Origin of Human Intelligence --"Linked to a Genetic Accident 500 Million Years Ago"
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December 04, 2012

Origin of Human Intelligence --"Linked to a Genetic Accident 500 Million Years Ago"

 

 

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Researchers have identified the moment in history 500 million years ago that provided our ability to learn complex skills, analyze situations and have flexibility in the way in which we think. According to Professor Seth Grant of the University of Edinburgh, who led the new research, intelligence in humans developed as the result of an increase in the number of brain genes in our evolutionary ancestors: a simple invertebrate animal living in the sea 500 million years ago experienced a “genetic accident,” which resulted in extra copies of these genes being made.

The research team studied the mental abilities of mice and humans, using comparative tasks that involved identifying objects on touch-screen computers. They then combined results of these behavioral tests with information from the genetic codes of various species to work out when different behaviors evolved and discovered that higher mental functions in humans and mice were controlled by the same genes.

The study also showed that when these genes were mutated or damaged, they impaired higher mental functions. “Our work shows that the price of higher intelligence and more complex behaviors is more mental illness,” said Professor Grant.

“This ground breaking work has implications for how we understand the emergence of psychiatric disorders and will offer new avenues for the development of new treatments,” said John Williams, Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health at the Wellcome Trust, one of the study funders.

The researchers had previously shown that more than 100 childhood and adult brain diseases are caused by gene mutations.“We can now apply genetics and behavioral testing to help patients with these diseases”, said Dr Tim Bussey from Cambridge University, which was also involved in the study.

Journal reference: Jess Nithianantharajah et al., Synaptic scaffold evolution generated components of vertebrate cognitive complexity, Nature Neuroscience, 2012, DOI: 10.1038/nn.3276

The Daily Galaxy via the Wellcome Trust, University of Edinburgh, and http://www.kurzweilai.net

Comments

@Derrick who says it wasn't?

Too much emphasis on the genes. Does anybody know that genes responsible for protein assemblage only?

How about genetic engineering by aliens?

Seems to me that the whole origin-of-human-intelligence thing is moot because, well, many humans show little evidence as yet of intelligence (as evidenced above). We may be knowledgeable, and know how to make things, but intelligent? Not the same thing. Anyway, I must chuckle at these scientific pronouncements about our evolution, because they are always having to be corrected. Why not just say, "We think that human intelligence occurred in a single moment quite by accident"? It may not be an intelligent remark, but at least it's credible.

Comfortably, the article is in reality the greatest on this noteworthy topic.

it is my pleasure to be one of those people who commented on your resource.

The study also showed that when these genes were mutated or damaged, they impaired higher mental functions. “Our work shows that the price of higher intelligence and more complex behaviors is more mental illness,” said Professor Grant.

@ Tosca Z : You cannot deny that after all that Humanity has accomplished (Good and Bad) that we are not intelligent. Of course the level of intelligence is variable between each of us. Sure most of us can only do certain things because we are taught how (that is knowledge), but it was still a human that invented the process to begin with. Also the ability to obtain that knowledge varies with intelligence.

Yet another study by the Academy of Approved and Acceptable Mainstream Science - University of Edinburgh. Find the source of the new problem - the genes in this case - and then invent the solution - prescription drugs. These researchers know nothing about the origins of man but are simply paid big bucks by those who want to keep the gravy train rolling - Big Pharma and the rest of the crooks hiding behind their coffers.

Roman: You may consider the Hox gene. It doesn't assemble proteins alone, but does have an interesting replication function.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hox_gene#Hox_proteins

More on Protein transcription:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcription_(genetics)

Have you read The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins. It is a good survey of the process, as well as a great read on evolutionary back-tracking.

Destroying one's habitat is not very intelligent!
The Human race is the only species that has the power to save every other species on Earth, so why are we not doing it? Again not very intelligent...


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