An analysis of human, chimpanzee and macaque brain tissues published today in Science concludes that the human brain is not only a larger version of the ancestral primate brain but has accumulated a large number of differences. It is, therefore, the primary organ that gives identity to our species. The study was led by Nenad Sestan, professor at Yale University and researcher at the Kavli Institute of Neurosciences, and three researchers from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE) , a joint center of the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) participated. and the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC). “That our brains are three times larger than those of chimpanzees is a very remarkable fact that has been achieved in just over a million years”, explains Tomàs Marquès-Bonet, ICREA research professor at UPF and researcher and director of the IBE,

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one of the study authors. “Human brains have Oman Email List many more cells than those of other primates, and these are more interconnected; therefore, they have more processing capacity,” he adds. The study analyzed 247 tissue samples from sixteen brain regions involved in behavior and high-level cognitive processes – specifically, from the hippocampus, the amygdala, the striatum, the dorsomedial nucleus of the thalamus, the cerebellar cortex and eleven Neocortex areas. The samples came from six humans, five chimpanzees and five macaques. After the analysis, striking similarities were observed between primate species in terms of gene expression in the sixteen brain regions studied, and even in the prefrontal cortex – the region of the brain involved in higher-order learning that most differentiates them. humans from the other apes. In contrast,

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the area of ​​the human brain in which a more specific gene expression was detected was the striatum, a region that is usually associated with movement and that could be linked to standing. Study co-authors André MM Sousa and Ying Zhu, both researchers in Sestan’s lab, focused on the TH gene, which is involved in the production of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter with a key role in higher-order function, and it is absent in people affected by Parkinson’s disease. Sousa and Zhu found that while the gene was highly expressed in a rare population of inhibitory neurons in the human neocortex and striatum, it did not appear in the neocortex of the human brain. According to Sousa, “the expression of this gene in the neocortex was lost, most likely, in a common ancestor, and reappeared in the human lineage.” The research also found high levels of expression

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