Monday, September 19, 2022

Gene in Brain Linked to High Human Intelligence

A team of European scientists conducted studies on a gene within the human brain, known to be connected with the high intelligence of humans when compared to other species. The scientists inserted the gene, ARHGAP11B, into organoids of chimpanzees which are the closest living relatives to humans. An organoid is a lab-grown group of cells or tissues that have some of the functions of an organ. Organoids were used for the study since scientific experiments involving altering genes have been banned in Europe out of ethical concerns. The chimpanzee organoids introduced to the ARHGAP11B gene showed an increase in neurons and brain stem cells related to brain growth. The scientists in the study found that the gene could enlarge a primate's brain but say further study is needed to determine the size of a role in human brain evolution. Likewise, they also found that when the gene was removed or inhibited in human organoids, the functioning of the cells decreased to the level of a chimpanzee. 

This study showed just how important the ARHGAP11B gene is to the development of the human brain. I think that this study gave great incites into how the human brain evolved and the genes responsible for its high-functioning. I am glad that we have the technology like organoids to develop experiments that we can use to study genes like this, and I how that more studies on this gene are done in the future. I'm sure there is a lot to learn from this gene and even medical applications it has concerning brain development, functionality, and disorders. 

1 comment:

  1. This is similar to an article I read a couple weeks ago! Researchers were trying to find differences between modern human and Neanderthal brains and identified a mutation in the TKTL1 gene. Just like the gene you discussed, TKTL1 is associated with increase neuron synthesis which is a probably cause of increased intelligent. These are only two genes of who knows how many that contribute to neuron activity and/or intelligence. This adds so much complexity to both evolutionary research and medical pursuits.