humano através da seleção natural é um problema evolutivo não resolvido desde 1859. Os autores deste artigo parece que deixam a questão em aberto...