Transcriptional neoteny in the human brain


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Somel M. , Franz H., Yan Z., Lorenc A., Guo S., Giger T., ...More

PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, vol.106, no.14, pp.5743-5748, 2009 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 106 Issue: 14
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Doi Number: 10.1073/pnas.0900544106
  • Title of Journal : PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
  • Page Numbers: pp.5743-5748

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.