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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Apr 7;106(14):5743-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0900544106. Epub 2009 Mar 23.

Transcriptional neoteny in the human brain.

Author information

  • 1Partner Institute for Computational Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 320 Yue Yang Road, Shanghai 200031, China.

Abstract

In development, timing is of the utmost importance, and the timing of developmental processes often changes as organisms evolve. In human evolution, developmental retardation, or neoteny, has been proposed as a possible mechanism that contributed to the rise of many human-specific features, including an increase in brain size and the emergence of human-specific cognitive traits. We analyzed mRNA expression in the prefrontal cortex of humans, chimpanzees, and rhesus macaques to determine whether human-specific neotenic changes are present at the gene expression level. We show that the brain transcriptome is dramatically remodeled during postnatal development and that developmental changes in the human brain are indeed delayed relative to other primates. This delay is not uniform across the human transcriptome but affects a specific subset of genes that play a potential role in neural development.

PMID:
19307592
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2659716
Free PMC Article

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