Dec 29, 2007

Gene that controls Brain size

A team of scientists in Edinburgh have identified a gene that controls the size of the brain. This finding will give an insight into what it means to be human. Humans have extraordinarily large and complex brains, compared with our close relatives. Scientists have found that, when the newly identified gene is faulty, the brain and body shrinks as a result.

Andrew Jackson of the Medical Research Counci, MRC, Human Genetics Unit, Edinburgh and colleagues at the MRC Genome Damage And Stablity Centre studied families who have members with Seckel syndrome, which retards growth in the womb, leading to short stature and a markedly reduced brain size (microcephaly).

They report in the journal Nature Genetics that small brain size is linked to faults in a gene called PCNT and find that this gene works with another gene linked to the condition, called ATR, which is involved in DNA repair.

The PCNT gene is responsible for the manufacture in the body of a protein called pericentrin, a component of the centrosome, an organ in cells (organelle) that is essential for the process of cell division that encourages growth.

When comparing different species, brain size does present a correlation with intelligence. Among human, modern studies using brain scans have shown that brain size shows a rough correlation with IQ among adults of the same sex. Link


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