Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Earth Science News .




ABOUT US
Evolution's gift may also be at the root of a form of autism
by Staff Writers
New Haven CT (SPX) May 17, 2012


File image.

A recently evolved pattern of gene activity in the language and decision-making centers of the human brain is missing in a disorder associated with autism and learning disabilities, a new study by Yale University researchers shows.

"This is the cost of being human," said Nenad Sestan, associate professor of neurobiology, researcher at Yale's Kavli Institute for Neuroscience, and senior author of the paper.

"The same evolutionary mechanisms that may have gifted our species with amazing cognitive abilities have also made us more susceptible to psychiatric disorders such as autism."

The findings are reported in the journal Cell.

In the Cell paper, Kenneth Kwan, the lead author, and other members of the Sestan laboratory identified the evolutionary changes that led the NOS1 gene to become active specifically in the parts of the developing human brain that form the adult centers for speech and language and decision-making.

This pattern of NOS1 activity is controlled by a protein called FMRP and is missing in Fragile X syndrome, a disorder caused by a genetic defect on the X chromosome that disrupts FMRP production.

Fragile X syndrome, the leading inherited form of intellectual disability, is also the most common single-gene cause of autism. The loss of NOS1 activity may contribute to some of the many cognitive deficits suffered by those with Fragile X syndrome, such as lower IQ, attention deficits, and speech and language delays, the authors say.

The pattern of NOS1 activity in these brain centers does not occur in the developing mouse brain - suggesting that it is a more recent evolutionary adaptation possibly involved in the wiring of neural circuits important for higher cognitive abilities.

The findings of the Cell paper support this hypothesis. The study also provides insights into how genetic deficits in early development, a time when brain circuits are formed, can lead to disorders such as autism, in which symptoms appear after birth.

"This is an example of where the function of genetic changes that likely drove aspects of human brain evolution was disrupted in disease, possibly reverting some of our newly acquired cognitive abilities and thus contributing to a psychiatric outcome," Kwan said.

.


Related Links
Yale
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ABOUT US
Wall art from France said world's oldest
Dordogne, France (UPI) May 15, 2012
Anthropologists say a 1.6-ton block of engraved limestone found in southern France is the earliest evidence of wall art, dating to 37,000 years ago. U.S and European researchers have been excavating at Abri Castanet, the site of the discovery, for the past 15 years, calling it one of the oldest sites in Eurasia bearing artifacts of human symbolism. The site has yielded pierced an ... read more


ABOUT US
Lebanese army deploys in Tripoli areas hit by fighting

German insurer Allianz says profits soar 60%

Economists list cheapest ways to save the world

2012 not end of world for Mayans after all

ABOUT US
China grants more quotas for rare earth exports

Toshiba shares jump as it drops Japan TV operations

Record data transmission speed set

Samsung on top as mobile phone sales dip: survey

ABOUT US
New Zealand warned on resource usage

Researchers map fish species at risk from dams

New research on seaweeds shows it takes more than being flexible to survive crashing waves

World Bank $275 mn loan to tackle Philippines sewage

ABOUT US
Russia's Antarctic probes to be tested in Ladoga Lake

Climate scientists discover new weak point of the Antarctic ice sheet

Antarctic octopuses 10,000km apart "genetically similar"

Visiting Snowball Earth

ABOUT US
Barley takes a leaf out of reindeer's book in the land of the midnight sun

Cambodian girl killed in land row: official

Wasted milk is a real drain on our resources

Tiny plants could cut costs, shrink environmental footprint

ABOUT US
Sumatra said at risk from volcanoes

Georgia flood disaster exposes capital's slums

6.0-magnitude quake hits Papua New Guinea: USGS

First tropical storm of eastern Pacific season off Mexico

ABOUT US
War-torn Somalia stages TEDx conference

Chinese firm not paying diamond proceeds to Zimbabwe: FM

Algeria's political battle: Army v. spooks

DRCongo forces bomb mutineers in famed African park

ABOUT US
Evolution's gift may also be at the root of a form of autism

Anthropologist finds explanation for hominin brain evolution in famous fossil

Wall art from France said world's oldest

Extra gene drove instant leap in human brain evolution




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement