Saturday, April 20, 2019

Human Evolutionary Changes Behind Mental Disorders

The Discover: Sciencefor the Curious journal asks the question of, “Could human evolutionary changes be behind mental disorders?" For a long period of time, scientists have supposed that the human family tree still obtains many similarities. One connection they made is about that seventy percent of human adults have impacted wisdom teeth and the evolutionary decrease of the size of the jaw in the human lineage and modern changes in diet. To further investigate, the geneticist, David Kingsley at Stanford University and his collogues experimented on the gene for a protein called CACNA1C. This gene helps to send the flow of calcium in and out of cells. In order to investigate, the researchers used the non-coding components of the gene. They later compared the typical human genome with the diverse range of human genomes form the 1000 genomes project, they noticed a large amount of variation in only one specific region of the gene. They now suggest that the variation in this region could possibly be either decreasing or increasing the actions of the CACNA1C. This might cause the risk for mental disorders. Kingsley believes that this may help to better match a patient’s DNA risk factors with the drugs that are more likely to be beneficial in the future.


  1. Im curious as to what the study showed as to the need for calcium in the cells. Was a lower concentration or higher needed to prevent this from happening?

  2. I think its interesting how they related a link between people with mental disease with the area/environment they live in. Like when it said schizophrenia prevalence and regions of Europe where there is lower winter temperature.