What to Know Concerning the Genetic ‘Junk’ That Makes Us Human

Nov. 2, 2021 — We’re 98.8% just like chimpanzees in our DNA, however we’re nonetheless a unique species. Inside that remaining 1.2%, a key DNA sequence as soon as considered junk would possibly unlock our human uniqueness.

Utilizing stem cells coaxed into turning into neurons, researchers have recognized a gene that distinguishes human nerve cells from chimpanzee nerve cells. Additionally they discovered {that a} sequence of DNA as soon as thought-about “junk” has whole management over this human-specific gene.

Solely about 2% of our DNA sequences include the codes for constructing proteins. Biologists typically have targeted on these areas in evaluating our DNA with that of different species. However the remaining 98% that doesn’t encode protein-making directions isn’t junk and has necessary features.

These researchers discovered that the noncoding sequence regulates a gene that’s essential in human mind improvement. Of their findings, revealed in Cell Stem Cell, this gene was particularly lively within the entrance of the creating mind, the place people and chimps differ considerably. The noncoding DNA sequence controls how the gene is used.

This discovering provides a step to the sequence of occasions for making a human mind, giving researchers much more to do within the search to know how we differ from our closest cousins. Greedy what makes us uniquely human may reveal new insights into circumstances that solely people expertise, similar to schizophrenia.

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