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Sample records for human brain evolution

  1. The Molecular Basis of Human Brain Evolution.

    PubMed

    Enard, Wolfgang

    2016-10-24

    Humans are a remarkable species, especially because of the remarkable properties of their brain. Since the split from the chimpanzee lineage, the human brain has increased three-fold in size and has acquired abilities for vocal learning, language and intense cooperation. To better understand the molecular basis of these changes is of great biological and biomedical interest. However, all the about 16 million fixed genetic changes that occurred during human evolution are fully correlated with all molecular, cellular, anatomical and behavioral changes that occurred during this time. Hence, as humans and chimpanzees cannot be crossed or genetically manipulated, no direct evidence for linking particular genetic and molecular changes to human brain evolution can be obtained. Here, I sketch a framework how indirect evidence can be obtained and review findings related to the molecular basis of human cognition, vocal learning and brain size. In particular, I discuss how a comprehensive comparative approach, leveraging cellular systems and genomic technologies, could inform the evolution of our brain in the future. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Brain Evolution and Human Neuropsychology: The Inferential Brain Hypothesis

    PubMed Central

    Koscik, Timothy R.; Tranel, Daniel

    2013-01-01

    Collaboration between human neuropsychology and comparative neuroscience has generated invaluable contributions to our understanding of human brain evolution and function. Further cross-talk between these disciplines has the potential to continue to revolutionize these fields. Modern neuroimaging methods could be applied in a comparative context, yielding exciting new data with the potential of providing insight into brain evolution. Conversely, incorporating an evolutionary base into the theoretical perspectives from which we approach human neuropsychology could lead to novel hypotheses and testable predictions. In the spirit of these objectives, we present here a new theoretical proposal, the Inferential Brain Hypothesis, whereby the human brain is thought to be characterized by a shift from perceptual processing to inferential computation, particularly within the social realm. This shift is believed to be a driving force for the evolution of the large human cortex. PMID:22459075

  3. Brain evolution and human neuropsychology: the inferential brain hypothesis.

    PubMed

    Koscik, Timothy R; Tranel, Daniel

    2012-05-01

    Collaboration between human neuropsychology and comparative neuroscience has generated invaluable contributions to our understanding of human brain evolution and function. Further cross-talk between these disciplines has the potential to continue to revolutionize these fields. Modern neuroimaging methods could be applied in a comparative context, yielding exciting new data with the potential of providing insight into brain evolution. Conversely, incorporating an evolutionary base into the theoretical perspectives from which we approach human neuropsychology could lead to novel hypotheses and testable predictions. In the spirit of these objectives, we present here a new theoretical proposal, the Inferential Brain Hypothesis, whereby the human brain is thought to be characterized by a shift from perceptual processing to inferential computation, particularly within the social realm. This shift is believed to be a driving force for the evolution of the large human cortex. (JINS, 2012, 18, 394-401).

  4. Human brain evolution writ large and small.

    PubMed

    Sherwood, Chet C; Bauernfeind, Amy L; Bianchi, Serena; Raghanti, Mary Ann; Hof, Patrick R

    2012-01-01

    Human evolution was marked by an extraordinary increase in total brain size relative to body size. While it is certain that increased encephalization is an important factor contributing to the origin of our species-specific cognitive abilities, it is difficult to disentangle which aspects of human neural structure and function are correlated by-products of brain size expansion from those that are specifically related to particular psychological specializations, such as language and enhanced "mentalizing" abilities. In this chapter, we review evidence from allometric scaling studies demonstrating that much of human neocortical organization can be understood as a product of brain enlargement. Defining extra-allometric specializations in humans is often hampered by a severe lack of comparative data from the same neuroanatomical variables across a broad range of primates. When possible, we highlight evidence for features of human neocortical architecture and function that cannot be easily explained as correlates of brain size and, hence, might be more directly associated with the evolution of uniquely human cognitive capacities. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  5. Evolution and genomics of the human brain.

    PubMed

    Rosales-Reynoso, M A; Juárez-Vázquez, C I; Barros-Núñez, P

    2015-08-21

    Most living beings are able to perform actions that can be considered intelligent or, at the very least, the result of an appropriate reaction to changing circumstances in their environment. However, the intelligence or intellectual processes of humans are vastly superior to those achieved by all other species. The adult human brain is a highly complex organ weighing approximately 1500g, which accounts for only 2% of the total body weight but consumes an amount of energy equal to that required by all skeletal muscle at rest. Although the human brain displays a typical primate structure, it can be identified by its specific distinguishing features. The process of evolution and humanisation of the Homo sapiens brain resulted in a unique and distinct organ with the largest relative volume of any animal species. It also permitted structural reorganization of tissues and circuits in specific segments and regions. These steps explain the remarkable cognitive abilities of modern humans compared not only with other species in our genus, but also with older members of our own species. Brain evolution required the coexistence of two adaptation mechanisms. The first involves genetic changes that occur at the species level, and the second occurs at the individual level and involves changes in chromatin organisation or epigenetic changes. The genetic mechanisms include: a) genetic changes in coding regions that lead to changes in the sequence and activity of existing proteins; b) duplication and deletion of previously existing genes; c) changes in gene expression through changes in the regulatory sequences of different genes; and d) synthesis of non-coding RNAs. Lastly, this review describes some of the main documented chromosomal differences between humans and great apes. These differences have also contributed to the evolution and humanisation process of the H. sapiens brain.

  6. [Evolution of human brain and intelligence].

    PubMed

    Lakatos, László; Janka, Zoltán

    2008-07-30

    The biological evolution, including human evolution is mainly driven by environmental changes. Accidental genetic modifications and their innovative results make the successful adaptation possible. As we know the human evolution started 7-8 million years ago in the African savannah, where upright position and bipedalism were significantly advantageous. The main drive of improving manual actions and tool making could be to obtain more food. Our ancestor got more meat due to more successful hunting, resulting in more caloric intake, more protein and essential fatty acid in the meal. The nervous system uses disproportionally high level of energy, so better quality of food was a basic condition for the evolution of huge human brain. The size of human brain was tripled during 3.5 million years, it increased from the average of 450 cm3 of Australopithecinae to the average of 1350 cm3 of Homo sapiens. A genetic change in the system controlling gene expression could happen about 200 000 years ago, which influenced the development of nervous system, the sensorimotor function and learning ability for motor processes. The appearance and stabilisation of FOXP2 gene structure as feature of modern man coincided with the first presence and quick spread of Homo sapiens on the whole Earth. This genetic modification made opportunity for human language, as the basis of abrupt evolution of human intelligence. The brain region being responsible for human language is the left planum temporale, which is much larger in left hemisphere. This shows the most typical human brain asymmetry. In this case the anatomical asymmetry means a clearly defined functional asymmetry as well, where the brain hemispheres act differently. The preference in using hands, the lateralised using of tools resulted in the brain asymmetry, which is the precondition of human language and intelligence. However, it cannot be held anymore, that only humans make tools, because our closest relatives, the chimpanzees are

  7. Effects of brain evolution on human nutrition and metabolism.

    PubMed

    Leonard, William R; Snodgrass, J Josh; Robertson, Marcia L

    2007-01-01

    The evolution of large human brain size has had important implications for the nutritional biology of our species. Large brains are energetically expensive, and humans expend a larger proportion of their energy budget on brain metabolism than other primates. The high costs of large human brains are supported, in part, by our energy- and nutrient-rich diets. Among primates, relative brain size is positively correlated with dietary quality, and humans fall at the positive end of this relationship. Consistent with an adaptation to a high-quality diet, humans have relatively small gastrointestinal tracts. In addition, humans are relatively "undermuscled" and "over fat" compared with other primates, features that help to offset the high energy demands of our brains. Paleontological evidence indicates that rapid brain evolution occurred with the emergence of Homo erectus 1.8 million years ago and was associated with important changes in diet, body size, and foraging behavior.

  8. Comparative primate neuroimaging: insights into human brain evolution.

    PubMed

    Rilling, James K

    2014-01-01

    Comparative neuroimaging can identify unique features of the human brain and teach us about human brain evolution. Comparisons with chimpanzees, our closest living primate relative, are critical in this endeavor. Structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been used to compare brain size development, brain structure proportions and brain aging. Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging has been used to compare resting brain glucose metabolism. Functional MRI (fMRI) has been used to compare auditory and visual system pathways, as well as resting-state networks of connectivity. Finally, diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) has been used to compare structural connectivity. Collectively, these methods have revealed human brain specializations with respect to development, cortical organization, connectivity, and aging. These findings inform our knowledge of the evolutionary changes responsible for the special features of the modern human mind.

  9. Increased morphological asymmetry, evolvability and plasticity in human brain evolution.

    PubMed

    Gómez-Robles, Aida; Hopkins, William D; Sherwood, Chet C

    2013-06-22

    The study of hominin brain evolution relies mostly on evaluation of the endocranial morphology of fossil skulls. However, only some general features of external brain morphology are evident from endocasts, and many anatomical details can be difficult or impossible to examine. In this study, we use geometric morphometric techniques to evaluate inter- and intraspecific differences in cerebral morphology in a sample of in vivo magnetic resonance imaging scans of chimpanzees and humans, with special emphasis on the study of asymmetric variation. Our study reveals that chimpanzee-human differences in cerebral morphology are mainly symmetric; by contrast, there is continuity in asymmetric variation between species, with humans showing an increased range of variation. Moreover, asymmetric variation does not appear to be the result of allometric scaling at intraspecific levels, whereas symmetric changes exhibit very slight allometric effects within each species. Our results emphasize two key properties of brain evolution in the hominine clade: first, evolution of chimpanzee and human brains (and probably their last common ancestor and related species) is not strongly morphologically constrained, thus making their brains highly evolvable and responsive to selective pressures; second, chimpanzee and, especially, human brains show high levels of fluctuating asymmetry indicative of pronounced developmental plasticity. We infer that these two characteristics can have a role in human cognitive evolution.

  10. [Survival of the fattest: the key to human brain evolution].

    PubMed

    Cunnane, Stephen C

    2006-01-01

    The circumstances of human brain evolution are of central importance to accounting for human origins, yet are still poorly understood. Human evolution is usually portrayed as having occurred in a hot, dry climate in East Africa where the earliest human ancestors became bipedal and evolved tool-making skills and language while struggling to survive in a wooded or savannah environment. At least three points need to be recognised when constructing concepts of human brain evolution : (1) The human brain cannot develop normally without a reliable supply of several nutrients, notably docosahexaenoic acid, iodine and iron. (2) At term, the human fetus has about 13 % of body weight as fat, a key form of energy insurance supporting brain development that is not found in other primates. (3) The genome of humans and chimpanzees is <1 % different, so if they both evolved in essentially the same habitat, how did the human brain become so much larger, and how was its present-day nutritional vulnerability circumvented during 5-6 million years of hominid evolution ? The abundant presence of fish bones and shellfish remains in many African hominid fossil sites dating to 2 million years ago implies human ancestors commonly inhabited the shores, but this point is usually overlooked in conceptualizing how the human brain evolved. Shellfish, fish and shore-based animals and plants are the richest dietary sources of the key nutrients needed by the brain. Whether on the shores of lakes, marshes, rivers or the sea, the consumption of most shore-based foods requires no specialized skills or tools. The presence of key brain nutrients and a rich energy supply in shore-based foods would have provided the essential metabolic and nutritional support needed to gradually expand the hominid brain. Abundant availability of these foods also provided the time needed to develop and refine proto-human attributes that subsequently formed the basis of language, culture, tool making and hunting. The

  11. Evolution of the human brain: changing brain size and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Park, Min S; Nguyen, Andrew D; Aryan, Henry E; U, Hoi Sang; Levy, Michael L; Semendeferi, Katerina

    2007-03-01

    Although the study of the human brain is a rapidly developing and expanding science, we must take pause to examine the historical and evolutionary events that helped shape the brain of Homo sapiens. From an examination of the human lineage to a discussion of evolutionary principles, we describe the basic principles and theories behind the evolution of the human brain. Specifically, we examine several theories concerning changes in overall brain size during hominid evolution and relate them to the fossil record. This overview is intended to provide a broad understanding of some of the controversial issues that are currently being debated in the multidisciplinary field of brain evolution research.

  12. Astrocytes and the evolution of the human brain.

    PubMed

    Robertson, James M

    2014-02-01

    Cells within the astroglial lineage are proposed as the origin of human brain evolution. It is now widely accepted that they direct mammalian fetal neurogenesis, gliogenesis, laminar cytoarchitectonics, synaptic connectivity and neuronal network formation. Furthermore, genetic, anatomical and functional studies have recently identified multiple astrocyte exaptations that strongly suggest a direct relation to the increased size and complexity of the human brain. Copyright © 2013 The Author. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  13. Transcriptomic insights into human brain evolution: acceleration, neutrality, heterochrony.

    PubMed

    Somel, Mehmet; Rohlfs, Rori; Liu, Xiling

    2014-12-01

    Primate brain transcriptome comparisons within the last 12 years have yielded interesting but contradictory observations on how the transcriptome evolves, and its adaptive role in human cognitive evolution. Since the human-chimpanzee common ancestor, the human prefrontal cortex transcriptome seems to have evolved more than that of the chimpanzee. But at the same time, most expression differences among species, especially those observed in adults, appear as consequences of neutral evolution at cis-regulatory sites. Adaptive expression changes in the human brain may be rare events involving timing shifts, or heterochrony, in specific neurodevelopmental processes. Disentangling adaptive and neutral expression changes, and associating these with human-specific features of the brain require improved methods, comparisons across more species, and further work on comparative development.

  14. Stem Cells Expand Insights into Human Brain Evolution.

    PubMed

    Dyer, Michael A

    2016-04-07

    Substantial expansion in the number of cerebral cortex neurons is thought to underlie cognitive differences between humans and other primates, although the mechanisms underlying this expansion are unclear. Otani et al. (2016) utilize PSC-derived brain organoids to study how species-specific differences in cortical progenitor proliferation may underlie cortical evolution. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  15. Energetic and nutritional constraints on infant brain development: implications for brain expansion during human evolution.

    PubMed

    Cunnane, Stephen C; Crawford, Michael A

    2014-12-01

    The human brain confronts two major challenges during its development: (i) meeting a very high energy requirement, and (ii) reliably accessing an adequate dietary source of specific brain selective nutrients needed for its structure and function. Implicitly, these energetic and nutritional constraints to normal brain development today would also have been constraints on human brain evolution. The energetic constraint was solved in large measure by the evolution in hominins of a unique and significant layer of body fat on the fetus starting during the third trimester of gestation. By providing fatty acids for ketone production that are needed as brain fuel, this fat layer supports the brain's high energy needs well into childhood. This fat layer also contains an important reserve of the brain selective omega-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), not available in other primates. Foremost amongst the brain selective minerals are iodine and iron, with zinc, copper and selenium also being important. A shore-based diet, i.e., fish, molluscs, crustaceans, frogs, bird's eggs and aquatic plants, provides the richest known dietary sources of brain selective nutrients. Regular access to these foods by the early hominin lineage that evolved into humans would therefore have helped free the nutritional constraint on primate brain development and function. Inadequate dietary supply of brain selective nutrients still has a deleterious impact on human brain development on a global scale today, demonstrating the brain's ongoing vulnerability. The core of the shore-based paradigm of human brain evolution proposes that sustained access by certain groups of early Homo to freshwater and marine food resources would have helped surmount both the nutritional as well as the energetic constraints on mammalian brain development.

  16. Energetics and the evolution of human brain size.

    PubMed

    Navarrete, Ana; van Schaik, Carel P; Isler, Karin

    2011-11-09

    The human brain stands out among mammals by being unusually large. The expensive-tissue hypothesis explains its evolution by proposing a trade-off between the size of the brain and that of the digestive tract, which is smaller than expected for a primate of our body size. Although this hypothesis is widely accepted, empirical support so far has been equivocal. Here we test it in a sample of 100 mammalian species, including 23 primates, by analysing brain size and organ mass data. We found that, controlling for fat-free body mass, brain size is not negatively correlated with the mass of the digestive tract or any other expensive organ, thus refuting the expensive-tissue hypothesis. Nonetheless, consistent with the existence of energy trade-offs with brain size, we find that the size of brains and adipose depots are negatively correlated in mammals, indicating that encephalization and fat storage are compensatory strategies to buffer against starvation. However, these two strategies can be combined if fat storage does not unduly hamper locomotor efficiency. We propose that human encephalization was made possible by a combination of stabilization of energy inputs and a redirection of energy from locomotion, growth and reproduction.

  17. Human brain evolution: harnessing the genomics (r)evolution to link genes, cognition, and behavior

    PubMed Central

    Konopka, Genevieve; Geschwind, Daniel H.

    2010-01-01

    The evolution of the human brain has resulted in numerous specialized features including higher cognitive processes, such as language. The combination of our newfound communication expertise together with the process of transgenerational evolution at the epigenetic level has led to an exponential increase in human knowledge and abilities. In balance with these beneficent attainments though, the human brain has also acquired vulnerabilities to neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases, which reflect genetic and environmental factors. To understand the mechanisms of this disease susceptibility, a deeper appreciation of the developmental processes and their relationship to underlying features of brain evolution will be necessary. Knowledge of whole genome sequence and structural variation via high throughput sequencing technology provides an unprecedented opportunity to view human evolution at high resolution. However, phenotype discovery is a critical component of these endeavors and the use of non-traditional model organisms will also be critical for piecing together a complete picture. Ultimately, the union of developmental studies of the brain with studies of unique phenotypes in a myriad of species will result in a more thorough model of the groundwork the human brain built upon. Furthermore, these integrative approaches should provide important insights into human diseases. PMID:20955931

  18. The Evolution of Human Intelligence and the Coefficient of Additive Genetic Variance in Human Brain Size

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Miller, Geoffrey F.; Penke, Lars

    2007-01-01

    Most theories of human mental evolution assume that selection favored higher intelligence and larger brains, which should have reduced genetic variance in both. However, adult human intelligence remains highly heritable, and is genetically correlated with brain size. This conflict might be resolved by estimating the coefficient of additive genetic…

  19. The Evolution of Human Intelligence and the Coefficient of Additive Genetic Variance in Human Brain Size

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Miller, Geoffrey F.; Penke, Lars

    2007-01-01

    Most theories of human mental evolution assume that selection favored higher intelligence and larger brains, which should have reduced genetic variance in both. However, adult human intelligence remains highly heritable, and is genetically correlated with brain size. This conflict might be resolved by estimating the coefficient of additive genetic…

  20. Human brain evolution: harnessing the genomics (r)evolution to link genes, cognition, and behavior.

    PubMed

    Konopka, Genevieve; Geschwind, Daniel H

    2010-10-21

    The evolution of the human brain has resulted in numerous specialized features including higher cognitive processes such as language. Knowledge of whole-genome sequence and structural variation via high-throughput sequencing technology provides an unprecedented opportunity to view human evolution at high resolution. However, phenotype discovery is a critical component of these endeavors and the use of nontraditional model organisms will also be critical for piecing together a complete picture. Ultimately, the union of developmental studies of the brain with studies of unique phenotypes in a myriad of species will result in a more thorough model of the groundwork the human brain was built upon. Furthermore, these integrative approaches should provide important insights into human diseases. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. The early development and evolution of the human brain.

    PubMed

    Crawford, M A

    1990-01-01

    signal transduction also use high proportions of n-3 fatty acids. However, the n-6 fatty acids also find a place, in the inositol phosphoglyceride (IPG) which appears to be involved with calcium ion transport and hence signal activation and reception. Even in the photoreceptor, the IPG is an arachidonic acid rich phosphoglyceride. THE EVOLUTION OF MAMMALS AND THE LARGE BRAIN: The dominance of n-3 fatty acids in the food chain, persisted until the end of the Cretaceous period when the flowering plants followed on the disappearance of the giant cycads and ferns. A new set of species, the mammals, then evolved with a requirement for n-6 fatty acids for reproduction. This dependance was coincident with the flowering plants which for the first time produced protected seeds: these introduced a rich source of n-6 fatty acids. The brain size of the mammals tended to be relatively larger (that is in relation to body size) by comparison with the previous reptilian or egg laying systems. This process led to the large human brain. A crucial difference between man and other animals, is undoubtedly the extent to which the brain and its peripheral attributes have been developed. This paper will address the possibility that the potential for the evolution of the large human brain may have been released by the evolving human primate occupying an ecological niche which offered a rich source of those nutrients specifically required for the brain. That niche is at the land/water interface.

  2. The Evolution of Brains from Early Mammals to Humans

    PubMed Central

    Kaas, Jon H.

    2012-01-01

    The large size and complex organization of the human brain makes it unique among primate brains. In particular, the neocortex constitutes about 80% of the brain, and this cortex is subdivided into a large number of functionally specialized regions, the cortical areas. Such a brain mediates accomplishments and abilities unmatched by any other species. How did such a brain evolve? Answers come from comparative studies of the brains of present-day mammals and other vertebrates in conjunction with information about brain sizes and shapes from the fossil record, studies of brain development, and principles derived from studies of scaling and optimal design. Early mammals were small, with small brains, an emphasis on olfaction, and little neocortex. Neocortex was transformed from the single layer of output pyramidal neurons of the dorsal cortex of earlier ancestors to the six layers of all present-day mammals. This small cap of neocortex was divided into 20–25 cortical areas, including primary and some of the secondary sensory areas that characterize neocortex in nearly all mammals today. Early placental mammals had a corpus callosum connecting the neocortex of the two hemispheres, a primary motor area, M1, and perhaps one or more premotor areas. One line of evolution, Euarchontoglires, led to present-day primates, tree shrews, flying lemurs, rodents and rabbits. Early primates evolved from small-brained, nocturnal, insect-eating mammals with an expanded region of temporal visual cortex. These early nocturnal primates were adapted to the fine branch niche of the tropical rainforest by having an even more expanded visual system that mediated visually guided reaching and grasping of insects, small vertebrates, and fruits. Neocortex was greatly expanded, and included an array of cortical areas that characterize neocortex of all living primates. Specializations of the visual system included new visual areas that contributed to a dorsal stream of visuomotor processing in a

  3. Evolution of the base of the brain in highly encephalized human species.

    PubMed

    Bastir, Markus; Rosas, Antonio; Gunz, Philipp; Peña-Melian, Angel; Manzi, Giorgio; Harvati, Katerina; Kruszynski, Robert; Stringer, Chris; Hublin, Jean-Jacques

    2011-12-13

    The increase of brain size relative to body size-encephalization-is intimately linked with human evolution. However, two genetically different evolutionary lineages, Neanderthals and modern humans, have produced similarly large-brained human species. Thus, understanding human brain evolution should include research into specific cerebral reorganization, possibly reflected by brain shape changes. Here we exploit developmental integration between the brain and its underlying skeletal base to test hypotheses about brain evolution in Homo. Three-dimensional geometric morphometric analyses of endobasicranial shape reveal previously undocumented details of evolutionary changes in Homo sapiens. Larger olfactory bulbs, relatively wider orbitofrontal cortex, relatively increased and forward projecting temporal lobe poles appear unique to modern humans. Such brain reorganization, beside physical consequences for overall skull shape, might have contributed to the evolution of H. sapiens' learning and social capacities, in which higher olfactory functions and its cognitive, neurological behavioral implications could have been hitherto underestimated factors.

  4. Human brain evolution: from gene discovery to phenotype discovery.

    PubMed

    Preuss, Todd M

    2012-06-26

    The rise of comparative genomics and related technologies has added important new dimensions to the study of human evolution. Our knowledge of the genes that underwent expression changes or were targets of positive selection in human evolution is rapidly increasing, as is our knowledge of gene duplications, translocations, and deletions. It is now clear that the genetic differences between humans and chimpanzees are far more extensive than previously thought; their genomes are not 98% or 99% identical. Despite the rapid growth in our understanding of the evolution of the human genome, our understanding of the relationship between genetic changes and phenotypic changes is tenuous. This is true even for the most intensively studied gene, FOXP2, which underwent positive selection in the human terminal lineage and is thought to have played an important role in the evolution of human speech and language. In part, the difficulty of connecting genes to phenotypes reflects our generally poor knowledge of human phenotypic specializations, as well as the difficulty of interpreting the consequences of genetic changes in species that are not amenable to invasive research. On the positive side, investigations of FOXP2, along with genomewide surveys of gene-expression changes and selection-driven sequence changes, offer the opportunity for "phenotype discovery," providing clues to human phenotypic specializations that were previously unsuspected. What is more, at least some of the specializations that have been proposed are amenable to testing with noninvasive experimental techniques appropriate for the study of humans and apes.

  5. Regional selection of the brain size regulating gene CASC5 provides new insight into human brain evolution.

    PubMed

    Shi, Lei; Hu, Enzhi; Wang, Zhenbo; Liu, Jiewei; Li, Jin; Li, Ming; Chen, Hua; Yu, Chunshui; Jiang, Tianzi; Su, Bing

    2017-02-01

    Human evolution is marked by a continued enlargement of the brain. Previous studies on human brain evolution focused on identifying sequence divergences of brain size regulating genes between humans and nonhuman primates. However, the evolutionary pattern of the brain size regulating genes during recent human evolution is largely unknown. We conducted a comprehensive analysis of the brain size regulating gene CASC5 and found that in recent human evolution, CASC5 has accumulated many modern human specific amino acid changes, including two fixed changes and six polymorphic changes. Among human populations, 4 of the 6 amino acid polymorphic sites have high frequencies of derived alleles in East Asians, but are rare in Europeans and Africans. We proved that this between-population allelic divergence was caused by regional Darwinian positive selection in East Asians. Further analysis of brain image data of Han Chinese showed significant associations of the amino acid polymorphic sites with gray matter volume. Hence, CASC5 may contribute to the morphological and structural changes of the human brain during recent evolution. The observed between-population divergence of CASC5 variants was driven by natural selection that tends to favor a larger gray matter volume in East Asians.

  6. Rate of Evolution in Brain-Expressed Genes in Humans and Other Primates

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Hurng-Yi; Chien, Huan-Chieh; Osada, Naoki; Hashimoto, Katsuyuki; Sugano, Sumio; Gojobori, Takashi; Chou, Chen-Kung; Tsai, Shih-Feng; Wu, Chung-I; Shen, C.-K. James

    2007-01-01

    Brain-expressed genes are known to evolve slowly in mammals. Nevertheless, since brains of higher primates have evolved rapidly, one might expect acceleration in DNA sequence evolution in their brain-expressed genes. In this study, we carried out full-length cDNA sequencing on the brain transcriptome of an Old World monkey (OWM) and then conducted three-way comparisons among (i) mouse, OWM, and human, and (ii) OWM, chimpanzee, and human. Although brain-expressed genes indeed appear to evolve more rapidly in species with more advanced brains (apes > OWM > mouse), a similar lineage effect is observable for most other genes. The broad inclusion of genes in the reference set to represent the genomic average is therefore critical to this type of analysis. Calibrated against the genomic average, the rate of evolution among brain-expressed genes is probably lower (or at most equal) in humans than in chimpanzee and OWM. Interestingly, the trend of slow evolution in coding sequence is no less pronounced among brain-specific genes, vis-à-vis brain-expressed genes in general. The human brain may thus differ from those of our close relatives in two opposite directions: (i) faster evolution in gene expression, and (ii) a likely slowdown in the evolution of protein sequences. Possible explanations and hypotheses are discussed. PMID:17194215

  7. Brain size at birth throughout human evolution: a new method for estimating neonatal brain size in hominins.

    PubMed

    DeSilva, Jeremy M; Lesnik, Julie J

    2008-12-01

    An increase in brain size is a hallmark of human evolution. Questions regarding the evolution of brain development and obstetric constraints in the human lineage can be addressed with accurate estimates of the size of the brain at birth in hominins. Previous estimates of brain size at birth in fossil hominins have been calculated from regressions of neonatal body or brain mass to adult body mass, but this approach is problematic for two reasons: modern humans are outliers for these regressions, and hominin adult body masses are difficult to estimate. To accurately estimate the brain size at birth in extinct human ancestors, an equation is needed for which modern humans fit the anthropoid regression and one in which the hominin variable entered into the regression equation has limited error. Using phylogenetically sensitive statistics, a resampling approach, and brain-mass data from the literature and from National Primate Research Centers on 362 neonates and 2802 adults from eight different anthropoid species, we found that the size of the adult brain can strongly predict the size of the neonatal brain (r2=0.97). This regression predicts human brain size, indicating that humans have precisely the brain size expected as an adult given the size of the brain at birth. We estimated the size of the neonatal brain in fossil hominins from a reduced major axis regression equation using published cranial capacities of 89 adult fossil crania. We suggest that australopiths gave birth to infants with cranial capacities that were on average 180cc (95% CI: 158-205cc), slightly larger than the average neonatal brain size of chimpanzees. Neonatal brain size increased in early Homo to 225cc (95% CI: 198-257cc) and in Homo erectus to approximately 270cc (95% CI: 237-310cc). These results have implications for interpreting the evolution of the birth process and brain development in all hominins from the australopiths and early Homo, through H. erectus, to Homo sapiens.

  8. A hierarchical model of the evolution of human brain specializations

    PubMed Central

    Barrett, H. Clark

    2012-01-01

    The study of information-processing adaptations in the brain is controversial, in part because of disputes about the form such adaptations might take. Many psychologists assume that adaptations come in two kinds, specialized and general-purpose. Specialized mechanisms are typically thought of as innate, domain-specific, and isolated from other brain systems, whereas generalized mechanisms are developmentally plastic, domain-general, and interactive. However, if brain mechanisms evolve through processes of descent with modification, they are likely to be heterogeneous, rather than coming in just two kinds. They are likely to be hierarchically organized, with some design features widely shared across brain systems and others specific to particular processes. Also, they are likely to be largely developmentally plastic and interactive with other brain systems, rather than canalized and isolated. This article presents a hierarchical model of brain specialization, reviewing evidence for the model from evolutionary developmental biology, genetics, brain mapping, and comparative studies. Implications for the search for uniquely human traits are discussed, along with ways in which conventional views of modularity in psychology may need to be revised. PMID:22723350

  9. A hierarchical model of the evolution of human brain specializations.

    PubMed

    Barrett, H Clark

    2012-06-26

    The study of information-processing adaptations in the brain is controversial, in part because of disputes about the form such adaptations might take. Many psychologists assume that adaptations come in two kinds, specialized and general-purpose. Specialized mechanisms are typically thought of as innate, domain-specific, and isolated from other brain systems, whereas generalized mechanisms are developmentally plastic, domain-general, and interactive. However, if brain mechanisms evolve through processes of descent with modification, they are likely to be heterogeneous, rather than coming in just two kinds. They are likely to be hierarchically organized, with some design features widely shared across brain systems and others specific to particular processes. Also, they are likely to be largely developmentally plastic and interactive with other brain systems, rather than canalized and isolated. This article presents a hierarchical model of brain specialization, reviewing evidence for the model from evolutionary developmental biology, genetics, brain mapping, and comparative studies. Implications for the search for uniquely human traits are discussed, along with ways in which conventional views of modularity in psychology may need to be revised.

  10. Evolution of human brain functions: the functional structure of human consciousness.

    PubMed

    Cloninger, C Robert

    2009-11-01

    The functional structure of self-aware consciousness in human beings is described based on the evolution of human brain functions. Prior work on heritable temperament and character traits is extended to account for the quantum-like and holographic properties (i.e. parts elicit wholes) of self-aware consciousness. Cladistic analysis is used to identify the succession of ancestors leading to human beings. The functional capacities that emerge along this lineage of ancestors are described. The ecological context in which each cladogenesis occurred is described to illustrate the shifting balance of evolution as a complex adaptive system. Comparative neuroanatomy is reviewed to identify the brain structures and networks that emerged coincident with the emergent brain functions. Individual differences in human temperament traits were well developed in the common ancestor shared by reptiles and humans. Neocortical development in mammals proceeded in five major transitions: from early reptiles to early mammals, early primates, simians, early Homo, and modern Homo sapiens. These transitions provide the foundation for human self-awareness related to sexuality, materiality, emotionality, intellectuality, and spirituality, respectively. The functional structure of human self-aware consciousness is concerned with the regulation of five planes of being: sexuality, materiality, emotionality, intellectuality, and spirituality. Each plane elaborates neocortical functions organized around one of the five special senses. The interactions among these five planes gives rise to a 5 x 5 matrix of subplanes, which are functions that coarsely describe the focus of neocortical regulation. Each of these 25 neocortical functions regulates each of five basic motives or drives that can be measured as temperaments or basic emotions related to fear, anger, disgust, surprise, and happiness/sadness. The resulting 5 x 5 x 5 matrix of human characteristics provides a general and testable model of the

  11. The Evolution of the Brain, the Human Nature of Cortical Circuits, and Intellectual Creativity

    PubMed Central

    DeFelipe, Javier

    2011-01-01

    The tremendous expansion and the differentiation of the neocortex constitute two major events in the evolution of the mammalian brain. The increase in size and complexity of our brains opened the way to a spectacular development of cognitive and mental skills. This expansion during evolution facilitated the addition of microcircuits with a similar basic structure, which increased the complexity of the human brain and contributed to its uniqueness. However, fundamental differences even exist between distinct mammalian species. Here, we shall discuss the issue of our humanity from a neurobiological and historical perspective. PMID:21647212

  12. The evolution of distributed association networks in the human brain.

    PubMed

    Buckner, Randy L; Krienen, Fenna M

    2013-12-01

    The human cerebral cortex is vastly expanded relative to other primates and disproportionately occupied by distributed association regions. Here we offer a hypothesis about how association networks evolved their prominence and came to possess circuit properties vital to human cognition. The rapid expansion of the cortical mantle may have untethered large portions of the cortex from strong constraints of molecular gradients and early activity cascades that lead to sensory hierarchies. What fill the gaps between these hierarchies are densely interconnected networks that widely span the cortex and mature late into development. Limitations of the tethering hypothesis are discussed as well as its broad implications for understanding critical features of the human brain as a byproduct of size scaling. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Modular structure facilitates mosaic evolution of the brain in chimpanzees and humans.

    PubMed

    Gómez-Robles, Aida; Hopkins, William D; Sherwood, Chet C

    2014-07-22

    Different brain components can evolve in a coordinated manner or they can show divergent evolutionary trajectories according to a mosaic pattern of variation. Understanding the relationship between these brain evolutionary patterns, which are not mutually exclusive, can be informed by the examination of intraspecific variation. Our study evaluates patterns of brain anatomical covariation in chimpanzees and humans to infer their influence on brain evolution in the hominin clade. We show that chimpanzee and human brains have a modular structure that may have facilitated mosaic evolution from their last common ancestor. Spatially adjacent regions covary with one another to the strongest degree and separated regions are more independent from each other, which might be related to a predominance of local association connectivity. Despite the undoubted importance of developmental and functional factors in determining brain morphology, we find that these constraints are subordinate to the primary effect of local spatial interactions.

  14. Modular structure facilitates mosaic evolution of the brain in chimpanzees and humans

    PubMed Central

    Gómez-Robles, Aida; Hopkins, William D.; Sherwood, Chet C.

    2014-01-01

    Different brain components can evolve in a coordinated fashion or they can show divergent evolutionary trajectories according to a mosaic pattern of variation. Understanding the relationship between these brain evolutionary patterns, which are not mutually exclusive, can be informed by the examination of intraspecific variation. Our study evaluates patterns of brain anatomical covariation in chimpanzees and humans to infer their influence on brain evolution in the hominin clade. We show that chimpanzee and human brains have a modular structure that may have facilitated mosaic evolution from their last common ancestor. Spatially adjacent regions covary with one another to the strongest degree and separated regions are more independent from each other, which might be related to a predominance of local association connectivity. Despite the undoubted importance of developmental and functional factors in determining brain morphology, we find that these constraints are subordinate to the primary effect of local spatial interactions. PMID:25047085

  15. Comparative Methylome Analyses Identify Epigenetic Regulatory Loci of Human Brain Evolution.

    PubMed

    Mendizabal, Isabel; Shi, Lei; Keller, Thomas E; Konopka, Genevieve; Preuss, Todd M; Hsieh, Tzung-Fu; Hu, Enzhi; Zhang, Zhe; Su, Bing; Yi, Soojin V

    2016-11-01

    How do epigenetic modifications change across species and how do these modifications affect evolution? These are fundamental questions at the forefront of our evolutionary epigenomic understanding. Our previous work investigated human and chimpanzee brain methylomes, but it was limited by the lack of outgroup data which is critical for comparative (epi)genomic studies. Here, we compared whole genome DNA methylation maps from brains of humans, chimpanzees and also rhesus macaques (outgroup) to elucidate DNA methylation changes during human brain evolution. Moreover, we validated that our approach is highly robust by further examining 38 human-specific DMRs using targeted deep genomic and bisulfite sequencing in an independent panel of 37 individuals from five primate species. Our unbiased genome-scan identified human brain differentially methylated regions (DMRs), irrespective of their associations with annotated genes. Remarkably, over half of the newly identified DMRs locate in intergenic regions or gene bodies. Nevertheless, their regulatory potential is on par with those of promoter DMRs. An intriguing observation is that DMRs are enriched in active chromatin loops, suggesting human-specific evolutionary remodeling at a higher-order chromatin structure. These findings indicate that there is substantial reprogramming of epigenomic landscapes during human brain evolution involving noncoding regions. © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

  16. Epigenetics and brain evolution.

    PubMed

    Keverne, Eric B

    2011-04-01

    Fundamental aspects of mammalian brain evolution occurred in the context of viviparity and placentation brought about by the epigenetic regulation of imprinted genes. Since the fetal placenta hormonally primes the maternal brain, two genomes in one individual are transgenerationally co-adapted to ensure maternal care and nurturing. Advanced aspects of neocortical brain evolution has shown very few genetic changes between monkeys and humans. Although these lineages diverged at approximately the same time as the rat and mouse (20 million years ago), synonymous sequence divergence between the rat and mouse is double that when comparing monkey with human sequences. Paradoxically, encephalization of rat and mouse are remarkably similar, while comparison of the human and monkey shows the human cortex to be three times the size of the monkey. This suggests an element of genetic stability between the brains of monkey and man with a greater emphasis on epigenetics providing adaptable variability.

  17. Gorilla and orangutan brains conform to the primate cellular scaling rules: implications for human evolution.

    PubMed

    Herculano-Houzel, Suzana; Kaas, Jon H

    2011-01-01

    Gorillas and orangutans are primates at least as large as humans, but their brains amount to about one third of the size of the human brain. This discrepancy has been used as evidence that the human brain is about 3 times larger than it should be for a primate species of its body size. In contrast to the view that the human brain is special in its size, we have suggested that it is the great apes that might have evolved bodies that are unusually large, on the basis of our recent finding that the cellular composition of the human brain matches that expected for a primate brain of its size, making the human brain a linearly scaled-up primate brain in its number of cells. To investigate whether the brain of great apes also conforms to the primate cellular scaling rules identified previously, we determine the numbers of neuronal and other cells that compose the orangutan and gorilla cerebella, use these numbers to calculate the size of the brain and of the cerebral cortex expected for these species, and show that these match the sizes described in the literature. Our results suggest that the brains of great apes also scale linearly in their numbers of neurons like other primate brains, including humans. The conformity of great apes and humans to the linear cellular scaling rules that apply to other primates that diverged earlier in primate evolution indicates that prehistoric Homo species as well as other hominins must have had brains that conformed to the same scaling rules, irrespective of their body size. We then used those scaling rules and published estimated brain volumes for various hominin species to predict the numbers of neurons that composed their brains. We predict that Homo heidelbergensis and Homo neanderthalensis had brains with approximately 80 billion neurons, within the range of variation found in modern Homo sapiens. We propose that while the cellular scaling rules that apply to the primate brain have remained stable in hominin evolution (since they

  18. Human Development, Human Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Smillie, David

    One of the truly remarkable events in human evolution is the unprecedented increase in the size of the brain of "Homo" over a brief span of 2 million years. It would appear that some significant selective pressure or opportunity presented itself to this branch of the hominid line and caused a rapid increase in the brain, introducing a…

  19. Human Development, Human Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Smillie, David

    One of the truly remarkable events in human evolution is the unprecedented increase in the size of the brain of "Homo" over a brief span of 2 million years. It would appear that some significant selective pressure or opportunity presented itself to this branch of the hominid line and caused a rapid increase in the brain, introducing a…

  20. Endocasts: possibilities and limitations for the interpretation of human brain evolution.

    PubMed

    Neubauer, Simon

    2014-01-01

    Brains are not preserved in the fossil record but endocranial casts are. These are casts of the internal bony braincase, revealing approximate brain size and shape, and they are also informative about brain surface morphology. Endocasts are the only direct evidence of human brain evolution, but they provide only limited data ('paleoneurology'). This review discusses some new fossil endocasts and recent methodological advances that have allowed novel analyses of old endocasts, leading to intriguing findings and hypotheses. The interpretation of paleoneurological data always relies on comparative information from living species whose brains and behavior can be directly investigated. It is therefore important that future studies attempt to better integrate different approaches. Only then will we be able to gain a better understanding about hominin brain evolution. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  1. Comparative Methylome Analyses Identify Epigenetic Regulatory Loci of Human Brain Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Mendizabal, Isabel; Shi, Lei; Keller, Thomas E.; Konopka, Genevieve; Preuss, Todd M.; Hsieh, Tzung-Fu; Hu, Enzhi; Zhang, Zhe; Su, Bing; Yi, Soojin V.

    2016-01-01

    How do epigenetic modifications change across species and how do these modifications affect evolution? These are fundamental questions at the forefront of our evolutionary epigenomic understanding. Our previous work investigated human and chimpanzee brain methylomes, but it was limited by the lack of outgroup data which is critical for comparative (epi)genomic studies. Here, we compared whole genome DNA methylation maps from brains of humans, chimpanzees and also rhesus macaques (outgroup) to elucidate DNA methylation changes during human brain evolution. Moreover, we validated that our approach is highly robust by further examining 38 human-specific DMRs using targeted deep genomic and bisulfite sequencing in an independent panel of 37 individuals from five primate species. Our unbiased genome-scan identified human brain differentially methylated regions (DMRs), irrespective of their associations with annotated genes. Remarkably, over half of the newly identified DMRs locate in intergenic regions or gene bodies. Nevertheless, their regulatory potential is on par with those of promoter DMRs. An intriguing observation is that DMRs are enriched in active chromatin loops, suggesting human-specific evolutionary remodeling at a higher-order chromatin structure. These findings indicate that there is substantial reprogramming of epigenomic landscapes during human brain evolution involving noncoding regions. PMID:27563052

  2. Neanderthal brain size at birth provides insights into the evolution of human life history.

    PubMed

    Ponce de León, Marcia S; Golovanova, Lubov; Doronichev, Vladimir; Romanova, Galina; Akazawa, Takeru; Kondo, Osamu; Ishida, Hajime; Zollikofer, Christoph P E

    2008-09-16

    From birth to adulthood, the human brain expands by a factor of 3.3, compared with 2.5 in chimpanzees [DeSilva J and Lesnik J (2006) Chimpanzee neonatal brain size: Implications for brain growth in Homo erectus. J Hum Evol 51: 207-212]. How the required extra amount of human brain growth is achieved and what its implications are for human life history and cognitive development are still a matter of debate. Likewise, because comparative fossil evidence is scarce, when and how the modern human pattern of brain growth arose during evolution is largely unknown. Virtual reconstructions of a Neanderthal neonate from Mezmaiskaya Cave (Russia) and of two Neanderthal infant skeletons from Dederiyeh Cave (Syria) now provide new comparative insights: Neanderthal brain size at birth was similar to that in recent Homo sapiens and most likely subject to similar obstetric constraints. Neanderthal brain growth rates during early infancy were higher, however. This pattern of growth resulted in larger adult brain sizes but not in earlier completion of brain growth. Because large brains growing at high rates require large, late-maturing, mothers [Leigh SR and Blomquist GE (2007) in Campbell CJ et al. Primates in perspective; pp 396-407], it is likely that Neanderthal life history was similarly slow, or even slower-paced, than in recent H. sapiens.

  3. Evolution, development, and plasticity of the human brain: from molecules to bones.

    PubMed

    Hrvoj-Mihic, Branka; Bienvenu, Thibault; Stefanacci, Lisa; Muotri, Alysson R; Semendeferi, Katerina

    2013-10-30

    Neuroanatomical, molecular, and paleontological evidence is examined in light of human brain evolution. The brain of extant humans differs from the brains of other primates in its overall size and organization, and differences in size and organization of specific cortical areas and subcortical structures implicated into complex cognition and social and emotional processing. The human brain is also characterized by functional lateralizations, reflecting specializations of the cerebral hemispheres in humans for different types of processing, facilitating fast and reliable communication between neural cells in an enlarged brain. The features observed in the adult brain reflect human-specific patterns of brain development. Compared to the brains of other primates, the human brain takes longer to mature, promoting an extended period for establishing cortical microcircuitry and its modifications. Together, these features may underlie the prolonged period of learning and acquisition of technical and social skills necessary for survival, creating a unique cognitive and behavioral niche typical of our species. The neuroanatomical findings are in concordance with molecular analyses, which suggest a trend toward heterochrony in the expression of genes implicated in different functions. These include synaptogenesis, neuronal maturation, and plasticity in humans, mutations in genes implicated in neurite outgrowth and plasticity, and an increased role of regulatory mechanisms, potentially promoting fast modification of neuronal morphologies in response to new computational demands. At the same time, endocranial casts of fossil hominins provide an insight into the timing of the emergence of uniquely human features in the course of evolution. We conclude by proposing several ways of combining comparative neuroanatomy, molecular biology and insights gained from fossil endocasts in future research.

  4. Evolution, development, and plasticity of the human brain: from molecules to bones

    PubMed Central

    Hrvoj-Mihic, Branka; Bienvenu, Thibault; Stefanacci, Lisa; Muotri, Alysson R.; Semendeferi, Katerina

    2013-01-01

    Neuroanatomical, molecular, and paleontological evidence is examined in light of human brain evolution. The brain of extant humans differs from the brains of other primates in its overall size and organization, and differences in size and organization of specific cortical areas and subcortical structures implicated into complex cognition and social and emotional processing. The human brain is also characterized by functional lateralizations, reflecting specializations of the cerebral hemispheres in humans for different types of processing, facilitating fast and reliable communication between neural cells in an enlarged brain. The features observed in the adult brain reflect human-specific patterns of brain development. Compared to the brains of other primates, the human brain takes longer to mature, promoting an extended period for establishing cortical microcircuitry and its modifications. Together, these features may underlie the prolonged period of learning and acquisition of technical and social skills necessary for survival, creating a unique cognitive and behavioral niche typical of our species. The neuroanatomical findings are in concordance with molecular analyses, which suggest a trend toward heterochrony in the expression of genes implicated in different functions. These include synaptogenesis, neuronal maturation, and plasticity in humans, mutations in genes implicated in neurite outgrowth and plasticity, and an increased role of regulatory mechanisms, potentially promoting fast modification of neuronal morphologies in response to new computational demands. At the same time, endocranial casts of fossil hominins provide an insight into the timing of the emergence of uniquely human features in the course of evolution. We conclude by proposing several ways of combining comparative neuroanatomy, molecular biology and insights gained from fossil endocasts in future research. PMID:24194709

  5. Metabolic syndrome--psycho neuropathogenesis and human brain evolution.

    PubMed

    Perumal, Madhusoothanan Bhagavathi

    2011-01-01

    Metabolic syndrome (MS) is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease. Heightened hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis activity is associated with pathogenesis of MS. Life style, food habits and physical activity also play critical role in the pathogenesis of MS. However, the precise neurophysiology behind chronic stress leading on to such effects is unknown. Review of recent animal and human studies have shown the subtle differences in morphological changes associated with chronic stress between medial prefrontal cortex and amygdaloid complex. The loss of dendritic spines in pyramidal neurons of medial prefrontal cortex, dendritic hypertrophy in basolateral amygdala and dendritic loss in central nucleus of amygdala causes increased basal output from amygdaloid complex to HPA axis and other targets whose networks are evolutionarily well conserved. The increased HPA axis activity, elevated blood pressure and appetite for high calorie diet leads to MS. The evolution of isocortex in primates and associated regression in size of limbic structures predisposed to increased synaptic noise in amygdaloid complex which in turn cause heighetened output from amygdala during chronic stress. Copyright © 2010 Diabetes India. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Linking brains and brawn: exercise and the evolution of human neurobiology.

    PubMed

    Raichlen, David A; Polk, John D

    2013-01-07

    The hunting and gathering lifestyle adopted by human ancestors around 2 Ma required a large increase in aerobic activity. High levels of physical activity altered the shape of the human body, enabling access to new food resources (e.g. animal protein) in a changing environment. Recent experimental work provides strong evidence that both acute bouts of exercise and long-term exercise training increase the size of brain components and improve cognitive performance in humans and other taxa. However, to date, researchers have not explored the possibility that the increases in aerobic capacity and physical activity that occurred during human evolution directly influenced the human brain. Here, we hypothesize that proximate mechanisms linking physical activity and neurobiology in living species may help to explain changes in brain size and cognitive function during human evolution. We review evidence that selection acting on endurance increased baseline neurotrophin and growth factor signalling (compounds responsible for both brain growth and for metabolic regulation during exercise) in some mammals, which in turn led to increased overall brain growth and development. This hypothesis suggests that a significant portion of human neurobiology evolved due to selection acting on features unrelated to cognitive performance.

  7. Linking brains and brawn: exercise and the evolution of human neurobiology

    PubMed Central

    Raichlen, David A.; Polk, John D.

    2013-01-01

    The hunting and gathering lifestyle adopted by human ancestors around 2 Ma required a large increase in aerobic activity. High levels of physical activity altered the shape of the human body, enabling access to new food resources (e.g. animal protein) in a changing environment. Recent experimental work provides strong evidence that both acute bouts of exercise and long-term exercise training increase the size of brain components and improve cognitive performance in humans and other taxa. However, to date, researchers have not explored the possibility that the increases in aerobic capacity and physical activity that occurred during human evolution directly influenced the human brain. Here, we hypothesize that proximate mechanisms linking physical activity and neurobiology in living species may help to explain changes in brain size and cognitive function during human evolution. We review evidence that selection acting on endurance increased baseline neurotrophin and growth factor signalling (compounds responsible for both brain growth and for metabolic regulation during exercise) in some mammals, which in turn led to increased overall brain growth and development. This hypothesis suggests that a significant portion of human neurobiology evolved due to selection acting on features unrelated to cognitive performance. PMID:23173208

  8. A Mind of Three Minds: Evolution of the Human Brain

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    MacLean, Paul D.

    1978-01-01

    The author examines the evolutionary and neural roots of a triune intelligence comprised of a primal mind, an emotional mind, and a rational mind. A simple brain model and some definitions of unfamiliar behavioral terms are included. (Author/MA)

  9. A Mind of Three Minds: Evolution of the Human Brain

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    MacLean, Paul D.

    1978-01-01

    The author examines the evolutionary and neural roots of a triune intelligence comprised of a primal mind, an emotional mind, and a rational mind. A simple brain model and some definitions of unfamiliar behavioral terms are included. (Author/MA)

  10. A potential role for glucose transporters in the evolution of human brain size.

    PubMed

    Fedrigo, Olivier; Pfefferle, Adam D; Babbitt, Courtney C; Haygood, Ralph; Wall, Christine E; Wray, Gregory A

    2011-01-01

    Differences in cognitive abilities and the relatively large brain are among the most striking differences between humans and their closest primate relatives. The energy trade-off hypothesis predicts that a major shift in energy allocation among tissues occurred during human origins in order to support the remarkable expansion of a metabolically expensive brain. However, the molecular basis of this adaptive scenario is unknown. Two glucose transporters (SLC2A1 and SLC2A4) are promising candidates and present intriguing mutations in humans, resulting, respectively, in microcephaly and disruptions in whole-body glucose homeostasis. We compared SLC2A1 and SLC2A4 expression between humans, chimpanzees and macaques, and found compensatory and biologically significant expression changes on the human lineage within cerebral cortex and skeletal muscle, consistent with mediating an energy trade-off. We also show that these two genes are likely to have undergone adaptation and participated in the development and maintenance of a larger brain in the human lineage by modulating brain and skeletal muscle energy allocation. We found that these two genes show human-specific signatures of positive selection on known regulatory elements within their 5'-untranslated region, suggesting an adaptation of their regulation during human origins. This study represents the first case where adaptive, functional and genetic lines of evidence implicate specific genes in the evolution of human brain size. Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  11. Human brain evolution: transcripts, metabolites and their regulators.

    PubMed

    Somel, Mehmet; Liu, Xiling; Khaitovich, Philipp

    2013-02-01

    What evolutionary events led to the emergence of human cognition? Although the genetic differences separating modern humans from both non-human primates (for example, chimpanzees) and archaic hominins (Neanderthals and Denisovans) are known, linking human-specific mutations to the cognitive phenotype remains a challenge. One strategy is to focus on human-specific changes at the level of intermediate phenotypes, such as gene expression and metabolism, in conjunction with evolutionary changes in gene regulation involving transcription factors, microRNA and proximal regulatory elements. In this Review we show how this strategy has yielded some of the first hints about the mechanisms of human cognition.

  12. Evolution of the human ASPM gene, a major determinant of brain size.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jianzhi

    2003-12-01

    The size of human brain tripled over a period of approximately 2 million years (MY) that ended 0.2-0.4 MY ago. This evolutionary expansion is believed to be important to the emergence of human language and other high-order cognitive functions, yet its genetic basis remains unknown. An evolutionary analysis of genes controlling brain development may shed light on it. ASPM (abnormal spindle-like microcephaly associated) is one of such genes, as nonsense mutations lead to primary microcephaly, a human disease characterized by a 70% reduction in brain size. Here I provide evidence suggesting that human ASPM went through an episode of accelerated sequence evolution by positive Darwinian selection after the split of humans and chimpanzees but before the separation of modern non-Africans from Africans. Because positive selection acts on a gene only when the gene function is altered and the organismal fitness is increased, my results suggest that adaptive functional modifications occurred in human ASPM and that it may be a major genetic component underlying the evolution of the human brain.

  13. Human Brain Expansion during Evolution Is Independent of Fire Control and Cooking

    PubMed Central

    Cornélio, Alianda M.; de Bittencourt-Navarrete, Ruben E.; de Bittencourt Brum, Ricardo; Queiroz, Claudio M.; Costa, Marcos R.

    2016-01-01

    What makes humans unique? This question has fascinated scientists and philosophers for centuries and it is still a matter of intense debate. Nowadays, human brain expansion during evolution has been acknowledged to explain our empowered cognitive capabilities. The drivers for such accelerated expansion remain, however, largely unknown. In this sense, studies have suggested that the cooking of food could be a pre-requisite for the expansion of brain size in early hominins. However, this appealing hypothesis is only supported by a mathematical model suggesting that the increasing number of neurons in the brain would constrain body size among primates due to a limited amount of calories obtained from diets. Here, we show, by using a similar mathematical model, that a tradeoff between body mass and the number of brain neurons imposed by dietary constraints during hominin evolution is unlikely. Instead, the predictable number of neurons in the hominin brain varies much more in function of foraging efficiency than body mass. We also review archeological data to show that the expansion of the brain volume in the hominin lineage is described by a linear function independent of evidence of fire control, and therefore, thermal processing of food does not account for this phenomenon. Finally, we report experiments in mice showing that thermal processing of meat does not increase its caloric availability in mice. Altogether, our data indicate that cooking is neither sufficient nor necessary to explain hominin brain expansion. PMID:27199631

  14. Human Brain Expansion during Evolution Is Independent of Fire Control and Cooking.

    PubMed

    Cornélio, Alianda M; de Bittencourt-Navarrete, Ruben E; de Bittencourt Brum, Ricardo; Queiroz, Claudio M; Costa, Marcos R

    2016-01-01

    What makes humans unique? This question has fascinated scientists and philosophers for centuries and it is still a matter of intense debate. Nowadays, human brain expansion during evolution has been acknowledged to explain our empowered cognitive capabilities. The drivers for such accelerated expansion remain, however, largely unknown. In this sense, studies have suggested that the cooking of food could be a pre-requisite for the expansion of brain size in early hominins. However, this appealing hypothesis is only supported by a mathematical model suggesting that the increasing number of neurons in the brain would constrain body size among primates due to a limited amount of calories obtained from diets. Here, we show, by using a similar mathematical model, that a tradeoff between body mass and the number of brain neurons imposed by dietary constraints during hominin evolution is unlikely. Instead, the predictable number of neurons in the hominin brain varies much more in function of foraging efficiency than body mass. We also review archeological data to show that the expansion of the brain volume in the hominin lineage is described by a linear function independent of evidence of fire control, and therefore, thermal processing of food does not account for this phenomenon. Finally, we report experiments in mice showing that thermal processing of meat does not increase its caloric availability in mice. Altogether, our data indicate that cooking is neither sufficient nor necessary to explain hominin brain expansion.

  15. Metabolic acceleration and the evolution of human brain size and life history.

    PubMed

    Pontzer, Herman; Brown, Mary H; Raichlen, David A; Dunsworth, Holly; Hare, Brian; Walker, Kara; Luke, Amy; Dugas, Lara R; Durazo-Arvizu, Ramon; Schoeller, Dale; Plange-Rhule, Jacob; Bovet, Pascal; Forrester, Terrence E; Lambert, Estelle V; Thompson, Melissa Emery; Shumaker, Robert W; Ross, Stephen R

    2016-05-19

    Humans are distinguished from the other living apes in having larger brains and an unusual life history that combines high reproductive output with slow childhood growth and exceptional longevity. This suite of derived traits suggests major changes in energy expenditure and allocation in the human lineage, but direct measures of human and ape metabolism are needed to compare evolved energy strategies among hominoids. Here we used doubly labelled water measurements of total energy expenditure (TEE; kcal day(-1)) in humans, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans to test the hypothesis that the human lineage has experienced an acceleration in metabolic rate, providing energy for larger brains and faster reproduction without sacrificing maintenance and longevity. In multivariate regressions including body size and physical activity, human TEE exceeded that of chimpanzees and bonobos, gorillas and orangutans by approximately 400, 635 and 820 kcal day(-1), respectively, readily accommodating the cost of humans' greater brain size and reproductive output. Much of the increase in TEE is attributable to humans' greater basal metabolic rate (kcal day(-1)), indicating increased organ metabolic activity. Humans also had the greatest body fat percentage. An increased metabolic rate, along with changes in energy allocation, was crucial in the evolution of human brain size and life history.

  16. Metabolic acceleration and the evolution of human brain size and life history

    PubMed Central

    Pontzer, Herman; Brown, Mary H.; Raichlen, David A.; Dunsworth, Holly; Hare, Brian; Walker, Kara; Luke, Amy; Dugas, Lara R.; Durazo-Arvizu, Ramon; Schoeller, Dale; Plange-Rhule, Jacob; Bovet, Pascal; Forrester, Terrence E.; Lambert, Estelle V.; Thompson, Melissa Emery; Shumaker, Robert W.; Ross, Stephen R.

    2016-01-01

    Humans are distinguished from the other living apes in having larger brains and an unusual life history that combines high reproductive output with slow childhood growth and exceptional longevity1. This suite of derived traits suggests major changes in energy expenditure and allocation in the human lineage, but direct measures of human and ape metabolism are needed to compare evolved energy strategies among hominoids. Here we used doubly labelled water measurements of total energy expenditure (TEE; kcal day−1) in humans, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans to test the hypothesis that the human lineage has experienced an acceleration in metabolic rate, providing energy for larger brains and faster reproduction without sacrificing maintenance and longevity. In multivariate regressions including body size and physical activity, human TEE exceeded that of chimpanzees and bonobos, gorillas and orangutans by approximately 400, 635 and 820 kcal day−1, respectively, readily accommodating the cost of humans' greater brain size and reproductive output. Much of the increase in TEE is attributable to humans' greater basal metabolic rate (kcal day−1), indicating increased organ metabolic activity. Humans also had the greatest body fat percentage. An increased metabolic rate, along with changes in energy allocation, was crucial in the evolution of human brain size and life history. PMID:27144364

  17. Metabolic constraint imposes tradeoff between body size and number of brain neurons in human evolution.

    PubMed

    Fonseca-Azevedo, Karina; Herculano-Houzel, Suzana

    2012-11-06

    Despite a general trend for larger mammals to have larger brains, humans are the primates with the largest brain and number of neurons, but not the largest body mass. Why are great apes, the largest primates, not also those endowed with the largest brains? Recently, we showed that the energetic cost of the brain is a linear function of its numbers of neurons. Here we show that metabolic limitations that result from the number of hours available for feeding and the low caloric yield of raw foods impose a tradeoff between body size and number of brain neurons, which explains the small brain size of great apes compared with their large body size. This limitation was probably overcome in Homo erectus with the shift to a cooked diet. Absent the requirement to spend most available hours of the day feeding, the combination of newly freed time and a large number of brain neurons affordable on a cooked diet may thus have been a major positive driving force to the rapid increased in brain size in human evolution.

  18. Metabolic constraint imposes tradeoff between body size and number of brain neurons in human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Fonseca-Azevedo, Karina; Herculano-Houzel, Suzana

    2012-01-01

    Despite a general trend for larger mammals to have larger brains, humans are the primates with the largest brain and number of neurons, but not the largest body mass. Why are great apes, the largest primates, not also those endowed with the largest brains? Recently, we showed that the energetic cost of the brain is a linear function of its numbers of neurons. Here we show that metabolic limitations that result from the number of hours available for feeding and the low caloric yield of raw foods impose a tradeoff between body size and number of brain neurons, which explains the small brain size of great apes compared with their large body size. This limitation was probably overcome in Homo erectus with the shift to a cooked diet. Absent the requirement to spend most available hours of the day feeding, the combination of newly freed time and a large number of brain neurons affordable on a cooked diet may thus have been a major positive driving force to the rapid increased in brain size in human evolution. PMID:23090991

  19. Plausible mechanisms for brain structural and size changes in human evolution.

    PubMed

    Blazek, Vladimir; Brùzek, Jaroslav; Casanova, Manuel F

    2011-09-01

    Encephalization has many contexts and implications. On one hand, it is concerned with the transformation of eating habits, social relationships and communication, cognitive skills and the mind. Along with the increase in brain size on the other hand, encephalization is connected with the creation of more complex brain structures, namely in the cerebral cortex. It is imperative to inquire into the mechanisms which are linked with brain growth and to find out which of these mechanisms allow it and determine it. There exist a number of theories for understanding human brain evolution which originate from neurological sciences. These theories are the concept of radial units, minicolumns, mirror neurons, and neurocognitive networks. Over the course of evolution, it is evident that a whole range of changes have taken place in regards to heredity. These changes include new mutations of genes in the microcephalin complex, gene duplications, gene co-expression, and genomic imprinting. This complex study of the growth and reorganization of the brain and the functioning of hereditary factors and their external influences creates an opportunity to consider the implications of cultural evolution and cognitive faculties.

  20. Probing human brain evolution and development in organoids.

    PubMed

    Giandomenico, Stefano L; Lancaster, Madeline A

    2017-02-01

    Expansion of the neocortex is thought to underpin the higher cognitive abilities of a number of mammalian lineages, such as cetaceans, elephants, and primates, with humans exhibiting a particularly enlarged and dense cerebral cortex. However, the evolutionary and developmental mechanisms that led to this expansion are not well-understood and limited to correlative observations. Historically, this has been due to technical and ethical limitations owing to the intractability of various species for functional studies. Nonetheless, comparative neuroanatomical observations have revealed probable cell-biological mechanisms that may have driven reorganization of neocortical architecture and cortical expansion. Furthermore, new in vitro neural differentiation technologies are allowing, for the first time, functional studies to test existing hypotheses and identify new mechanisms. Here, we introduce three-dimensional neural organoids as a powerful new tool for these types of evolutionary-neurodevelopmental studies. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. The evolution of the complex sensory and motor systems of the human brain.

    PubMed

    Kaas, Jon H

    2008-03-18

    Inferences about how the complex sensory and motor systems of the human brain evolved are based on the results of comparative studies of brain organization across a range of mammalian species, and evidence from the endocasts of fossil skulls of key extinct species. The endocasts of the skulls of early mammals indicate that they had small brains with little neocortex. Evidence from comparative studies of cortical organization from small-brained mammals of the six major branches of mammalian evolution supports the conclusion that the small neocortex of early mammals was divided into roughly 20-25 cortical areas, including primary and secondary sensory fields. In early primates, vision was the dominant sense, and cortical areas associated with vision in temporal and occipital cortex underwent a significant expansion. Comparative studies indicate that early primates had 10 or more visual areas, and somatosensory areas with expanded representations of the forepaw. Posterior parietal cortex was also expanded, with a caudal half dominated by visual inputs, and a rostral half dominated by somatosensory inputs with outputs to an array of seven or more motor and visuomotor areas of the frontal lobe. Somatosensory areas and posterior parietal cortex became further differentiated in early anthropoid primates. As larger brains evolved in early apes and in our hominin ancestors, the number of cortical areas increased to reach an estimated 200 or so in present day humans, and hemispheric specializations emerged. The large human brain grew primarily by increasing neuron number rather than increasing average neuron size.

  2. The evolution of the complex sensory and motor systems of the human brain

    PubMed Central

    Kaas, Jon H.

    2008-01-01

    Inferences about how the complex sensory and motor systems of the human brain evolved are based on the results of comparative studies of brain organization across a range of mammalian species, and evidence from the endocasts of fossil skulls of key extinct species. The endocasts of the skulls of early mammals indicate that they had small brains with little neocortex. Evidence from comparative studies of cortical organization from small-brained mammals of the six major branches of mammalian evolution supports the conclusion that the small neocortex of early mammals was divided into roughly 20–25 cortical areas, including primary and secondary sensory fields. In early primates, vision was the dominant sense, and cortical areas associated with vision in temporal and occipital cortex underwent a significant expansion. Comparative studies indicate that early primates had 10 or more visual areas, and somatosensory areas with expanded representations of the forepaw. Posterior parietal cortex was also expanded, with a caudal half dominated by visual inputs, and a rostral half dominated by somatosensory inputs with outputs to an array of seven or more motor and visuomotor areas of the frontal lobe. Somatosensory areas and posterior parietal cortex became further differentiated in early anthropoid primates. As larger brains evolved in early apes and in our hominin ancestors, the number of cortical areas increased to reach an estimated 200 or so in present day humans, and hemispheric specializations emerged. The large human brain grew primarily by increasing neuron number rather than increasing average neuron size. PMID:18331903

  3. Comparative genetic approaches to the evolution of human brain and behavior.

    PubMed

    Vallender, Eric J

    2011-01-01

    With advances in genomic technologies, the amount of genetic data available to scientists today is vast. Genomes are now available or planned for 14 different primate species and complete resequencing of numerous human individuals from numerous populations is underway. Moreover, high-throughput deep sequencing is quickly making whole genome efforts within the reach of single laboratories allowing for unprecedented studies. Comparative genetic approaches to the identification of the underlying basis of human brain, behavior, and cognitive ability are moving to the forefront. Two approaches predominate: inter-species divergence comparisons and intra-species polymorphism studies. These methodological differences are useful for different time scales of evolution and necessarily focus on different evolutionary events in the history of primate and hominin evolution. Inter-species divergence is more useful in studying large scale primate, or hominoid, evolution whereas intra-species polymorphism can be more illuminating of recent hominin evolution. These differences in methodological utility also extend to studies of differing genetic substrates; current divergence studies focus primarily on protein evolution whereas polymorphism studies are substrate ambivalent. Some of the issues inherent in these studies can be ameliorated by current sequencing capabilities whereas others remain intractable. New avenues are also being opened that allow for the incorporation of novel substrates and approaches. In the post-genomic era, the study of human evolution, specifically as it relates to the brain, is becoming more complete focusing increasingly on the totality of the system and better conceptualizing the entirety of the genetic changes that have lead to the human phenotype today.

  4. Comparative genetic approaches to the evolution of human brain and behavior

    PubMed Central

    Vallender, Eric J.

    2012-01-01

    With advances in genomic technologies the amount of genetic data available to scientists today is vast. Genomes are now available or planned for fourteen different primate species and complete resequencing of numerous human individuals from numerous populations is underway. Moreover, high-throughput deep sequencing is quickly making whole genome efforts within the reach of single laboratories allowing for unprecedented studies. Comparative genetic approaches to the identification of the underlying basis of human brain, behavior and cognitive ability are moving to the forefront. Two approaches predominate: inter-species divergence comparisons and intra-species polymorphism studies. These methodological differences are useful for different time scales of evolution and necessarily focus on different evolutionary events in the history of primate and hominin evolution. Inter-species divergence is more useful in studying large scale primate, or hominoid, evolution whereas intra-species polymorphism can be more illuminating of recent hominin evolution. These differences in methodological utility also extend to studies of differing genetic substrates; current divergence studies focus primarily on protein evolution while polymorphism studies are substrate ambivalent. Some of the issues inherent in these studies can be ameliorated by current sequencing capabilities while others remain intractable. New avenues are also being opened that allow for the incorporation of novel substrates and approaches. In the post-genomic era the study of human evolution, specifically as it relates to the brain, is becoming more complete focusing increasingly on the totality of the system and better conceptualizing the entirety of the genetic changes that have lead to the human phenotype today. PMID:21140466

  5. Evolution of Brain Active Gene Promoters in Human Lineage Towards the Increased Plasticity of Gene Regulation.

    PubMed

    Gunbin, Konstantin V; Ponomarenko, Mikhail P; Suslov, Valentin V; Gusev, Fedor; Fedonin, Gennady G; Rogaev, Evgeny I

    2017-02-24

    Adaptability to a variety of environmental conditions is a prominent feature of Homo sapiens. We hypothesize that this feature can be explained by evolutionary changes in gene promoters active in the brain prefrontal cortex leading to a more flexible gene regulation network. The genotype-dependent range of gene expression can be broader in humans than in other higher primates. Thus, we searched for specific signatures of evolutionary changes in promoter architectures of multiple hominid genes, including the genes active in human cortical neurons that may indicate an increase of variability of gene expression rather than just changes in the level of expression, such as downregulation or upregulation of the genes. We performed a whole-genome search for genetic-based alterations that may impact gene regulation "flexibility" in a process of hominids evolution, such as (i) CpG dinucleotide content, (ii) predicted nucleosome-DNA dissociation constant, and (iii) predicted affinities for TATA-binding protein (TBP) in gene promoters. We tested all putative promoter regions across the human genome and especially gene promoters in active chromatin state in neurons of prefrontal cortex, the brain region critical for abstract thinking and social and behavioral adaptation. Our data imply that the origin of modern man has been associated with an increase of flexibility of promoter-driven gene regulation in brain. In contrast, after splitting from the ancestral lineages of H. sapiens, the evolution of ape species is characterized by reduced flexibility of gene promoter functioning, underlying reduced variability of the gene expression.

  6. Divergent whole-genome methylation maps of human and chimpanzee brains reveal epigenetic basis of human regulatory evolution.

    PubMed

    Zeng, Jia; Konopka, Genevieve; Hunt, Brendan G; Preuss, Todd M; Geschwind, Dan; Yi, Soojin V

    2012-09-07

    DNA methylation is a pervasive epigenetic DNA modification that strongly affects chromatin regulation and gene expression. To date, it remains largely unknown how patterns of DNA methylation differ between closely related species and whether such differences contribute to species-specific phenotypes. To investigate these questions, we generated nucleotide-resolution whole-genome methylation maps of the prefrontal cortex of multiple humans and chimpanzees. Levels and patterns of DNA methylation vary across individuals within species according to the age and the sex of the individuals. We also found extensive species-level divergence in patterns of DNA methylation and that hundreds of genes exhibit significantly lower levels of promoter methylation in the human brain than in the chimpanzee brain. Furthermore, we investigated the functional consequences of methylation differences in humans and chimpanzees by integrating data on gene expression generated with next-generation sequencing methods, and we found a strong relationship between differential methylation and gene expression. Finally, we found that differentially methylated genes are strikingly enriched with loci associated with neurological disorders, psychological disorders, and cancers. Our results demonstrate that differential DNA methylation might be an important molecular mechanism driving gene-expression divergence between human and chimpanzee brains and might potentially contribute to the evolution of disease vulnerabilities. Thus, comparative studies of humans and chimpanzees stand to identify key epigenomic modifications underlying the evolution of human-specific traits.

  7. Fossil skulls reveal that blood flow rate to the brain increased faster than brain volume during human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Bosiocic, Vanya

    2016-01-01

    The evolution of human cognition has been inferred from anthropological discoveries and estimates of brain size from fossil skulls. A more direct measure of cognition would be cerebral metabolic rate, which is proportional to cerebral blood flow rate (perfusion). The hominin cerebrum is supplied almost exclusively by the internal carotid arteries. The sizes of the foramina that transmitted these vessels in life can be measured in hominin fossil skulls and used to calculate cerebral perfusion rate. Perfusion in 11 species of hominin ancestors, from Australopithecus to archaic Homo sapiens, increases disproportionately when scaled against brain volume (the allometric exponent is 1.41). The high exponent indicates an increase in the metabolic intensity of cerebral tissue in later Homo species, rather than remaining constant (1.0) as expected by a linear increase in neuron number, or decreasing according to Kleiber's Law (0.75). During 3 Myr of hominin evolution, cerebral tissue perfusion increased 1.7-fold, which, when multiplied by a 3.5-fold increase in brain size, indicates a 6.0-fold increase in total cerebral blood flow rate. This is probably associated with increased interneuron connectivity, synaptic activity and cognitive function, which all ultimately depend on cerebral metabolic rate. PMID:27853608

  8. Fossil skulls reveal that blood flow rate to the brain increased faster than brain volume during human evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seymour, Roger S.; Bosiocic, Vanya; Snelling, Edward P.

    2016-08-01

    The evolution of human cognition has been inferred from anthropological discoveries and estimates of brain size from fossil skulls. A more direct measure of cognition would be cerebral metabolic rate, which is proportional to cerebral blood flow rate (perfusion). The hominin cerebrum is supplied almost exclusively by the internal carotid arteries. The sizes of the foramina that transmitted these vessels in life can be measured in hominin fossil skulls and used to calculate cerebral perfusion rate. Perfusion in 11 species of hominin ancestors, from Australopithecus to archaic Homo sapiens, increases disproportionately when scaled against brain volume (the allometric exponent is 1.41). The high exponent indicates an increase in the metabolic intensity of cerebral tissue in later Homo species, rather than remaining constant (1.0) as expected by a linear increase in neuron number, or decreasing according to Kleiber's Law (0.75). During 3 Myr of hominin evolution, cerebral tissue perfusion increased 1.7-fold, which, when multiplied by a 3.5-fold increase in brain size, indicates a 6.0-fold increase in total cerebral blood flow rate. This is probably associated with increased interneuron connectivity, synaptic activity and cognitive function, which all ultimately depend on cerebral metabolic rate.

  9. Fossil skulls reveal that blood flow rate to the brain increased faster than brain volume during human evolution.

    PubMed

    Seymour, Roger S; Bosiocic, Vanya; Snelling, Edward P

    2016-08-01

    The evolution of human cognition has been inferred from anthropological discoveries and estimates of brain size from fossil skulls. A more direct measure of cognition would be cerebral metabolic rate, which is proportional to cerebral blood flow rate (perfusion). The hominin cerebrum is supplied almost exclusively by the internal carotid arteries. The sizes of the foramina that transmitted these vessels in life can be measured in hominin fossil skulls and used to calculate cerebral perfusion rate. Perfusion in 11 species of hominin ancestors, from Australopithecus to archaic Homo sapiens, increases disproportionately when scaled against brain volume (the allometric exponent is 1.41). The high exponent indicates an increase in the metabolic intensity of cerebral tissue in later Homo species, rather than remaining constant (1.0) as expected by a linear increase in neuron number, or decreasing according to Kleiber's Law (0.75). During 3 Myr of hominin evolution, cerebral tissue perfusion increased 1.7-fold, which, when multiplied by a 3.5-fold increase in brain size, indicates a 6.0-fold increase in total cerebral blood flow rate. This is probably associated with increased interneuron connectivity, synaptic activity and cognitive function, which all ultimately depend on cerebral metabolic rate.

  10. Brain evolution by brain pathway duplication

    PubMed Central

    Chakraborty, Mukta; Jarvis, Erich D.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the mechanisms of evolution of brain pathways for complex behaviours is still in its infancy. Making further advances requires a deeper understanding of brain homologies, novelties and analogies. It also requires an understanding of how adaptive genetic modifications lead to restructuring of the brain. Recent advances in genomic and molecular biology techniques applied to brain research have provided exciting insights into how complex behaviours are shaped by selection of novel brain pathways and functions of the nervous system. Here, we review and further develop some insights to a new hypothesis on one mechanism that may contribute to nervous system evolution, in particular by brain pathway duplication. Like gene duplication, we propose that whole brain pathways can duplicate and the duplicated pathway diverge to take on new functions. We suggest that one mechanism of brain pathway duplication could be through gene duplication, although other mechanisms are possible. We focus on brain pathways for vocal learning and spoken language in song-learning birds and humans as example systems. This view presents a new framework for future research in our understanding of brain evolution and novel behavioural traits. PMID:26554045

  11. Brain evolution by brain pathway duplication.

    PubMed

    Chakraborty, Mukta; Jarvis, Erich D

    2015-12-19

    Understanding the mechanisms of evolution of brain pathways for complex behaviours is still in its infancy. Making further advances requires a deeper understanding of brain homologies, novelties and analogies. It also requires an understanding of how adaptive genetic modifications lead to restructuring of the brain. Recent advances in genomic and molecular biology techniques applied to brain research have provided exciting insights into how complex behaviours are shaped by selection of novel brain pathways and functions of the nervous system. Here, we review and further develop some insights to a new hypothesis on one mechanism that may contribute to nervous system evolution, in particular by brain pathway duplication. Like gene duplication, we propose that whole brain pathways can duplicate and the duplicated pathway diverge to take on new functions. We suggest that one mechanism of brain pathway duplication could be through gene duplication, although other mechanisms are possible. We focus on brain pathways for vocal learning and spoken language in song-learning birds and humans as example systems. This view presents a new framework for future research in our understanding of brain evolution and novel behavioural traits. © 2015 The Authors.

  12. Organization and evolution of brain lipidome revealed by large-scale analysis of human, chimpanzee, macaque, and mouse tissues.

    PubMed

    Bozek, Katarzyna; Wei, Yuning; Yan, Zheng; Liu, Xiling; Xiong, Jieyi; Sugimoto, Masahiro; Tomita, Masaru; Pääbo, Svante; Sherwood, Chet C; Hof, Patrick R; Ely, John J; Li, Yan; Steinhauser, Dirk; Willmitzer, Lothar; Giavalisco, Patrick; Khaitovich, Philipp

    2015-02-18

    Lipids are prominent components of the nervous system. Here we performed a large-scale mass spectrometry-based analysis of the lipid composition of three brain regions as well as kidney and skeletal muscle of humans, chimpanzees, rhesus macaques, and mice. The human brain shows the most distinct lipid composition: 76% of 5,713 lipid compounds examined in our study are either enriched or depleted in the human brain. Concentration levels of lipids enriched in the brain evolve approximately four times faster among primates compared with lipids characteristic of non-neural tissues and show further acceleration of change in human neocortical regions but not in the cerebellum. Human-specific concentration changes are supported by human-specific expression changes for corresponding enzymes. These results provide the first insights into the role of lipids in human brain evolution. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  13. Metabolism as a tool for understanding human brain evolution: lipid energy metabolism as an example.

    PubMed

    Wang, Shu Pei; Yang, Hao; Wu, Jiang Wei; Gauthier, Nicolas; Fukao, Toshiyuki; Mitchell, Grant A

    2014-12-01

    Genes and the environment both influence the metabolic processes that determine fitness. To illustrate the importance of metabolism for human brain evolution and health, we use the example of lipid energy metabolism, i.e. the use of fat (lipid) to produce energy and the advantages that this metabolic pathway provides for the brain during environmental energy shortage. We briefly describe some features of metabolism in ancestral organisms, which provided a molecular toolkit for later development. In modern humans, lipid energy metabolism is a regulated multi-organ pathway that links triglycerides in fat tissue to the mitochondria of many tissues including the brain. Three important control points are each suppressed by insulin. (1) Lipid reserves in adipose tissue are released by lipolysis during fasting and stress, producing fatty acids (FAs) which circulate in the blood and are taken up by cells. (2) FA oxidation. Mitochondrial entry is controlled by carnitine palmitoyl transferase 1 (CPT1). Inside the mitochondria, FAs undergo beta oxidation and energy production in the Krebs cycle and respiratory chain. (3) In liver mitochondria, the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA (HMG-CoA) pathway produces ketone bodies for the brain and other organs. Unlike most tissues, the brain does not capture and metabolize circulating FAs for energy production. However, the brain can use ketone bodies for energy. We discuss two examples of genetic metabolic traits that may be advantageous under most conditions but deleterious in others. (1) A CPT1A variant prevalent in Inuit people may allow increased FA oxidation under nonfasting conditions but also predispose to hypoglycemic episodes. (2) The thrifty genotype theory, which holds that energy expenditure is efficient so as to maximize energy stores, predicts that these adaptations may enhance survival in periods of famine but predispose to obesity in modern dietary environments. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Functional divergence of the brain-size regulating gene MCPH1 during primate evolution and the origin of humans.

    PubMed

    Shi, Lei; Li, Ming; Lin, Qiang; Qi, Xuebin; Su, Bing

    2013-05-22

    One of the key genes that regulate human brain size, MCPH1 has evolved under strong Darwinian positive selection during the evolution of primates. During this evolution, the divergence of MCPH1 protein sequences among primates may have caused functional changes that contribute to brain enlargement. To test this hypothesis, we used co-immunoprecipitation and reporter gene assays to examine the activating and repressing effects of MCPH1 on a set of its down-stream genes and then compared the functional outcomes of a series of mutant MCPH1 proteins that carry mutations at the human- and great-ape-specific sites. The results demonstrate that the regulatory effects of human MCPH1 and rhesus macaque MCPH1 are different in three of eight down-stream genes tested (p73, cyclinE1 and p14ARF), suggesting a functional divergence of MCPH1 between human and non-human primates. Further analyses of the mutant MCPH1 proteins indicated that most of the human-specific mutations could change the regulatory effects on the down-stream genes. A similar result was also observed for one of the four great-ape-specific mutations. Collectively, we propose that during primate evolution in general and human evolution in particular, the divergence of MCPH1 protein sequences under Darwinian positive selection led to functional modifications, providing a possible molecular mechanism of how MCPH1 contributed to brain enlargement during primate evolution and human origin.

  15. Functional divergence of the brain-size regulating gene MCPH1 during primate evolution and the origin of humans

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background One of the key genes that regulate human brain size, MCPH1 has evolved under strong Darwinian positive selection during the evolution of primates. During this evolution, the divergence of MCPH1 protein sequences among primates may have caused functional changes that contribute to brain enlargement. Results To test this hypothesis, we used co-immunoprecipitation and reporter gene assays to examine the activating and repressing effects of MCPH1 on a set of its down-stream genes and then compared the functional outcomes of a series of mutant MCPH1 proteins that carry mutations at the human- and great-ape-specific sites. The results demonstrate that the regulatory effects of human MCPH1 and rhesus macaque MCPH1 are different in three of eight down-stream genes tested (p73, cyclinE1 and p14ARF), suggesting a functional divergence of MCPH1 between human and non-human primates. Further analyses of the mutant MCPH1 proteins indicated that most of the human-specific mutations could change the regulatory effects on the down-stream genes. A similar result was also observed for one of the four great-ape-specific mutations. Conclusions Collectively, we propose that during primate evolution in general and human evolution in particular, the divergence of MCPH1 protein sequences under Darwinian positive selection led to functional modifications, providing a possible molecular mechanism of how MCPH1 contributed to brain enlargement during primate evolution and human origin. PMID:23697381

  16. The role of human-specific gene duplications during brain development and evolution.

    PubMed

    Sassa, Takayuki

    2013-09-01

    One of the most fascinating questions in evolutionary biology is how traits unique to humans, such as their high cognitive abilities, erect bipedalism, and hairless skin, are encoded in the genome. Recent advances in genomics have begun to reveal differences between the genomes of the great apes. It has become evident that one of the many mutation types, segmental duplication, has drastically increased in the primate genomes, and most remarkably in the human genome. Genes contained in these segmental duplications have a tremendous potential to cause genetic innovation, probably accounting for the acquisition of human-specific traits. In this review, I begin with an overview of the genes, which have increased their copy number specifically in the human lineage, following its separation from the common ancestor with our closest living relative, the chimpanzee. Then, I introduce the recent experimental approaches, focusing on SRGAP2, which has been partially duplicated, to elucidate the role of SRGAP2 protein and its human-specific paralogs in human brain development and evolution.

  17. Orbital Dynamics, Environmental Heterogeneity, and the Evolution of the Human Brain

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Grove, Matt

    2012-01-01

    Many explanations have been proposed for the evolution of our anomalously large brains, including social, ecological, and epiphenomenal hypotheses. Recently, an additional hypothesis has emerged, suggesting that advanced cognition and, by inference, increases in brain size, have been driven over evolutionary time by the need to deal with…

  18. Orbital Dynamics, Environmental Heterogeneity, and the Evolution of the Human Brain

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Grove, Matt

    2012-01-01

    Many explanations have been proposed for the evolution of our anomalously large brains, including social, ecological, and epiphenomenal hypotheses. Recently, an additional hypothesis has emerged, suggesting that advanced cognition and, by inference, increases in brain size, have been driven over evolutionary time by the need to deal with…

  19. Adaptive evolution of interleukin-3 (IL3), a gene associated with brain volume variation in general human populations.

    PubMed

    Li, Ming; Huang, Liang; Li, Kaiqin; Huo, Yongxia; Chen, Chunhui; Wang, Jinkai; Liu, Jiewei; Luo, Zhenwu; Chen, Chuansheng; Dong, Qi; Yao, Yong-gang; Su, Bing; Luo, Xiong-jian

    2016-04-01

    Greatly expanded brain volume is one of the most characteristic traits that distinguish humans from other primates. Recent studies have revealed genes responsible for the dramatically enlarged human brain size (i.e., the microcephaly genes), and it has been well documented that many microcephaly genes have undergone accelerated evolution along the human lineage. In addition to being far larger than other primates, human brain volume is also highly variable in general populations. However, the genetic basis underlying human brain volume variation remains elusive and it is not known whether genes regulating human brain volume variation also have experienced positive selection. We have previously shown that genetic variants (near the IL3 gene) on 5q33 were significantly associated with brain volume in Chinese population. Here, we provide further evidence that support the significant association of genetic variants on 5q33 with brain volume. Bioinformatic analyses suggested that rs31480 is likely to be the causal variant among the studied SNPs. Molecular evolutionary analyses suggested that IL3 might have undergone positive selection in primates and humans. Neutrality tests further revealed signatures of positive selection of IL3 in Han Chinese and Europeans. Finally, extended haplotype homozygosity (EHH) and relative EHH analyses showed that the C allele of SNP rs31480 might have experienced recent positive selection in Han Chinese. Our results suggest that IL3 is an important genetic regulator for human brain volume variation and implied that IL3 might have experienced weak or modest positive selection in the evolutionary history of humans, which may be due to its contribution to human brain volume.

  20. Comparative expression analysis of the phosphocreatine circuit in extant primates: Implications for human brain evolution.

    PubMed

    Pfefferle, Adam D; Warner, Lisa R; Wang, Catrina W; Nielsen, William J; Babbitt, Courtney C; Fedrigo, Olivier; Wray, Gregory A

    2011-02-01

    While the hominid fossil record clearly shows that brain size has rapidly expanded over the last ~2.5 M.yr. the forces driving this change remain unclear. One popular hypothesis proposes that metabolic adaptations in response to dietary shifts supported greater encephalization in humans. An increase in meat consumption distinguishes the human diet from that of other great apes. Creatine, an essential metabolite for energy homeostasis in muscle and brain tissue, is abundant in meat and was likely ingested in higher quantities during human origins. Five phosphocreatine circuit proteins help regulate creatine utilization within energy demanding cells. We compared the expression of all five phosphocreatine circuit genes in cerebral cortex, cerebellum, and skeletal muscle tissue for humans, chimpanzees, and rhesus macaques. Strikingly, SLC6A8 and CKB transcript levels are higher in the human brain, which should increase energy availability and turnover compared to non-human primates. Combined with other well-documented differences between humans and non-human primates, this allocation of energy to the cerebral cortex and cerebellum may be important in supporting the increased metabolic demands of the human brain. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Comparative expression analysis of the phosphocreatine circuit in extant primates: implications for human brain evolution

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Catrina W.; Nielsen, William J.; Babbitt, Courtney C.; Fedrigo, Olivier; Wray, Gregory A.

    2014-01-01

    While the hominid fossil record clearly shows that brain size has rapidly expanded over the last ~2.5 M.yr., the forces driving this change remain unclear. One popular hypothesis proposes that metabolic adaptations in response to dietary shifts supported greater encephalization in humans. An increase in meat consumption distinguishes the human diet from that of other great apes. Creatine, an essential metabolite for energy homeostasis in muscle and brain tissue, is abundant in meat and was likely ingested in higher quantities during human origins. Five phosphocreatine circuit proteins help regulate creatine utilization within energy demanding cells. We compared the expression of all five phosphocreatine circuit genes in cerebral cortex, cerebellum, and skeletal muscle tissue for humans, chimpanzees, and rhesus macaques. Strikingly, SLC6A8 and CKB transcript levels are higher in the human brain, which should increase energy availability and turnover compared to non-human primates. Combined with other well-documented differences between humans and non-human primates, this allocation of energy to the cerebral cortex and cerebellum may be important in supporting the increased metabolic demands of the human brain. PMID:21190724

  2. Fire Control and Human Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Russell, Claire

    1978-01-01

    Briefly outlines some aspects of the discovery of fire control by primitive people, such as the preadaptation for speech, the evolution of the human brain, and natural selection for human nakedness or loss of hair. (CS)

  3. Fire Control and Human Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Russell, Claire

    1978-01-01

    Briefly outlines some aspects of the discovery of fire control by primitive people, such as the preadaptation for speech, the evolution of the human brain, and natural selection for human nakedness or loss of hair. (CS)

  4. Human evolution.

    PubMed

    Wood, B

    1996-12-01

    The common ancestor of modern humans and the great apes is estimated to have lived between 5 and 8 Myrs ago, but the earliest evidence in the human, or hominid, fossil record is Ardipithecus ramidus, from a 4.5 Myr Ethiopian site. This genus was succeeded by Australopithecus, within which four species are presently recognised. All combine a relatively primitive postcranial skeleton, a dentition with expanded chewing teeth and a small brain. The most primitive species in our own genus, Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, are little advanced over the australopithecines and with hindsight their inclusion in Homo may not be appropriate. The first species to share a substantial number of features with later Homo is Homo ergaster, or 'early African Homo erectus', which appears in the fossil record around 2.0 Myr. Outside Africa, fossil hominids appear as Homo erectus-like hominids, in mainland Asia and in Indonesia close to 2 Myr ago; the earliest good evidence of 'archaic Homo' in Europe is dated at between 600-700 Kyr before the present. Anatomically modern human, or Homo sapiens, fossils are seen first in the fossil record in Africa around 150 Kyr ago. Taken together with molecular evidence on the extent of DNA variation, this suggests that the transition from 'archaic' to 'modern' Homo may have taken place in Africa.

  5. DUF1220-domain copy number implicated in human brain-size pathology and evolution.

    PubMed

    Dumas, Laura J; O'Bleness, Majesta S; Davis, Jonathan M; Dickens, C Michael; Anderson, Nathan; Keeney, J G; Jackson, Jay; Sikela, Megan; Raznahan, Armin; Giedd, Jay; Rapoport, Judith; Nagamani, Sandesh S C; Erez, Ayelet; Brunetti-Pierri, Nicola; Sugalski, Rachel; Lupski, James R; Fingerlin, Tasha; Cheung, Sau Wai; Sikela, James M

    2012-09-07

    DUF1220 domains show the largest human-lineage-specific increase in copy number of any protein-coding region in the human genome and map primarily to 1q21, where deletions and reciprocal duplications have been associated with microcephaly and macrocephaly, respectively. Given these findings and the high correlation between DUF1220 copy number and brain size across primate lineages (R(2) = 0.98; p = 1.8 × 10(-6)), DUF1220 sequences represent plausible candidates for underlying 1q21-associated brain-size pathologies. To investigate this possibility, we used specialized bioinformatics tools developed for scoring highly duplicated DUF1220 sequences to implement targeted 1q21 array comparative genomic hybridization on individuals (n = 42) with 1q21-associated microcephaly and macrocephaly. We show that of all the 1q21 genes examined (n = 53), DUF1220 copy number shows the strongest association with brain size among individuals with 1q21-associated microcephaly, particularly with respect to the three evolutionarily conserved DUF1220 clades CON1(p = 0.0079), CON2 (p = 0.0134), and CON3 (p = 0.0116). Interestingly, all 1q21 DUF1220-encoding genes belonging to the NBPF family show significant correlations with frontal-occipital-circumference Z scores in the deletion group. In a similar survey of a nondisease population, we show that DUF1220 copy number exhibits the strongest correlation with brain gray-matter volume (CON1, p = 0.0246; and CON2, p = 0.0334). Notably, only DUF1220 sequences are consistently significant in both disease and nondisease populations. Taken together, these data strongly implicate the loss of DUF1220 copy number in the etiology of 1q21-associated microcephaly and support the view that DUF1220 domains function as general effectors of evolutionary, pathological, and normal variation in brain size. Copyright © 2012 The American Society of Human Genetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  6. DUF1220-Domain Copy Number Implicated in Human Brain-Size Pathology and Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Dumas, Laura J.; O’Bleness, Majesta S.; Davis, Jonathan M.; Dickens, C. Michael; Anderson, Nathan; Keeney, J.G.; Jackson, Jay; Sikela, Megan; Raznahan, Armin; Giedd, Jay; Rapoport, Judith; Nagamani, Sandesh S.C.; Erez, Ayelet; Brunetti-Pierri, Nicola; Sugalski, Rachel; Lupski, James R.; Fingerlin, Tasha; Cheung, Sau Wai; Sikela, James M.

    2012-01-01

    DUF1220 domains show the largest human-lineage-specific increase in copy number of any protein-coding region in the human genome and map primarily to 1q21, where deletions and reciprocal duplications have been associated with microcephaly and macrocephaly, respectively. Given these findings and the high correlation between DUF1220 copy number and brain size across primate lineages (R2 = 0.98; p = 1.8 × 10−6), DUF1220 sequences represent plausible candidates for underlying 1q21-associated brain-size pathologies. To investigate this possibility, we used specialized bioinformatics tools developed for scoring highly duplicated DUF1220 sequences to implement targeted 1q21 array comparative genomic hybridization on individuals (n = 42) with 1q21-associated microcephaly and macrocephaly. We show that of all the 1q21 genes examined (n = 53), DUF1220 copy number shows the strongest association with brain size among individuals with 1q21-associated microcephaly, particularly with respect to the three evolutionarily conserved DUF1220 clades CON1(p = 0.0079), CON2 (p = 0.0134), and CON3 (p = 0.0116). Interestingly, all 1q21 DUF1220-encoding genes belonging to the NBPF family show significant correlations with frontal-occipital-circumference Z scores in the deletion group. In a similar survey of a nondisease population, we show that DUF1220 copy number exhibits the strongest correlation with brain gray-matter volume (CON1, p = 0.0246; and CON2, p = 0.0334). Notably, only DUF1220 sequences are consistently significant in both disease and nondisease populations. Taken together, these data strongly implicate the loss of DUF1220 copy number in the etiology of 1q21-associated microcephaly and support the view that DUF1220 domains function as general effectors of evolutionary, pathological, and normal variation in brain size. PMID:22901949

  7. Inactivation of CMP-N-acetylneuraminic acid hydroxylase occurred prior to brain expansion during human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Chou, Hsun-Hua; Hayakawa, Toshiyuki; Diaz, Sandra; Krings, Matthias; Indriati, Etty; Leakey, Meave; Paabo, Svante; Satta, Yoko; Takahata, Naoyuki; Varki, Ajit

    2002-01-01

    Humans are genetically deficient in the common mammalian sialic acid N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc) because of an Alu-mediated inactivating mutation of the gene encoding the enzyme CMP-N-acetylneuraminic acid (CMP-Neu5Ac) hydroxylase (CMAH). This mutation occurred after our last common ancestor with bonobos and chimpanzees, and before the origin of present-day humans. Here, we take multiple approaches to estimate the timing of this mutation in relationship to human evolutionary history. First, we have developed a method to extract and identify sialic acids from bones and bony fossils. Two Neandertal fossils studied had clearly detectable Neu5Ac but no Neu5Gc, indicating that the CMAH mutation predated the common ancestor of humans and Neandertals, ≈0.5–0.6 million years ago (mya). Second, we date the insertion event of the inactivating human-specific sahAluY element that replaced the ancestral AluSq element found adjacent to exon 6 of the CMAH gene in the chimpanzee genome. Assuming Alu source genes based on a phylogenetic tree of human-specific Alu elements, we estimate the sahAluY insertion time at ≈2.7 mya. Third, we apply molecular clock analysis to chimpanzee and other great ape CMAH genes and the corresponding human pseudogene to estimate an inactivation time of ≈2.8 mya. Taken together, these studies indicate that the CMAH gene was inactivated shortly before the time when brain expansion began in humankind's ancestry, ≈2.1–2.2 mya. In this regard, it is of interest that although Neu5Gc is the major sialic acid in most organs of the chimpanzee, its expression is selectively down-regulated in the brain, for as yet unknown reasons. PMID:12192086

  8. Evolution and resolution of human brain perfusion responses to the stress of induced hypoglycemia.

    PubMed

    Teh, Ming Ming; Dunn, Joel T; Choudhary, Pratik; Samarasinghe, Yohan; Macdonald, Ian; O'Doherty, Michael; Marsden, Paul; Reed, Laurence J; Amiel, Stephanie A

    2010-11-01

    The relationship between the human brain response to acute stress and subjective, behavioural and physiological responses is poorly understood. We have examined the human cerebral response to the intense interoceptive stressor of hypoglycemia, controlling plasma glucose at either normal fasting concentrations (5 mmol/l, n=7) or at hypoglycemia (2.7 mmol/l, n=10) for 1 h in healthy volunteers. Hypoglycemia was associated with symptomatic responses, counterregulatory neuroendocrine responses and a sequential pattern of brain regional engagement, mapped as changes in relative cerebral perfusion using [(15)O]-H(2)O water positron emission tomography. The early cerebral response comprised activation bilaterally in anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and thalamic pulvinar, with deactivation in posterior parahippocampal gyrus. Later responses (>20 min) engaged bilateral anterior insula, ventral striatum and pituitary. Following resolution of hypoglycemia, the majority of responses returned to baseline, save persistent engagement of the ACC and sustained elevation of growth hormone and cortisol. Catecholamine responses correlated with increased perfusion in pulvinar and medial thalamus, ACC and pituitary, while growth hormone and cortisol responses showed no correlation with thalamic activation but did show additional correlation with the hypothalamus and ventral striatum bilaterally. These data demonstrate complex dynamic responses to the stressor of hypoglycemia that would be expected to drive physiological and behavioural changes to remedy the state. Further, these data show that sustained stress and its aftermath engage distinct sets of brain regions, providing a neural substrate for adaptive or 'allostasic' responses to stressors.

  9. What makes man human: thirty-ninth James Arthur lecture on the evolution of the human brain, 1970

    PubMed Central

    Pribram, Karl H

    2006-01-01

    What makes man human is his brain. This brain is obviously different from those of nonhuman primates. It is larger, shows hemispheric dominance and specialization, and is cytoarchitecturally somewhat more generalized. But are these the essential characteristics that determine the humanness of man? This paper cannot give an answer to this question for the answer is not known. But the problem can be stated more specifically, alternatives spelled out on the basis of available research results, and directions given for further inquiry. My theme will be that the human brain is so constructed that man, and only man, feels the thrust to make meaningful all his experiences and encounters. Development of this theme demands an analysis of the brain mechanisms that make meaning–and an attempt to define biologically the process of meaning. In this pursuit of meaning a fascinating variety of topics comes into focus: the coding and recoding operations of the brain; how it engenders and processes information and redundancy; and, how it makes possible signs and symbols and prepositional utterances. Of these, current research results indicate that only in the making of propositions is man unique–so here perhaps are to be found the keynotes that compose the theme. PMID:17132178

  10. Evolution of the human brain, chorionic gonadotropin and hemochorial implantation of the placenta: insights into origins of pregnancy failures, preeclampsia and choriocarcinoma.

    PubMed

    Cole, Laurence A; Khanlian, Sarah A; Kohorn, Ernest I

    2008-08-01

    Hyperglycosylated chorionic gonadotropin (CG-H) signals placental cytotrophoblast cell growth and invasion, and chorionic gonadotropin (CG) promotes uterine vascularization. A hypothesis is presented relating the evolution of these molecules to the evolution of human hemochorial implantation and that of the human brain. Deep placental invasion, vascularization and hemochorial placentation, under the influence of CG and CG-H, are a critical part of the nutrition and energy-generating mechanisms needed for human brain development and thus for the evolution of humans. Insufficient CG-H production and the resulting inappropriate implantation is associated with an unduly high incidence of pregnancy failures in humans. Low levels of CG-H and inappropriate hemochorial placentation also appear to be associated with subsequent preeclampsia. It is also of note that human CG-H drives invasion by gestational trophoblastic neoplasms that have been described only in humans.

  11. Evolution of Brain and Language

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Schoenemann, P. Thomas

    2009-01-01

    The evolution of language and the evolution of the brain are tightly interlinked. Language evolution represents a special kind of adaptation, in part because language is a complex behavior (as opposed to a physical feature) but also because changes are adaptive only to the extent that they increase either one's understanding of others, or one's…

  12. Evolution of Brain and Language

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Schoenemann, P. Thomas

    2009-01-01

    The evolution of language and the evolution of the brain are tightly interlinked. Language evolution represents a special kind of adaptation, in part because language is a complex behavior (as opposed to a physical feature) but also because changes are adaptive only to the extent that they increase either one's understanding of others, or one's…

  13. Corticalization of motor control in humans is a consequence of brain scaling in primate evolution.

    PubMed

    Herculano-Houzel, Suzana; Kaas, Jon H; de Oliveira-Souza, Ricardo

    2016-02-15

    Control over spinal and brainstem somatomotor neurons is exerted by two sets of descending fibers, corticospinal/pyramidal and extrapyramidal. Although in nonhuman primates the effect of bilateral pyramidal lesions is mostly limited to an impairment of the independent use of digits in skilled manual actions, similar injuries in humans result in the locked-in syndrome, a state of mutism and quadriplegia in which communication can be established only by residual vertical eye movements. This behavioral contrast makes humans appear to be outliers compared with other primates because of our almost total dependence on the corticospinal/pyramidal system for the effectuation of movement. Here we propose, instead, that an increasing preponderance of the corticospinal/pyramidal system over motor control is an expected consequence of increasing brain size in primates because of the faster scaling of the number of neurons in the primary motor cortex over the brainstem and spinal cord motor neuron pools, explaining the apparent uniqueness of the corticalization of motor control in humans.

  14. Molecular evolution of the human SRPX2 gene that causes brain disorders of the Rolandic and Sylvian speech areas

    PubMed Central

    Royer, Barbara; Soares, Dinesh C; Barlow, Paul N; Bontrop, Ronald E; Roll, Patrice; Robaglia-Schlupp, Andrée; Blancher, Antoine; Levasseur, Anthony; Cau, Pierre; Pontarotti, Pierre; Szepetowski, Pierre

    2007-01-01

    Background The X-linked SRPX2 gene encodes a Sushi Repeat-containing Protein of unknown function and is mutated in two disorders of the Rolandic/Sylvian speech areas. Since it is linked to defects in the functioning and the development of brain areas for speech production, SRPX2 may thus have participated in the adaptive organization of such brain regions. To address this issue, we have examined the recent molecular evolution of the SRPX2 gene. Results The complete coding region was sequenced in 24 human X chromosomes from worldwide populations and in six representative nonhuman primate species. One single, fixed amino acid change (R75K) has been specifically incorporated in human SRPX2 since the human-chimpanzee split. The R75K substitution occurred in the first sushi domain of SRPX2, only three amino acid residues away from a previously reported disease-causing mutation (Y72S). Three-dimensional structural modeling of the first sushi domain revealed that Y72 and K75 are both situated in the hypervariable loop that is usually implicated in protein-protein interactions. The side-chain of residue 75 is exposed, and is located within an unusual and SRPX-specific protruding extension to the hypervariable loop. The analysis of non-synonymous/synonymous substitution rate (Ka/Ks) ratio in primates was performed in order to test for positive selection during recent evolution. Using the branch models, the Ka/Ks ratio for the human branch was significantly different (p = 0.027) from that of the other branches. In contrast, the branch-site tests did not reach significance. Genetic analysis was also performed by sequencing 9,908 kilobases (kb) of intronic SRPX2 sequences. Despite low nucleotide diversity, neither the HKA (Hudson-Kreitman-Aguadé) test nor the Tajima's D test reached significance. Conclusion The R75K human-specific variation occurred in an important functional loop of the first sushi domain of SRPX2, indicating that this evolutionary mutation may have

  15. BEND3 is involved in the human-specific repression of calreticulin: Implication for the evolution of higher brain functions in human.

    PubMed

    Aghajanirefah, A; Nguyen, L N; Ohadi, M

    2016-01-15

    Recent emerging evidence indicates that changes in gene expression levels are linked to human evolution. We have previously reported a human-specific nucleotide in the promoter sequence of the calreticulin (CALR) gene at position -220C, which is the site of action of valproic acid. Reversion of this nucleotide to the ancestral A-allele has been detected in patients with degrees of deficit in higher brain cognitive functions. This mutation has since been reported in the 1000 genomes database at an approximate frequency of <0.0004 in humans (rs138452745). In the study reported here, we present update on the status of rs138452745 across evolution, based on the Ensembl and NCBI databases. The DNA pulldown assay was also used to identify the proteins binding to the C- and A-alleles, using two cell lines, SK-N-BE and HeLa. Consistent with our previous findings, the C-allele is human-specific, and the A-allele is the rule across all other species (N=38). This nucleotide resides in a block of 12-nucleotides that is strictly conserved across evolution. The DNA pulldown experiments revealed that in both SK-N-BE and HeLa cells, the transcription repressor BEN domain containing 3 (BEND3) binds to the human-specific C-allele, whereas the nuclear factor I (NFI) family members, NF1A, B, C, and X, specifically bind to the ancestral A-allele. This binding pattern is consistent with a previously reported decreased promoter activity of the C-allele vs. the A-allele. We propose that there is a link between binding of BEND3 to the CALR rs138452745 C-allele and removal of NFI binding site from this nucleotide, and the evolution of human-specific higher brain functions. To our knowledge, CALR rs138452745 is the first instance of enormous nucleotide conservation across evolution, except in the human species. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  16. Evolution of brain elaboration

    PubMed Central

    Farris, Sarah M.

    2015-01-01

    Large, complex brains have evolved independently in several lineages of protostomes and deuterostomes. Sensory centres in the brain increase in size and complexity in proportion to the importance of a particular sensory modality, yet often share circuit architecture because of constraints in processing sensory inputs. The selective pressures driving enlargement of higher, integrative brain centres has been more difficult to determine, and may differ across taxa. The capacity for flexible, innovative behaviours, including learning and memory and other cognitive abilities, is commonly observed in animals with large higher brain centres. Other factors, such as social grouping and interaction, appear to be important in a more limited range of taxa, while the importance of spatial learning may be a common feature in insects with large higher brain centres. Despite differences in the exact behaviours under selection, evolutionary increases in brain size tend to derive from common modifications in development and generate common architectural features, even when comparing widely divergent groups such as vertebrates and insects. These similarities may in part be influenced by the deep homology of the brains of all Bilateria, in which shared patterns of developmental gene expression give rise to positionally, and perhaps functionally, homologous domains. Other shared modifications of development appear to be the result of homoplasy, such as the repeated, independent expansion of neuroblast numbers through changes in genes regulating cell division. The common features of large brains in so many groups of animals suggest that given their common ancestry, a limited set of mechanisms exist for increasing structural and functional diversity, resulting in many instances of homoplasy in bilaterian nervous systems. PMID:26554044

  17. Evolution of brain elaboration.

    PubMed

    Farris, Sarah M

    2015-12-19

    Large, complex brains have evolved independently in several lineages of protostomes and deuterostomes. Sensory centres in the brain increase in size and complexity in proportion to the importance of a particular sensory modality, yet often share circuit architecture because of constraints in processing sensory inputs. The selective pressures driving enlargement of higher, integrative brain centres has been more difficult to determine, and may differ across taxa. The capacity for flexible, innovative behaviours, including learning and memory and other cognitive abilities, is commonly observed in animals with large higher brain centres. Other factors, such as social grouping and interaction, appear to be important in a more limited range of taxa, while the importance of spatial learning may be a common feature in insects with large higher brain centres. Despite differences in the exact behaviours under selection, evolutionary increases in brain size tend to derive from common modifications in development and generate common architectural features, even when comparing widely divergent groups such as vertebrates and insects. These similarities may in part be influenced by the deep homology of the brains of all Bilateria, in which shared patterns of developmental gene expression give rise to positionally, and perhaps functionally, homologous domains. Other shared modifications of development appear to be the result of homoplasy, such as the repeated, independent expansion of neuroblast numbers through changes in genes regulating cell division. The common features of large brains in so many groups of animals suggest that given their common ancestry, a limited set of mechanisms exist for increasing structural and functional diversity, resulting in many instances of homoplasy in bilaterian nervous systems. © 2015 The Author(s).

  18. A model for brain life history evolution.

    PubMed

    González-Forero, Mauricio; Faulwasser, Timm; Lehmann, Laurent

    2017-03-01

    Complex cognition and relatively large brains are distributed across various taxa, and many primarily verbal hypotheses exist to explain such diversity. Yet, mathematical approaches formalizing verbal hypotheses would help deepen the understanding of brain and cognition evolution. With this aim, we combine elements of life history and metabolic theories to formulate a metabolically explicit mathematical model for brain life history evolution. We assume that some of the brain's energetic expense is due to production (learning) and maintenance (memory) of energy-extraction skills (or cognitive abilities, knowledge, information, etc.). We also assume that individuals use such skills to extract energy from the environment, and can allocate this energy to grow and maintain the body, including brain and reproductive tissues. The model can be used to ask what fraction of growth energy should be allocated at each age, given natural selection, to growing brain and other tissues under various biological settings. We apply the model to find uninvadable allocation strategies under a baseline setting ("me vs nature"), namely when energy-extraction challenges are environmentally determined and are overcome individually but possibly with maternal help, and use modern-human data to estimate model's parameter values. The resulting uninvadable strategies yield predictions for brain and body mass throughout ontogeny and for the ages at maturity, adulthood, and brain growth arrest. We find that: (1) a me-vs-nature setting is enough to generate adult brain and body mass of ancient human scale and a sequence of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood stages; (2) large brains are favored by intermediately challenging environments, moderately effective skills, and metabolically expensive memory; and (3) adult skill is proportional to brain mass when metabolic costs of memory saturate the brain metabolic rate allocated to skills.

  19. A model for brain life history evolution

    PubMed Central

    Lehmann, Laurent

    2017-01-01

    Complex cognition and relatively large brains are distributed across various taxa, and many primarily verbal hypotheses exist to explain such diversity. Yet, mathematical approaches formalizing verbal hypotheses would help deepen the understanding of brain and cognition evolution. With this aim, we combine elements of life history and metabolic theories to formulate a metabolically explicit mathematical model for brain life history evolution. We assume that some of the brain’s energetic expense is due to production (learning) and maintenance (memory) of energy-extraction skills (or cognitive abilities, knowledge, information, etc.). We also assume that individuals use such skills to extract energy from the environment, and can allocate this energy to grow and maintain the body, including brain and reproductive tissues. The model can be used to ask what fraction of growth energy should be allocated at each age, given natural selection, to growing brain and other tissues under various biological settings. We apply the model to find uninvadable allocation strategies under a baseline setting (“me vs nature”), namely when energy-extraction challenges are environmentally determined and are overcome individually but possibly with maternal help, and use modern-human data to estimate model’s parameter values. The resulting uninvadable strategies yield predictions for brain and body mass throughout ontogeny and for the ages at maturity, adulthood, and brain growth arrest. We find that: (1) a me-vs-nature setting is enough to generate adult brain and body mass of ancient human scale and a sequence of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood stages; (2) large brains are favored by intermediately challenging environments, moderately effective skills, and metabolically expensive memory; and (3) adult skill is proportional to brain mass when metabolic costs of memory saturate the brain metabolic rate allocated to skills. PMID:28278153

  20. Triadic (ecological, neural, cognitive) niche construction: a scenario of human brain evolution extrapolating tool use and language from the control of reaching actions

    PubMed Central

    Iriki, Atsushi; Taoka, Miki

    2012-01-01

    Hominin evolution has involved a continuous process of addition of new kinds of cognitive capacity, including those relating to manufacture and use of tools and to the establishment of linguistic faculties. The dramatic expansion of the brain that accompanied additions of new functional areas would have supported such continuous evolution. Extended brain functions would have driven rapid and drastic changes in the hominin ecological niche, which in turn demanded further brain resources to adapt to it. In this way, humans have constructed a novel niche in each of the ecological, cognitive and neural domains, whose interactions accelerated their individual evolution through a process of triadic niche construction. Human higher cognitive activity can therefore be viewed holistically as one component in a terrestrial ecosystem. The brain's functional characteristics seem to play a key role in this triadic interaction. We advance a speculative argument about the origins of its neurobiological mechanisms, as an extension (with wider scope) of the evolutionary principles of adaptive function in the animal nervous system. The brain mechanisms that subserve tool use may bridge the gap between gesture and language—the site of such integration seems to be the parietal and extending opercular cortices. PMID:22106423

  1. Triadic (ecological, neural, cognitive) niche construction: a scenario of human brain evolution extrapolating tool use and language from the control of reaching actions.

    PubMed

    Iriki, Atsushi; Taoka, Miki

    2012-01-12

    Hominin evolution has involved a continuous process of addition of new kinds of cognitive capacity, including those relating to manufacture and use of tools and to the establishment of linguistic faculties. The dramatic expansion of the brain that accompanied additions of new functional areas would have supported such continuous evolution. Extended brain functions would have driven rapid and drastic changes in the hominin ecological niche, which in turn demanded further brain resources to adapt to it. In this way, humans have constructed a novel niche in each of the ecological, cognitive and neural domains, whose interactions accelerated their individual evolution through a process of triadic niche construction. Human higher cognitive activity can therefore be viewed holistically as one component in a terrestrial ecosystem. The brain's functional characteristics seem to play a key role in this triadic interaction. We advance a speculative argument about the origins of its neurobiological mechanisms, as an extension (with wider scope) of the evolutionary principles of adaptive function in the animal nervous system. The brain mechanisms that subserve tool use may bridge the gap between gesture and language--the site of such integration seems to be the parietal and extending opercular cortices.

  2. Evolution, brain, and the nature of language.

    PubMed

    Berwick, Robert C; Friederici, Angela D; Chomsky, Noam; Bolhuis, Johan J

    2013-02-01

    Language serves as a cornerstone for human cognition, yet much about its evolution remains puzzling. Recent research on this question parallels Darwin's attempt to explain both the unity of all species and their diversity. What has emerged from this research is that the unified nature of human language arises from a shared, species-specific computational ability. This ability has identifiable correlates in the brain and has remained fixed since the origin of language approximately 100 thousand years ago. Although songbirds share with humans a vocal imitation learning ability, with a similar underlying neural organization, language is uniquely human. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Evolution of brain and language.

    PubMed

    Schoenemann, P Thomas

    2012-01-01

    In this chapter evolutionary changes in the human brain that are relevant to language are reviewed. Most of what is known involves assessments of the relative sizes of brain regions. Overall brain size is associated with some key behavioral features relevant to language, including complexity of the social environment and the degree of conceptual complexity. Prefrontal cortical and temporal lobe areas relevant to language appear to have increased disproportionately. Areas relevant to language production and perception have changed less dramatically. The extent to which these changes were a consequence specifically of language versus other behavioral adaptations is a good question, but the process may best be viewed as a complex adaptive system, whereby cultural learning interacts with biology iteratively over time to produce language. Overall, language appears to have adapted to the human brain more so than the reverse.

  4. The relevance of brain evolution for the biomedical sciences

    PubMed Central

    Smulders, Tom V.

    2008-01-01

    Most biomedical neuroscientists realize the importance of the study of brain evolution to help them understand the differences and similarities between their animal model of choice and the human brains in which they are ultimately interested. Many think of evolution as a linear process, going from simpler brains, as those of rats, to more complex ones, as those of humans. However, in reality, every extant species' brain has undergone as long a period of evolution as has the human brain, and each brain has its own species-specific adaptations. By understanding the variety of existing brain types, we can more accurately reconstruct the brains of common ancestors, and understand which brain traits (of humans as well as other species) are derived and which are ancestral. This understanding also allows us to identify convergently evolved traits, which are crucial in formulating hypotheses about structure–function relationships in the brain. A thorough understanding of the processes and patterns of brain evolution is essential to generalizing findings from ‘model species’ to humans, which is the backbone of modern biomedical science. PMID:18940773

  5. The relevance of brain evolution for the biomedical sciences.

    PubMed

    Smulders, Tom V

    2009-02-23

    Most biomedical neuroscientists realize the importance of the study of brain evolution to help them understand the differences and similarities between their animal model of choice and the human brains in which they are ultimately interested. Many think of evolution as a linear process, going from simpler brains, as those of rats, to more complex ones, as those of humans. However, in reality, every extant species' brain has undergone as long a period of evolution as has the human brain, and each brain has its own species-specific adaptations. By understanding the variety of existing brain types, we can more accurately reconstruct the brains of common ancestors, and understand which brain traits (of humans as well as other species) are derived and which are ancestral. This understanding also allows us to identify convergently evolved traits, which are crucial in formulating hypotheses about structure-function relationships in the brain. A thorough understanding of the processes and patterns of brain evolution is essential to generalizing findings from 'model species' to humans, which is the backbone of modern biomedical science.

  6. Brain reorganization, not relative brain size, primarily characterizes anthropoid brain evolution.

    PubMed

    Smaers, J B; Soligo, C

    2013-05-22

    Comparative analyses of primate brain evolution have highlighted changes in size and internal organization as key factors underlying species diversity. It remains, however, unclear (i) how much variation in mosaic brain reorganization versus variation in relative brain size contributes to explaining the structural neural diversity observed across species, (ii) which mosaic changes contribute most to explaining diversity, and (iii) what the temporal origin, rates and processes are that underlie evolutionary shifts in mosaic reorganization for individual branches of the primate tree of life. We address these questions by combining novel comparative methods that allow assessing the temporal origin, rate and process of evolutionary changes on individual branches of the tree of life, with newly available data on volumes of key brain structures (prefrontal cortex, frontal motor areas and cerebrocerebellum) for a sample of 17 species (including humans). We identify patterns of mosaic change in brain evolution that mirror brain systems previously identified by electrophysiological and anatomical tract-tracing studies in non-human primates and functional connectivity MRI studies in humans. Across more than 40 Myr of anthropoid primate evolution, mosaic changes contribute more to explaining neural diversity than changes in relative brain size, and different mosaic patterns are differentially selected for when brains increase or decrease in size. We identify lineage-specific evolutionary specializations for all branches of the tree of life covered by our sample and demonstrate deep evolutionary roots for mosaic patterns associated with motor control and learning.

  7. Brain reorganization, not relative brain size, primarily characterizes anthropoid brain evolution

    PubMed Central

    Smaers, J. B.; Soligo, C.

    2013-01-01

    Comparative analyses of primate brain evolution have highlighted changes in size and internal organization as key factors underlying species diversity. It remains, however, unclear (i) how much variation in mosaic brain reorganization versus variation in relative brain size contributes to explaining the structural neural diversity observed across species, (ii) which mosaic changes contribute most to explaining diversity, and (iii) what the temporal origin, rates and processes are that underlie evolutionary shifts in mosaic reorganization for individual branches of the primate tree of life. We address these questions by combining novel comparative methods that allow assessing the temporal origin, rate and process of evolutionary changes on individual branches of the tree of life, with newly available data on volumes of key brain structures (prefrontal cortex, frontal motor areas and cerebrocerebellum) for a sample of 17 species (including humans). We identify patterns of mosaic change in brain evolution that mirror brain systems previously identified by electrophysiological and anatomical tract-tracing studies in non-human primates and functional connectivity MRI studies in humans. Across more than 40 Myr of anthropoid primate evolution, mosaic changes contribute more to explaining neural diversity than changes in relative brain size, and different mosaic patterns are differentially selected for when brains increase or decrease in size. We identify lineage-specific evolutionary specializations for all branches of the tree of life covered by our sample and demonstrate deep evolutionary roots for mosaic patterns associated with motor control and learning. PMID:23536600

  8. The evolution of the frontal lobes: a volumetric analysis based on three-dimensional reconstructions of magnetic resonance scans of human and ape brains.

    PubMed

    Semendeferi, K; Damasio, H; Frank, R; Van Hoesen, G W

    1997-04-01

    Scenarios regarding the evolution of cognitive function in hominids depend largely on our understanding of the organization of the frontal lobes in extant humans and apes. The frontal lobe is involved in functions such as creative thinking, planning of future actions, decision making, artistic expression, aspects of emotional behavior, as well as working memory, language and motor control. It is often claimed that the frontal lobe is disproportionately larger in humans than in other species, but conflicting reports exist on this issue. The brain of the apes in particular remains largely unknown. In this report we measure the volume of the frontal lobe as a whole and of its main sectors (including cortex and immediately underlying white matter) in living humans, and in post-mortem brains of the chimpanzee, gorilla, orang-utan, gibbon and the macaque using three-dimensional reconstructions of magnetic resonance (MR) scans of the brain. On the basis of these data we suggest that although the absolute volume of the brain and the frontal lobe is largest in humans, the relative size of the frontal lobe is similar across hominoids, and that humans do not have a larger frontal lobe than expected from a primate brain of the human size. We also report that the relative size of the sectors of the frontal lobe (dorsal, mesial, orbital) is similar across the primate species studied. Our conclusions are preliminary, because the size of our sample, although larger than in previous studies, still remains small. With this caveat we conclude that the overall volume of the frontal lobe in hominids enlarged in absolute size along with the rest of the brain, but did not become relatively larger after the split of the human line from the ancestral African hominoid stock. Aspects other than relative volume of the frontal lobe have to be responsible for the cognitive specializations of the hominids.

  9. Human Augmentics: augmenting human evolution.

    PubMed

    Kenyon, Robert V; Leigh, Jason

    2011-01-01

    Human Augmentics (HA) refers to technologies for expanding the capabilities, and characteristics of humans. One can think of Human Augmentics as the driving force in the non-biological evolution of humans. HA devices will provide technology to compensate for human biological limitations either natural or acquired. The strengths of HA lie in its applicability to all humans. Its interoperability enables the formation of ecosystems whereby augmented humans can draw from other realms such as "the Cloud" and other augmented humans for strength. The exponential growth in new technologies portends such a system but must be designed for interaction through the use of open-standards and open-APIs for system development. We discuss the conditions needed for HA to flourish with an emphasis on devices that provide non-biological rehabilitation.

  10. The role of docosahexaenoic and the marine food web as determinants of evolution and hominid brain development: the challenge for human sustainability.

    PubMed

    Crawford, Michael A; Broadhurst, C Leigh

    2012-01-01

    Life originated on this planet about 3 billion years ago. For the first 2.5 billion years of life there was ample opportunity for DNA modification. Yet there is no evidence of significant change in life forms during that time. It was not until about 600 million years ago, when the oxygen tension rose to a point where air-breathing life forms became thermodynamically possible, that a major change can be abruptly seen in the fossil record. The sudden appearance of the 32 phyla in the Cambrian fossil record was also associated with the appearance of intracellular detail not seen in previous life forms. That detail was provided by cell membranes made with lipids (membrane fats) as structural essentials. Lipids thus played a major, as yet unrecognised, role as determinants in evolution. The compartmentalisation of intracellular, specialist functions as in the nucleus, mitochondria, reticulo-endothelial system and plasma membrane led to cellular specialisation and then speciation. Thus, not only oxygen but also the marine lipids were drivers in the Cambrian explosion. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (all-cis-docosa-4,7,10,13,16,19-hexaenoic acid, C22:6ω3 or C22:6, n-3, DHA) is a major feature of marine lipids. It requires six oxygen atoms to insert its six double bonds, so it would not have been abundant before oxidative metabolism became plentiful. DHA provided the membrane backbone for the emergence of new photoreceptors that converted photons into electricity, laying the foundation for the evolution of other signalling systems, the nervous system and the brain. Hence, the ω3 DHA from the marine food web must have played a critical role in human evolution. There is also clear evidence from molecular biology that DHA is a determinant of neuronal migration, neurogenesis and the expression of several genes involved in brain growth and function. That same process was essential to the ultimate cerebral expansion in human evolution. There is now incontrovertible support of this

  11. The Evolution of Human Handedness

    PubMed Central

    Smaers, Jeroen B; Steele, James; Case, Charleen R; Amunts, Katrin

    2013-01-01

    There is extensive evidence for an early vertebrate origin of lateralized motor behavior and of related asymmetries in underlying brain systems. We investigate human lateralized motor functioning in a broad comparative context of evolutionary neural reorganization. We quantify evolutionary trends in the fronto-cerebellar system (involved in motor learning) across 46 million years of divergent primate evolution by comparing rates of evolution of prefrontal cortex, frontal motor cortex, and posterior cerebellar hemispheres along individual branches of the primate tree of life. We provide a detailed evolutionary model of the neuroanatomical changes leading to modern human lateralized motor functioning, demonstrating an increased role for the fronto-cerebellar system in the apes dating to their evolutionary divergence from the monkeys (∼30 million years ago (Mya)), and a subsequent shift toward an increased role for prefrontal cortex over frontal motor cortex in the fronto-cerebellar system in the Homo-Pan ancestral lineage (∼10 Mya) and in the human ancestral lineage (∼6 Mya). We discuss these results in the context of cortico-cerebellar functions and their likely role in the evolution of human tool use and speech. PMID:23647442

  12. Adaptive evolution of four microcephaly genes and the evolution of brain size in anthropoid primates.

    PubMed

    Montgomery, Stephen H; Capellini, Isabella; Venditti, Chris; Barton, Robert A; Mundy, Nicholas I

    2011-01-01

    The anatomical basis and adaptive function of the expansion in primate brain size have long been studied; however, we are only beginning to understand the genetic basis of these evolutionary changes. Genes linked to human primary microcephaly have received much attention as they have accelerated evolutionary rates along lineages leading to humans. However, these studies focus narrowly on apes, and the link between microcephaly gene evolution and brain evolution is disputed. We analyzed the molecular evolution of four genes associated with microcephaly (ASPM, CDK5RAP2, CENPJ, MCPH1) across 21 species representing all major clades of anthropoid primates. Contrary to prevailing assumptions, positive selection was not limited to or intensified along the lineage leading to humans. In fact we show that all four loci were subject to positive selection across the anthropoid primate phylogeny. We developed clearly defined hypotheses to explicitly test if selection on these loci was associated with the evolution of brain size. We found positive relationships between both CDK5RAP2 and ASPM and neonatal brain mass and somewhat weaker relationships between these genes and adult brain size. In contrast, there is no evidence linking CENPJ and MCPH1 to brain size evolution. The stronger association of ASPM and CDK5RAP2 evolution with neonatal brain size than with adult brain size is consistent with these loci having a direct effect on prenatal neuronal proliferation. These results suggest that primate brain size may have at least a partially conserved genetic basis. Our results contradict a previous study that linked adaptive evolution of ASPM to changes in relative cortex size; however, our analysis indicates that this conclusion is not robust. Our finding that the coding regions of two widely expressed loci has experienced pervasive positive selection in relation to a complex, quantitative developmental phenotype provides a notable counterexample to the commonly asserted

  13. The aging brain: the cognitive reserve hypothesis and hominid evolution.

    PubMed

    Allen, John S; Bruss, Joel; Damasio, Hanna

    2005-01-01

    Compared to other primates, humans live a long time and have large brains. Recent theories of the evolution of human life history stages (grandmother hypothesis, intergenerational transfer of information) lend credence to the notion that selection for increased life span and menopause has occurred in hominid evolution, despite the reduction in the force of natural selection operating on older, especially post-reproductive, individuals. Theories that posit the importance (in an inclusive fitness sense) of the survival of older individuals require them to maintain a reasonably high level of cognitive function (e.g., memory, communication). Patterns of brain aging and factors associated with healthy brain aging should be relevant to this issue. Recent neuroimaging research suggests that, in healthy aging, human brain volume (gray and white matter) is well-maintained until at least 60 years of age; cognitive function also shows only nonsignificant declines at this age. The maintenance of brain volume and cognitive performance is consistent with the idea of a significant post- or late-reproductive life history stage. A clinical model, "the cognitive reserve hypothesis," proposes that both increased brain volume and enhanced cognitive ability may contribute to healthy brain aging, reducing the likelihood of developing dementia. Selection for increased brain size and increased cognitive ability in hominid evolution may therefore have been important in selection for increased lifespan in the context of intergenerational social support networks.

  14. Evolution and human sexuality.

    PubMed

    Gray, Peter B

    2013-12-01

    The aim of this review is to put core features of human sexuality in an evolutionary light. Toward that end, I address five topics concerning the evolution of human sexuality. First, I address theoretical foundations, including recent critiques and developments. While much traces back to Darwin and his view of sexual selection, more recent work helps refine the theoretical bases to sex differences and life history allocations to mating effort. Second, I consider central models attempting to specify the phylogenetic details regarding how hominin sexuality might have changed, with most of those models honing in on transitions from a possible chimpanzee-like ancestor to the slightly polygynous and long-term bonded sociosexual partnerships observed among most recently studied hunter-gatherers. Third, I address recent genetic and physiological data contributing to a refined understanding of human sexuality. As examples, the availability of rapidly increasing genomic information aids comparative approaches to discern signals of selection in sexuality-related phenotypes, and neuroendocrine studies of human responses to sexual stimuli provide insight into homologous and derived mechanisms. Fourth, I consider some of the most recent, large, and rigorous studies of human sexuality. These provide insights into sexual behavior across other national samples and on the Internet. Fifth, I discuss the relevance of a life course perspective to understanding the evolution of human sexuality. Most research on the evolution of human sexuality focuses on young adults. Yet humans are sexual beings from gestation to death, albeit in different ways across the life course, and in ways that can be theoretically couched within life history theory. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  15. The study of evolution and depression of the alpha-rhythm in the human brain EEG by means of wavelet-based methods

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Runnova, A. E.; Zhuravlev, M. O.; Khramova, M. V.; Pysarchik, A. N.

    2017-04-01

    We study the appearance, development and depression of the alpha-rhythm in human EEG data during a psychophysiological experiment by stimulating cognitive activity with the perception of ambiguous object. The new method based on continuous wavelet transform allows to estimate the energy contribution of various components, including the alpha rhythm, in the general dynamics of the electrical activity of the projections of various areas of the brain. The decision-making process by observe ambiguous images is characterized by specific oscillatory alfa-rhytm patterns in the multi-channel EEG data. We have shown the repeatability of detected principles of the alpha-rhythm evolution in a data of group of 12 healthy male volunteers.

  16. Matching behavioral evolution to brain morphology.

    PubMed

    Legendre, P; Lapointe, F J

    1995-01-01

    A method is presented to test the relationship between a phylogenetic tree derived from brain morphology, and different hypotheses describing the evolution of a behavioral trait. This is a question of interest for evolutionary psychologists and behavioral biologists. The paper first discusses how hypotheses for behavioral evolution should be coded for such a comparison, then a triple-per-mutation test, originally proposed to compare independently obtained evolutionary trees, is used for the statistical assessment of each hypothesis. Non-parametric correlation coefficients computed between brain components and appropriately coded behavioral states can then be used to suggest what brain components are responsible for the development of the various states of the behavioral trait of interest. The procedure is illustrated with three different applications relating brain evolution to habitat selection in marsupials, locomotory specialization in primates, and trophic adaptation in bats.

  17. Reconstructing cetacean brain evolution using computed tomography.

    PubMed

    Marino, Lori; Uhen, Mark D; Pyenson, Nicholas D; Frohlich, Bruno

    2003-05-01

    Until recently, there have been relatively few studies of brain mass and morphology in fossil cetaceans (dolphins, whales, and porpoises) because of difficulty accessing the matrix that fills the endocranial cavity of fossil cetacean skulls. As a result, our knowledge about cetacean brain evolution has been quite limited. By applying the noninvasive technique of computed tomography (CT) to visualize, measure, and reconstruct the endocranial morphology of fossil cetacean skulls, we can gain vastly more information at an unprecedented rate about cetacean brain evolution. Here, we discuss our method and demonstrate it with several examples from our fossil cetacean database. This approach will provide new insights into the little-known evolutionary history of cetacean brain evolution.

  18. Visual specialization and brain evolution in primates.

    PubMed Central

    Barton, R A

    1998-01-01

    Several theories have been proposed to explain the evolution of species differences in brain size, but no consensus has emerged. One unresolved question is whether brain size differences are a result of neural specializations or of biological constraints affecting the whole brain. Here I show that, among primates, brain size variation is associated with visual specialization. Primates with large brains for their body size have relatively expanded visual brain areas, including the primary visual cortex and lateral geniculate nucleus. Within the visual system, it is, in particular, one functionally specialized pathway upon which selection has acted: evolutionary changes in the number of neurons in parvocellular, but not magnocellular, layers of the lateral geniculate nucleus are correlated with changes in both brain size and ecological variables (diet and social group size). Given the known functions of the parvocellular pathway, these results suggest that the relatively large brains of frugivorous species are products of selection on the ability to perceive and select fruits using specific visual cues such as colour. The separate correlation between group size and visual brain evolution, on the other hand, may indicate the visual basis of social information processing in the primate brain. PMID:9821360

  19. Functional craniology and brain evolution: from paleontology to biomedicine.

    PubMed

    Bruner, Emiliano; de la Cuétara, José Manuel; Masters, Michael; Amano, Hideki; Ogihara, Naomichi

    2014-01-01

    Anatomical systems are organized through a network of structural and functional relationships among their elements. This network of relationships is the result of evolution, it represents the actual target of selection, and it generates the set of rules orienting and constraining the morphogenetic processes. Understanding the relationship among cranial and cerebral components is necessary to investigate the factors that have influenced and characterized our neuroanatomy, and possible drawbacks associated with the evolution of large brains. The study of the spatial relationships between skull and brain in the human genus has direct relevance in cranial surgery. Geometrical modeling can provide functional perspectives in evolution and brain physiology, like in simulations to investigate metabolic heat production and dissipation in the endocranial form. Analysis of the evolutionary constraints between facial and neural blocks can provide new information on visual impairment. The study of brain form variation in fossil humans can supply a different perspective for interpreting the processes behind neurodegeneration and Alzheimer's disease. Following these examples, it is apparent that paleontology and biomedicine can exchange relevant information and contribute at the same time to the development of robust evolutionary hypotheses on brain evolution, while offering more comprehensive biological perspectives with regard to the interpretation of pathological processes.

  20. Functional craniology and brain evolution: from paleontology to biomedicine

    PubMed Central

    Bruner, Emiliano; de la Cuétara, José Manuel; Masters, Michael; Amano, Hideki; Ogihara, Naomichi

    2014-01-01

    Anatomical systems are organized through a network of structural and functional relationships among their elements. This network of relationships is the result of evolution, it represents the actual target of selection, and it generates the set of rules orienting and constraining the morphogenetic processes. Understanding the relationship among cranial and cerebral components is necessary to investigate the factors that have influenced and characterized our neuroanatomy, and possible drawbacks associated with the evolution of large brains. The study of the spatial relationships between skull and brain in the human genus has direct relevance in cranial surgery. Geometrical modeling can provide functional perspectives in evolution and brain physiology, like in simulations to investigate metabolic heat production and dissipation in the endocranial form. Analysis of the evolutionary constraints between facial and neural blocks can provide new information on visual impairment. The study of brain form variation in fossil humans can supply a different perspective for interpreting the processes behind neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s disease. Following these examples, it is apparent that paleontology and biomedicine can exchange relevant information and contribute at the same time to the development of robust evolutionary hypotheses on brain evolution, while offering more comprehensive biological perspectives with regard to the interpretation of pathological processes. PMID:24765064

  1. Diffusion tensor imaging reveals evolution of primate brain architectures.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Degang; Guo, Lei; Zhu, Dajiang; Li, Kaiming; Li, Longchuan; Chen, Hanbo; Zhao, Qun; Hu, Xiaoping; Liu, Tianming

    2013-11-01

    Evolution of the brain has been an inherently interesting problem for centuries. Recent studies have indicated that neuroimaging is a powerful technique for studying brain evolution. In particular, a variety of reports have demonstrated that consistent white matter fiber connection patterns derived from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tractography reveal common brain architecture and are predictive of brain functions. In this paper, based on our recently discovered 358 dense individualized and common connectivity-based cortical landmarks (DICCCOL) defined by consistent fiber connection patterns in DTI datasets of human brains, we derived 65 DICCCOLs that are common in macaque monkey, chimpanzee and human brains and 175 DICCCOLs that exhibit significant discrepancies amongst these three primate species. Qualitative and quantitative evaluations not only demonstrated the consistencies of anatomical locations and structural fiber connection patterns of these 65 common DICCCOLs across three primates, suggesting an evolutionarily preserved common brain architecture but also revealed regional patterns of evolutionarily induced complexity and variability of those 175 discrepant DICCCOLs across the three species.

  2. Diffusion Tensor Imaging Reveals Evolution of Primate Brain Architectures

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Degang; Guo, Lei; Zhu, Dajiang; Li, Kaiming; Li, Longchuan; Chen, Hanbo; Zhao, Qun; Hu, Xiaoping; Liu, Tianming

    2013-01-01

    Evolution of the brain has been an inherently interesting problem for centuries. Recent studies have indicated that neuroimaging is a powerful technique for studying brain evolution. In particular, a variety of reports have demonstrated that consistent white matter fiber connection patterns derived from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tractography reveal common brain architecture and are predictive of brain functions. In this paper, based on our recently discovered 358 Dense Individualized and Common Connectivity-based Cortical Landmarks (DICCCOL) defined by consistent fiber connection patterns in DTI datasets of human brains, we derived 65 DICCCOLs that are common in macaque monkey, chimpanzee and human brains and 175 DICCCOLs that exhibit significant discrepancies amongst these three primate species. Qualitative and quantitative evaluations not only demonstrated the consistencies of anatomical locations and structural fiber connection patterns of these 65 common DICCCOLs across three primates, suggesting an evolutionarily-preserved common brain architecture, but also revealed regional patterns of evolutionarily-induced complexity and variability of those 175 discrepant DICCCOLs across the three species. PMID:23135357

  3. Evolution of brain imaging instrumentation.

    PubMed

    Abraham, Tony; Feng, Janine

    2011-05-01

    Computed tomography (CT) and static magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are now the most common imaging modalities used for anatomic evaluation of pathologic processes affecting the brain. By contrast, radionuclide-based methods, including planar imaging, single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and positron emission tomography (PET), are the most widely used methods for evaluating brain function. SPECT and PET have been evolving for a longer time than CT and MRI and have made significant contributions to understanding brain function. The pioneering work on cerebral flow early in the last century laid the foundation of measurement with radioactive gases. This was initially performed with scintillation counters, which gave way to single, then multiple scintillation and multiprobe detectors. The invention of rectilinear scanners, MARK series, Anger cameras, and SPECT imaging further advanced nuclear medicine's role in brain imaging. Measurement of regional cerebral blood flow by SPECT provides pathophysiologic information that directs patient management in a variety of central nervous disorders (CNS), with the greatest clinical impact found in cerebrovascular disease and seizure disorder. In the former, SPECT not only provides means of early detection and localization of acute strokes but can also direct thrombolysis and determine prognosis in the postcerebrovascular accident period. With respect to the latter, ictal SPECT can localize seizure foci so that patients with refractory disease can potentially undergo surgical resection of the affected area. In contrast to brain SPECT, brain PET images reflect regional cerebral metabolism. Because of neurovascular coupling, findings on SPECT and PET images are often comparable. PET, however, still has improved spatial resolution and is therefore more sensitive than SPECT, particularly in the evaluation of dementias. Brain PET instrumentation has greatly evolved from its infancy, when it was used in regional

  4. MCPH1: a window into brain development and evolution

    PubMed Central

    Pulvers, Jeremy N.; Journiac, Nathalie; Arai, Yoko; Nardelli, Jeannette

    2015-01-01

    The development of the mammalian cerebral cortex involves a series of mechanisms: from patterning, progenitor cell proliferation and differentiation, to neuronal migration. Many factors influence the development of the cerebral cortex to its normal size and neuronal composition. Of these, the mechanisms that influence the proliferation and differentiation of neural progenitor cells are of particular interest, as they may have the greatest consequence on brain size, not only during development but also in evolution. In this context, causative genes of human autosomal recessive primary microcephaly, such as ASPM and MCPH1, are attractive candidates, as many of them show positive selection during primate evolution. MCPH1 causes microcephaly in mice and humans and is involved in a diverse array of molecular functions beyond brain development, including DNA repair and chromosome condensation. Positive selection of MCPH1 in the primate lineage has led to much insight and discussion of its role in brain size evolution. In this review, we will present an overview of MCPH1 from these multiple angles, and whilst its specific role in brain size regulation during development and evolution remain elusive, the pieces of the puzzle will be discussed with the aim of putting together the full picture of this fascinating gene. PMID:25870538

  5. MCPH1: a window into brain development and evolution.

    PubMed

    Pulvers, Jeremy N; Journiac, Nathalie; Arai, Yoko; Nardelli, Jeannette

    2015-01-01

    The development of the mammalian cerebral cortex involves a series of mechanisms: from patterning, progenitor cell proliferation and differentiation, to neuronal migration. Many factors influence the development of the cerebral cortex to its normal size and neuronal composition. Of these, the mechanisms that influence the proliferation and differentiation of neural progenitor cells are of particular interest, as they may have the greatest consequence on brain size, not only during development but also in evolution. In this context, causative genes of human autosomal recessive primary microcephaly, such as ASPM and MCPH1, are attractive candidates, as many of them show positive selection during primate evolution. MCPH1 causes microcephaly in mice and humans and is involved in a diverse array of molecular functions beyond brain development, including DNA repair and chromosome condensation. Positive selection of MCPH1 in the primate lineage has led to much insight and discussion of its role in brain size evolution. In this review, we will present an overview of MCPH1 from these multiple angles, and whilst its specific role in brain size regulation during development and evolution remain elusive, the pieces of the puzzle will be discussed with the aim of putting together the full picture of this fascinating gene.

  6. Genetics and recent human evolution.

    PubMed

    Templeton, Alan R

    2007-07-01

    Starting with "mitochondrial Eve" in 1987, genetics has played an increasingly important role in studies of the last two million years of human evolution. It initially appeared that genetic data resolved the basic models of recent human evolution in favor of the "out-of-Africa replacement" hypothesis in which anatomically modern humans evolved in Africa about 150,000 years ago, started to spread throughout the world about 100,000 years ago, and subsequently drove to complete genetic extinction (replacement) all other human populations in Eurasia. Unfortunately, many of the genetic studies on recent human evolution have suffered from scientific flaws, including misrepresenting the models of recent human evolution, focusing upon hypothesis compatibility rather than hypothesis testing, committing the ecological fallacy, and failing to consider a broader array of alternative hypotheses. Once these flaws are corrected, there is actually little genetic support for the out-of-Africa replacement hypothesis. Indeed, when genetic data are used in a hypothesis-testing framework, the out-of-Africa replacement hypothesis is strongly rejected. The model of recent human evolution that emerges from a statistical hypothesis-testing framework does not correspond to any of the traditional models of human evolution, but it is compatible with fossil and archaeological data. These studies also reveal that any one gene or DNA region captures only a small part of human evolutionary history, so multilocus studies are essential. As more and more loci became available, genetics will undoubtedly offer additional insights and resolutions of human evolution.

  7. Epigenetics, brain evolution and behaviour.

    PubMed

    Keverne, Eric B; Curley, James P

    2008-06-01

    Molecular modifications to the structure of histone proteins and DNA (chromatin) play a significant role in regulating the transcription of genes without altering their nucleotide sequence. Certain epigenetic modifications to DNA are heritable in the form of genomic imprinting, whereby subsets of genes are silenced according to parent-of-origin. This form of gene regulation is primarily under matrilineal control and has evolved partly to co-ordinate in-utero development with maternal resource availability. Changes to epigenetic mechanisms in post-mitotic neurons may also be activated during development in response to environmental stimuli such as maternal care and social interactions. This results in long-lasting stable, or short-term dynamic, changes to the neuronal phenotype producing long-term behavioural consequences. Use of evolutionary conserved mechanisms have thus been adapted to modify the control of gene expression and embryonic growth of the brain as well as allowing for plastic changes in the post-natal brain in response to external environmental and social cues.

  8. Morphology and histology of chimpanzee primary visual striate cortex indicate that brain reorganization predated brain expansion in early hominid evolution.

    PubMed

    Holloway, Ralph L; Broadfield, Douglas C; Yuan, Michael S

    2003-07-01

    Human brain evolution is characterized by an overall increase in brain size, cerebral reorganization, and cerebral lateralization. It is generally understood when brain enlargement occurred during human evolution. However, issues concerning cerebral reorganization and hemispheric lateralization are more difficult to determine from brain endocasts, and they are topics of considerable debate. One region of the cerebral cortex that may represent the earliest evidence for brain reorganization is the primary visual cortex (PVC), or area 17 of Brodmann. In nonhuman primates, this region is larger in volume (demarcated anteriorly by the lunate sulcus), and extends further rostrally than it does in modern humans. In early hominid fossil (Australopithecus) endocasts, this region appears to occupy a smaller area compared to that in nonhuman primates. Some have argued that the brain first underwent size expansion prior to reorganization, while others maintain that reorganization predated brain expansion. To help resolve this question, we provide a description of two male, common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) brains, YN77-111 and YN92-115, which clearly display a more posterior lunate sulcal morphology than seen in other chimpanzees. These data show that neurogenetic variability exists in chimpanzees, and that significant differences in organization (e.g., a reduced PVC) can predate brain enlargement. While the human brain has experienced numerous expansion and reorganization events throughout evolution, the data from these two chimpanzees offer significant support for the hypothesis that the neurogenetic basis for brain reorganization was present in our early fossil ancestors (i.e., the australopithecines) prior to brain enlargement.

  9. Functional mastery of percussive technology in nut-cracking and stone-flaking actions: experimental comparison and implications for the evolution of the human brain.

    PubMed

    Bril, Blandine; Smaers, Jeroen; Steele, James; Rein, Robert; Nonaka, Tetsushi; Dietrich, Gilles; Biryukova, Elena; Hirata, Satoshi; Roux, Valentine

    2012-01-12

    Various authors have suggested behavioural similarities between tool use in early hominins and chimpanzee nut cracking, where nut cracking might be interpreted as a precursor of more complex stone flaking. In this paper, we bring together and review two separate strands of research on chimpanzee and human tool use and cognitive abilities. Firstly, and in the greatest detail, we review our recent experimental work on behavioural organization and skill acquisition in nut-cracking and stone-knapping tasks, highlighting similarities and differences between the two tasks that may be informative for the interpretation of stone tools in the early archaeological record. Secondly, and more briefly, we outline a model of the comparative neuropsychology of primate tool use and discuss recent descriptive anatomical and statistical analyses of anthropoid primate brain evolution, focusing on cortico-cerebellar systems. By juxtaposing these two strands of research, we are able to identify unsolved problems that can usefully be addressed by future research in each of these two research areas.

  10. Functional mastery of percussive technology in nut-cracking and stone-flaking actions: experimental comparison and implications for the evolution of the human brain

    PubMed Central

    Bril, Blandine; Smaers, Jeroen; Steele, James; Rein, Robert; Nonaka, Tetsushi; Dietrich, Gilles; Biryukova, Elena; Hirata, Satoshi; Roux, Valentine

    2012-01-01

    Various authors have suggested behavioural similarities between tool use in early hominins and chimpanzee nut cracking, where nut cracking might be interpreted as a precursor of more complex stone flaking. In this paper, we bring together and review two separate strands of research on chimpanzee and human tool use and cognitive abilities. Firstly, and in the greatest detail, we review our recent experimental work on behavioural organization and skill acquisition in nut-cracking and stone-knapping tasks, highlighting similarities and differences between the two tasks that may be informative for the interpretation of stone tools in the early archaeological record. Secondly, and more briefly, we outline a model of the comparative neuropsychology of primate tool use and discuss recent descriptive anatomical and statistical analyses of anthropoid primate brain evolution, focusing on cortico-cerebellar systems. By juxtaposing these two strands of research, we are able to identify unsolved problems that can usefully be addressed by future research in each of these two research areas. PMID:22106427

  11. Reconstructing recent human evolution.

    PubMed

    Stringer, C B

    1992-08-29

    The two most distinct models of recent human evolution, the multiregional and the recent African origin models, have different retrodictions concerning specific archaic-recent population relationships. The former model infers multiple regional archaic-modern connections and the ancient establishment of regional characteristics, whereas the latter model implies only an African archaic-all modern relationship, with recent (late Pleistocene) development of regionality. In this paper, four late archaic groups from Europe, southwest Asia, Africa and East Asia are compared with various fossil and recent Homo sapiens crania or cranial samples. The results of Penrose shape comparisons narrowly favour a late archaic African-modern special relationship over an East Asian-modern one, with European and southwest Asian Neanderthal groups much more distant. No specific archaic-recent regional relationships are indicated in the shape analyses, nor in separate examinations of patterns of regionality, which indicate a recent origin for present day regionality. The Skhul-Qafzeh sample provides an excellent shape intermediate between the archaic and recent samples.

  12. Spectral properties of the temporal evolution of brain network structure.

    PubMed

    Wang, Rong; Zhang, Zhen-Zhen; Ma, Jun; Yang, Yong; Lin, Pan; Wu, Ying

    2015-12-01

    The temporal evolution properties of the brain network are crucial for complex brain processes. In this paper, we investigate the differences in the dynamic brain network during resting and visual stimulation states in a task-positive subnetwork, task-negative subnetwork, and whole-brain network. The dynamic brain network is first constructed from human functional magnetic resonance imaging data based on the sliding window method, and then the eigenvalues corresponding to the network are calculated. We use eigenvalue analysis to analyze the global properties of eigenvalues and the random matrix theory (RMT) method to measure the local properties. For global properties, the shifting of the eigenvalue distribution and the decrease in the largest eigenvalue are linked to visual stimulation in all networks. For local properties, the short-range correlation in eigenvalues as measured by the nearest neighbor spacing distribution is not always sensitive to visual stimulation. However, the long-range correlation in eigenvalues as evaluated by spectral rigidity and number variance not only predicts the universal behavior of the dynamic brain network but also suggests non-consistent changes in different networks. These results demonstrate that the dynamic brain network is more random for the task-positive subnetwork and whole-brain network under visual stimulation but is more regular for the task-negative subnetwork. Our findings provide deeper insight into the importance of spectral properties in the functional brain network, especially the incomparable role of RMT in revealing the intrinsic properties of complex systems.

  13. Spectral properties of the temporal evolution of brain network structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Rong; Zhang, Zhen-Zhen; Ma, Jun; Yang, Yong; Lin, Pan; Wu, Ying

    2015-12-01

    The temporal evolution properties of the brain network are crucial for complex brain processes. In this paper, we investigate the differences in the dynamic brain network during resting and visual stimulation states in a task-positive subnetwork, task-negative subnetwork, and whole-brain network. The dynamic brain network is first constructed from human functional magnetic resonance imaging data based on the sliding window method, and then the eigenvalues corresponding to the network are calculated. We use eigenvalue analysis to analyze the global properties of eigenvalues and the random matrix theory (RMT) method to measure the local properties. For global properties, the shifting of the eigenvalue distribution and the decrease in the largest eigenvalue are linked to visual stimulation in all networks. For local properties, the short-range correlation in eigenvalues as measured by the nearest neighbor spacing distribution is not always sensitive to visual stimulation. However, the long-range correlation in eigenvalues as evaluated by spectral rigidity and number variance not only predicts the universal behavior of the dynamic brain network but also suggests non-consistent changes in different networks. These results demonstrate that the dynamic brain network is more random for the task-positive subnetwork and whole-brain network under visual stimulation but is more regular for the task-negative subnetwork. Our findings provide deeper insight into the importance of spectral properties in the functional brain network, especially the incomparable role of RMT in revealing the intrinsic properties of complex systems.

  14. On the Evolution of the Mammalian Brain

    PubMed Central

    Torday, John S.; Miller, William B.

    2016-01-01

    Hobson and Friston have hypothesized that the brain must actively dissipate heat in order to process information (Hobson et al., 2014). This physiologic trait is functionally homologous with the first instantation of life formed by lipids suspended in water forming micelles- allowing the reduction in entropy (heat dissipation). This circumvents the Second Law of Thermodynamics permitting the transfer of information between living entities, enabling them to perpetually glean information from the environment, that is felt by many to correspond to evolution per se. The next evolutionary milestone was the advent of cholesterol, embedded in the cell membranes of primordial eukaryotes, facilitating metabolism, oxygenation and locomotion, the triadic basis for vertebrate evolution. Lipids were key to homeostatic regulation of calcium, forming calcium channels. Cell membrane cholesterol also fostered metazoan evolution by forming lipid rafts for receptor-mediated cell-cell signaling, the origin of the endocrine system. The eukaryotic cell membrane exapted to all complex physiologic traits, including the lung and brain, which are molecularly homologous through the function of neuregulin, mediating both lung development and myelinization of neurons. That cooption later exapted as endothermy during the water-land transition (Torday, 2015a), perhaps being the functional homolog for brain heat dissipation and conscious/mindful information processing. The skin and brain similarly share molecular homologies through the “skin-brain” hypothesis, giving insight to the cellular-molecular “arc” of consciousness from its unicellular origins to integrated physiology. This perspective on the evolution of the central nervous system clarifies self-organization, reconciling thermodynamic and informational definitions of the underlying biophysical mechanisms, thereby elucidating relations between the predictive capabilities of the brain and self-organizational processes. PMID

  15. Evolution of ASPM is associated with both increases and decreases in brain size in primates.

    PubMed

    Montgomery, Stephen H; Mundy, Nicholas I

    2012-03-01

    A fundamental trend during primate evolution has been the expansion of brain size. However, this trend was reversed in the Callitrichidae (marmosets and tamarins), which have secondarily evolved smaller brains associated with a reduction in body size. The recent pursuit of the genetic basis of brain size evolution has largely focused on episodes of brain expansion, but new insights may be gained by investigating episodes of brain size reduction. Previous results suggest two genes (ASPM and CDK5RAP2) associated with microcephaly, a human neurodevelopmental disorder, may have an evolutionary function in primate brain expansion. Here we use new sequences encoding key functional domains from 12 species of callitrichids to show that positive selection has acted on ASPM across callitrichid evolution and the rate of ASPM evolution is significantly negatively correlated with callitrichid brain size, whereas the evolution of CDK5RAP2 shows no correlation with brain size. Our findings strongly suggest that ASPM has a previously unsuspected role in the evolution of small brains in primates. ASPM is therefore intimately linked to both evolutionary increases and decreases in brain size in anthropoids and is a key target for natural selection acting on brain size. © 2011 The Author(s). Evolution© 2011 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  16. Major transitions in human evolution.

    PubMed

    Foley, Robert A; Martin, Lawrence; Mirazón Lahr, Marta; Stringer, Chris

    2016-07-05

    Evolutionary problems are often considered in terms of 'origins', and research in human evolution seen as a search for human origins. However, evolution, including human evolution, is a process of transitions from one state to another, and so questions are best put in terms of understanding the nature of those transitions. This paper discusses how the contributions to the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution' throw light on the pattern of change in hominin evolution. Four questions are addressed: (1) Is there a major divide between early (australopithecine) and later (Homo) evolution? (2) Does the pattern of change fit a model of short transformations, or gradual evolution? (3) Why is the role of Africa so prominent? (4) How are different aspects of adaptation-genes, phenotypes and behaviour-integrated across the transitions? The importance of developing technologies and approaches and the enduring role of fieldwork are emphasized.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'. © 2016 The Author(s).

  17. Educating the Human Brain. Human Brain Development Series

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Posner, Michael I.; Rothbart, Mary K.

    2006-01-01

    "Educating the Human Brain" is the product of a quarter century of research. This book provides an empirical account of the early development of attention and self regulation in infants and young children. It examines the brain areas involved in regulatory networks, their connectivity, and how their development is influenced by genes and…

  18. Educating the Human Brain. Human Brain Development Series

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Posner, Michael I.; Rothbart, Mary K.

    2006-01-01

    "Educating the Human Brain" is the product of a quarter century of research. This book provides an empirical account of the early development of attention and self regulation in infants and young children. It examines the brain areas involved in regulatory networks, their connectivity, and how their development is influenced by genes and…

  19. Darwin's evolution theory, brain oscillations, and complex brain function in a new "Cartesian view".

    PubMed

    Başar, Erol; Güntekin, Bahar

    2009-01-01

    Comparatively analyses of electrophysiological correlates across species during evolution, alpha activity during brain maturation, and alpha activity in complex cognitive processes are presented to illustrate a new multidimensional "Cartesian System" brain function. The main features are: (1) The growth of the alpha activity during evolution, increase of alpha during cognitive processes, and decrease of the alpha entropy during evolution provide an indicator for evolution of brain cognitive performance. (2) Human children younger than 3 years are unable to produce higher cognitive processes and do not show alpha activity till the age of 3 years. The mature brain can perform higher cognitive processes and demonstrates regular alpha activity. (3) Alpha activity also is significantly associated with highly complex cognitive processes, such as the recognition of facial expressions. The neural activity reflected by these brain oscillations can be considered as constituent "building blocks" for a great number of functions. An overarching statement on the alpha function is presented by extended analyzes with multiple dimensions that constitute a "Cartesian Hyperspace" as the basis for oscillatory function. Theoretical implications are considered.

  20. Transcriptional landscape of the prenatal human brain.

    PubMed

    Miller, Jeremy A; Ding, Song-Lin; Sunkin, Susan M; Smith, Kimberly A; Ng, Lydia; Szafer, Aaron; Ebbert, Amanda; Riley, Zackery L; Royall, Joshua J; Aiona, Kaylynn; Arnold, James M; Bennet, Crissa; Bertagnolli, Darren; Brouner, Krissy; Butler, Stephanie; Caldejon, Shiella; Carey, Anita; Cuhaciyan, Christine; Dalley, Rachel A; Dee, Nick; Dolbeare, Tim A; Facer, Benjamin A C; Feng, David; Fliss, Tim P; Gee, Garrett; Goldy, Jeff; Gourley, Lindsey; Gregor, Benjamin W; Gu, Guangyu; Howard, Robert E; Jochim, Jayson M; Kuan, Chihchau L; Lau, Christopher; Lee, Chang-Kyu; Lee, Felix; Lemon, Tracy A; Lesnar, Phil; McMurray, Bergen; Mastan, Naveed; Mosqueda, Nerick; Naluai-Cecchini, Theresa; Ngo, Nhan-Kiet; Nyhus, Julie; Oldre, Aaron; Olson, Eric; Parente, Jody; Parker, Patrick D; Parry, Sheana E; Stevens, Allison; Pletikos, Mihovil; Reding, Melissa; Roll, Kate; Sandman, David; Sarreal, Melaine; Shapouri, Sheila; Shapovalova, Nadiya V; Shen, Elaine H; Sjoquist, Nathan; Slaughterbeck, Clifford R; Smith, Michael; Sodt, Andy J; Williams, Derric; Zöllei, Lilla; Fischl, Bruce; Gerstein, Mark B; Geschwind, Daniel H; Glass, Ian A; Hawrylycz, Michael J; Hevner, Robert F; Huang, Hao; Jones, Allan R; Knowles, James A; Levitt, Pat; Phillips, John W; Sestan, Nenad; Wohnoutka, Paul; Dang, Chinh; Bernard, Amy; Hohmann, John G; Lein, Ed S

    2014-04-10

    The anatomical and functional architecture of the human brain is mainly determined by prenatal transcriptional processes. We describe an anatomically comprehensive atlas of the mid-gestational human brain, including de novo reference atlases, in situ hybridization, ultra-high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and microarray analysis on highly discrete laser-microdissected brain regions. In developing cerebral cortex, transcriptional differences are found between different proliferative and post-mitotic layers, wherein laminar signatures reflect cellular composition and developmental processes. Cytoarchitectural differences between human and mouse have molecular correlates, including species differences in gene expression in subplate, although surprisingly we find minimal differences between the inner and outer subventricular zones even though the outer zone is expanded in humans. Both germinal and post-mitotic cortical layers exhibit fronto-temporal gradients, with particular enrichment in the frontal lobe. Finally, many neurodevelopmental disorder and human-evolution-related genes show patterned expression, potentially underlying unique features of human cortical formation. These data provide a rich, freely-accessible resource for understanding human brain development.

  1. Transcriptional Landscape of the Prenatal Human Brain

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Jeremy A.; Ding, Song-Lin; Sunkin, Susan M.; Smith, Kimberly A; Ng, Lydia; Szafer, Aaron; Ebbert, Amanda; Riley, Zackery L.; Aiona, Kaylynn; Arnold, James M.; Bennet, Crissa; Bertagnolli, Darren; Brouner, Krissy; Butler, Stephanie; Caldejon, Shiella; Carey, Anita; Cuhaciyan, Christine; Dalley, Rachel A.; Dee, Nick; Dolbeare, Tim A.; Facer, Benjamin A. C.; Feng, David; Fliss, Tim P.; Gee, Garrett; Goldy, Jeff; Gourley, Lindsey; Gregor, Benjamin W.; Gu, Guangyu; Howard, Robert E.; Jochim, Jayson M.; Kuan, Chihchau L.; Lau, Christopher; Lee, Chang-Kyu; Lee, Felix; Lemon, Tracy A.; Lesnar, Phil; McMurray, Bergen; Mastan, Naveed; Mosqueda, Nerick F.; Naluai-Cecchini, Theresa; Ngo, Nhan-Kiet; Nyhus, Julie; Oldre, Aaron; Olson, Eric; Parente, Jody; Parker, Patrick D.; Parry, Sheana E.; Player, Allison Stevens; Pletikos, Mihovil; Reding, Melissa; Royall, Joshua J.; Roll, Kate; Sandman, David; Sarreal, Melaine; Shapouri, Sheila; Shapovalova, Nadiya V.; Shen, Elaine H.; Sjoquist, Nathan; Slaughterbeck, Clifford R.; Smith, Michael; Sodt, Andy J.; Williams, Derric; Zöllei, Lilla; Fischl, Bruce; Gerstein, Mark B.; Geschwind, Daniel H.; Glass, Ian A.; Hawrylycz, Michael J.; Hevner, Robert F.; Huang, Hao; Jones, Allan R.; Knowles, James A.; Levitt, Pat; Phillips, John W.; Sestan, Nenad; Wohnoutka, Paul; Dang, Chinh; Bernard, Amy; Hohmann, John G.; Lein, Ed S.

    2014-01-01

    Summary The anatomical and functional architecture of the human brain is largely determined by prenatal transcriptional processes. We describe an anatomically comprehensive atlas of mid-gestational human brain, including de novo reference atlases, in situ hybridization, ultra-high resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and microarray analysis on highly discrete laser microdissected brain regions. In developing cerebral cortex, transcriptional differences are found between different proliferative and postmitotic layers, wherein laminar signatures reflect cellular composition and developmental processes. Cytoarchitectural differences between human and mouse have molecular correlates, including species differences in gene expression in subplate, although surprisingly we find minimal differences between the inner and human-expanded outer subventricular zones. Both germinal and postmitotic cortical layers exhibit fronto-temporal gradients, with particular enrichment in frontal lobe. Finally, many neurodevelopmental disorder and human evolution-related genes show patterned expression, potentially underlying unique features of human cortical formation. These data provide a rich, freely-accessible resource for understanding human brain development. PMID:24695229

  2. The Human Brain Uses Noise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mori, Toshio; Kai, Shoichi

    2003-05-01

    We present the first observation of stochastic resonance (SR) in the human brain's visual processing area. The novel experimental protocol is to stimulate the right eye with a sub-threshold periodic optical signal and the left eye with a noisy one. The stimuli bypass sensory organs and are mixed in the visual cortex. With many noise sources present in the brain, higher brain functions, e.g. perception and cognition, may exploit SR.

  3. Evolution of the brain and intelligence.

    PubMed

    Roth, Gerhard; Dicke, Ursula

    2005-05-01

    Intelligence has evolved many times independently among vertebrates. Primates, elephants and cetaceans are assumed to be more intelligent than 'lower' mammals, the great apes and humans more than monkeys, and humans more than the great apes. Brain properties assumed to be relevant for intelligence are the (absolute or relative) size of the brain, cortex, prefrontal cortex and degree of encephalization. However, factors that correlate better with intelligence are the number of cortical neurons and conduction velocity, as the basis for information-processing capacity. Humans have more cortical neurons than other mammals, although only marginally more than whales and elephants. The outstanding intelligence of humans appears to result from a combination and enhancement of properties found in non-human primates, such as theory of mind, imitation and language, rather than from 'unique' properties.

  4. Evidence for Concerted and Mosaic Brain Evolution in Dragon Lizards.

    PubMed

    Hoops, Daniel; Vidal-García, Marta; Ullmann, Jeremy F P; Janke, Andrew L; Stait-Gardner, Timothy; Duchêne, David A; Price, William S; Whiting, Martin J; Keogh, J Scott

    2017-09-05

    The brain plays a critical role in a wide variety of functions including behaviour, perception, motor control, and homeostatic maintenance. Each function can undergo different selective pressures over the course of evolution, and as selection acts on the outputs of brain function, it necessarily alters the structure of the brain. Two models have been proposed to explain the evolutionary patterns observed in brain morphology. The concerted brain evolution model posits that the brain evolves as a single unit and the evolution of different brain regions are coordinated. The mosaic brain evolution model posits that brain regions evolve independently of each other. It is now understood that both models are responsible for driving changes in brain morphology; however, which factors favour concerted or mosaic brain evolution is unclear. Here, we examined the volumes of the 6 major neural subdivisions across 14 species of the agamid lizard genus Ctenophorus (dragons). These species have diverged multiple times in behaviour, ecology, and body morphology, affording a unique opportunity to test neuroevolutionary models across species. We assigned each species to an ecomorph based on habitat use and refuge type, then used MRI to measure total and regional brain volume. We found evidence for both mosaic and concerted brain evolution in dragons: concerted brain evolution with respect to body size, and mosaic brain evolution with respect to ecomorph. Specifically, all brain subdivisions increase in volume relative to body size, yet the tectum and rhombencephalon also show opposite patterns of evolution with respect to ecomorph. Therefore, we find that both models of evolution are occurring simultaneously in the same structures in dragons, but are only detectable when examining particular drivers of selection. We show that the answer to the question of whether concerted or mosaic brain evolution is detected in a system can depend more on the type of selection measured than on the

  5. Major transitions in human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Foley, Robert A.; Martin, Lawrence; Mirazón Lahr, Marta; Stringer, Chris

    2016-01-01

    Evolutionary problems are often considered in terms of ‘origins', and research in human evolution seen as a search for human origins. However, evolution, including human evolution, is a process of transitions from one state to another, and so questions are best put in terms of understanding the nature of those transitions. This paper discusses how the contributions to the themed issue ‘Major transitions in human evolution’ throw light on the pattern of change in hominin evolution. Four questions are addressed: (1) Is there a major divide between early (australopithecine) and later (Homo) evolution? (2) Does the pattern of change fit a model of short transformations, or gradual evolution? (3) Why is the role of Africa so prominent? (4) How are different aspects of adaptation—genes, phenotypes and behaviour—integrated across the transitions? The importance of developing technologies and approaches and the enduring role of fieldwork are emphasized. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Major transitions in human evolution’. PMID:27298461

  6. Ongoing adaptive evolution of ASPM, a brain size determinant in Homo sapiens.

    PubMed

    Mekel-Bobrov, Nitzan; Gilbert, Sandra L; Evans, Patrick D; Vallender, Eric J; Anderson, Jeffrey R; Hudson, Richard R; Tishkoff, Sarah A; Lahn, Bruce T

    2005-09-09

    The gene ASPM (abnormal spindle-like microcephaly associated) is a specific regulator of brain size, and its evolution in the lineage leading to Homo sapiens was driven by strong positive selection. Here, we show that one genetic variant of ASPM in humans arose merely about 5800 years ago and has since swept to high frequency under strong positive selection. These findings, especially the remarkably young age of the positively selected variant, suggest that the human brain is still undergoing rapid adaptive evolution.

  7. Climatic Change and Human Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Garratt, John R.

    1995-01-01

    Traces the history of the Earth over four billion years, and shows how climate has had an important role to play in the evolution of humans. Posits that the world's rapidly growing human population and its increasing use of energy is the cause of present-day changes in the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. (Author/JRH)

  8. Climatic Change and Human Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Garratt, John R.

    1995-01-01

    Traces the history of the Earth over four billion years, and shows how climate has had an important role to play in the evolution of humans. Posits that the world's rapidly growing human population and its increasing use of energy is the cause of present-day changes in the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. (Author/JRH)

  9. Co-evolution of human consciousness and language (revisited).

    PubMed

    Arbib, Michael A

    2014-06-01

    This article discusses the view that human consciousness may share aspects of "animal awareness" with other species, but has its unique form because humans possess language. Two ingredients of a theory of the evolution of human consciousness are offered: the view that a précis of intended activity is necessarily formed in the brain of a human that communicates in a human way; and the notion that such a précis underwrites the uniquely human aspect of consciousness.

  10. In search of a unifying theory of complex brain evolution.

    PubMed

    Krubitzer, Leah

    2009-03-01

    The neocortex is the part of the brain that is involved in perception, cognition, and volitional motor control. In mammals it is a highly dynamic structure that has been dramatically altered in different lineages, and these alterations account for the remarkable variations in behavior that species exhibit. When we consider how this structure changes and becomes more complex in some mammals such as humans, we must also consider how the alterations that occur at macro levels of organization, such as the level of the individual and social system, as well as micro levels of organization, such as the level of neurons, synapses and molecules, impact the neocortex. It is also important to consider the constraints imposed on the evolution of the neocortex. Observations of highly conserved features of cortical organization that all mammals share, as well as the convergent evolution of similar features of organization, indicate that the constraints imposed on the neocortex are pervasive and restrict the avenues along which evolution can proceed. Although both genes and the laws of physics place formidable constraints on the evolution of all animals, humans have evolved a number of mechanisms that allow them to loosen these constraints and often alter the course of their own evolution. While this cortical plasticity is a defining feature of mammalian neocortex, it appears to be exaggerated in humans and could be considered a unique derivation of our species.

  11. The Digital Revolution and Adolescent Brain Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Giedd, Jay N.

    2012-01-01

    Remarkable advances in technologies that enable the distribution and utilization of information encoded as digital sequences of 1s or 0s have dramatically changed our way of life. Adolescents, old enough to master the technologies and young enough to welcome their novelty, are at the forefront of this “digital revolution”. Underlying the adolescent’s eager embracement of these sweeping changes is neurobiology forged byte fires of evolution to be extremely adept at adaptation. The consequences of the brains adaptation to the demands and opportunities of the digital age have enormous implications for adolescent health professionals. PMID:22824439

  12. Microcephaly genes and the evolution of sexual dimorphism in primate brain size.

    PubMed

    Montgomery, S H; Mundy, N I

    2013-04-01

    Microcephaly genes are amongst the most intensively studied genes with candidate roles in brain evolution. Early controversies surrounded the suggestion that they experienced differential selection pressures in different human populations, but several association studies failed to find any link between variation in microcephaly genes and brain size in humans. Recently, however, sex-dependent associations were found between variation in three microcephaly genes and human brain size, suggesting that these genes could contribute to the evolution of sexually dimorphic traits in the brain. Here, we test the hypothesis that microcephaly genes contribute to the evolution of sexual dimorphism in brain mass across anthropoid primates using a comparative approach. The results suggest a link between selection pressures acting on MCPH1 and CENPJ and different scores of sexual dimorphism. © 2013 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2013 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

  13. Evolution of the brain developmental plan: Insights from agnathans.

    PubMed

    Murakami, Yasunori; Uchida, Katsuhisa; Rijli, Filippo M; Kuratani, Shigeru

    2005-04-15

    In vertebrate evolution, the brain exhibits both conserved and unique morphological features in each animal group. Thus, the molecular program of nervous system development is expected to have experienced various changes through evolution. In this review, we discuss recent data from the agnathan lamprey (jawless vertebrate) together with available information from amphioxus and speculate the sequence of changes during chordate evolution that have been brought into the brain developmental plan to yield the current variety of the gnathostome (jawed vertebrate) brains.

  14. Monoamine metabolism in human brain.

    PubMed

    Robinson, D S; Sourkes, T L; Nies, A; Harris, L S; Spector, S; Bartlett, D L; Kaye, I S

    1977-01-01

    Norepinephrine (NE), dopamine (DA), tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) and monoamine oxidase (MAO) levels were measured in human brain tissue obtained at autopsy from a series of 39 patients dying of various medical and accidental causes. The nine following brain areas were studied: globus pallidus, thalamus, hypothalamus, hippocampus, substantia nigra, floor of the fourth ventricle, orbital cortex, caudate nucleus, and mammillary bodies. Enzyme activity correlated positively with age in all brain areas for MAO (with both benzylamine and tryptamine substrates) but no consistent pattern of correlation was found for COMT and TH. Mean MAO activity was significantly higher in women than men. There is increased brain MAO activity during late childhood and adolescence. These data are consistent with previous evidence suggesting that age and sex are important determinants of amine metabolism in the human central nervous system.

  15. Imprinting evolution and human health.

    PubMed

    Das, Radhika; Hampton, Daniel D; Jirtle, Randy L

    2009-01-01

    Genomic imprinting results in parent-of-origin-dependent, monoallelic expression of genes. The functional haploid state of these genes has far-reaching consequences. Not only has imprinting been implicated in accelerating mammalian speciation, there is growing evidence that it is also involved in the pathogenesis of several human conditions, particularly cancer and neurological disorders. Epigenetic regulatory mechanisms govern the parental allele-specific silencing of imprinted genes, and many theories have attempted to explain the driving force for the evolution of this unique form of gene control. This review discusses the evolution of imprinting in Therian mammals, and the importance of imprinted genes in human health and disease.

  16. Parasites and human evolution.

    PubMed

    Perry, George H

    2014-01-01

    Our understanding of human evolutionary and population history can be advanced by ecological and evolutionary studies of our parasites. Many parasites flourish only in the presence of very specific human behaviors and in specific habitats, are wholly dependent on us, and have evolved with us for thousands or millions of years. Therefore, by asking when and how we first acquired those parasites, under which environmental and cultural conditions we are the most susceptible, and how the parasites have evolved and adapted to us and we in response to them, we can gain considerable insight into our own evolutionary history. As examples, the tapeworm life cycle is dependent on our consumption of meat, the divergence of body and head lice may have been subsequent to the development of clothing, and malaria hyperendemicity may be associated with agriculture. Thus, the evolutionary and population histories of these parasites are likely intertwined with critical aspects of human biology and culture. Here I review the mechanics of these and multiple other parasite proxies for human evolutionary history and discuss how they currently complement our fossil, archeological, molecular, linguistic, historical, and ethnographic records. I also highlight potential future applications of this promising model for the field of evolutionary anthropology.

  17. Human-specific transcriptional networks in the brain.

    PubMed

    Konopka, Genevieve; Friedrich, Tara; Davis-Turak, Jeremy; Winden, Kellen; Oldham, Michael C; Gao, Fuying; Chen, Leslie; Wang, Guang-Zhong; Luo, Rui; Preuss, Todd M; Geschwind, Daniel H

    2012-08-23

    Understanding human-specific patterns of brain gene expression and regulation can provide key insights into human brain evolution and speciation. Here, we use next-generation sequencing, and Illumina and Affymetrix microarray platforms, to compare the transcriptome of human, chimpanzee, and macaque telencephalon. Our analysis reveals a predominance of genes differentially expressed within human frontal lobe and a striking increase in transcriptional complexity specific to the human lineage in the frontal lobe. In contrast, caudate nucleus gene expression is highly conserved. We also identify gene coexpression signatures related to either neuronal processes or neuropsychiatric diseases, including a human-specific module with CLOCK as its hub gene and another module enriched for neuronal morphological processes and genes coexpressed with FOXP2, a gene important for language evolution. These data demonstrate that transcriptional networks have undergone evolutionary remodeling even within a given brain region, providing a window through which to view the foundation of uniquely human cognitive capacities.

  18. Human evolution and cognition.

    PubMed

    Tattersall, Ian

    2010-09-01

    Human beings are distinguished from all other organisms by their symbolic way of processing information about the world. This unique cognitive style is qualitatively different from all the earlier hominid cognitive styles, and is not simply an improved version of them. The hominid fossil and archaeological records show clearly that biological and technological innovations have typically been highly sporadic, and totally out of phase, since the invention of stone tools some 2.5 million years ago. They also confirm that this pattern applied in the arrival of modern cognition: the anatomically recognizable species Homo sapiens was well established long before any population of it began to show indications of behaving symbolically. This places the origin of symbolic thought in the realms of exaptation, whereby new structures come into existence before being recruited to new uses, and of emergence, whereby entire new levels of complexity are achieved through new combinations of attributes unremarkable in themselves. Both these phenomena involve entirely routine evolutionary processes; special as we human beings may consider ourselves, there was nothing special about the way we came into existence. Modern human cognition is a very recent acquisition; and its emergence ushered in an entirely new pattern of technological (and other behavioral) innovation, in which constant change results from the ceaseless exploration of the potential inherent in our new capacity.

  19. Human development, heredity and evolution.

    PubMed

    Nishinakamura, Ryuichi; Takasato, Minoru

    2017-06-15

    From March 27-29 2017, the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology held a symposium entitled 'Towards Understanding Human Development, Heredity, and Evolution' in Kobe, Japan. Recent advances in technologies including stem cell culture, live imaging, single-cell approaches, next-generation sequencing and genome editing have led to an expansion in our knowledge of human development. Organized by Yoshiya Kawaguchi, Mitinori Saitou, Mototsugu Eiraku, Tomoya Kitajima, Fumio Matsuzaki, Takashi Tsuji and Edith Heard, the symposium covered a broad range of topics including human germline development, epigenetics, organogenesis and evolution. This Meeting Review provides a summary of this timely and exciting symposium, which has convinced us that we are moving into the era of science targeted on humans. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  20. Evolution of the Human Pelvis.

    PubMed

    Rosenberg, Karen R; DeSilva, Jeremy M

    2017-05-01

    No bone in the human postcranial skeleton differs more dramatically from its match in an ape skeleton than the pelvis. Humans have evolved a specialized pelvis, well-adapted for the rigors of bipedal locomotion. Precisely how this happened has been the subject of great interest and contention in the paleoanthropological literature. In part, this is because of the fragility of the pelvis and its resulting rarity in the human fossil record. However, new discoveries from Miocene hominoids and Plio-Pleistocene hominins have reenergized debates about human pelvic evolution and shed new light on the competing roles of bipedal locomotion and obstetrics in shaping pelvic anatomy. In this issue, 13 papers address the evolution of the human pelvis. Here, we summarize these new contributions to our understanding of pelvic evolution, and share our own thoughts on the progress the field has made, and the questions that still remain. Anat Rec, 300:789-797, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  1. The evolution of human warfare.

    PubMed

    Pitman, George R

    2011-01-01

    Here we propose a new theory for the origins and evolution of human warfare as a complex social phenomenon involving several behavioral traits, including aggression, risk taking, male bonding, ingroup altruism, outgroup xenophobia, dominance and subordination, and territoriality, all of which are encoded in the human genome. Among the family of great apes only chimpanzees and humans engage in war; consequently, warfare emerged in their immediate common ancestor that lived in patrilocal groups who fought one another for females. The reasons for warfare changed when the common ancestor females began to immigrate into the groups of their choice, and again, during the agricultural revolution.

  2. Skulls and Human Evolution: The Use of Casts of Anthropoid Skulls in Teaching Concepts of Human Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gipps, John

    1991-01-01

    Proposes the use of a series of 11 casts of fossil skulls as a method of teaching about the theory of human evolution. Students explore the questions of which skulls are "human" and which came first in Homo Sapien development, large brain or upright stance. (MDH)

  3. Skulls and Human Evolution: The Use of Casts of Anthropoid Skulls in Teaching Concepts of Human Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gipps, John

    1991-01-01

    Proposes the use of a series of 11 casts of fossil skulls as a method of teaching about the theory of human evolution. Students explore the questions of which skulls are "human" and which came first in Homo Sapien development, large brain or upright stance. (MDH)

  4. Tempo and mode in human evolution.

    PubMed Central

    McHenry, H M

    1994-01-01

    The quickening pace of paleontological discovery is matched by rapid developments in geochronology. These new data show that the pattern of morphological change in the hominid lineage was mosaic. Adaptations essential to bipedalism appeared early, but some locomotor features changed much later. Relative to the highly derived postcrania of the earliest hominids, the craniodental complex was quite primitive (i.e., like the reconstructed last common ancestor with the African great apes). The pattern of craniodental change among successively younger species of Hominidae implies extensive parallel evolution between at least two lineages in features related to mastication. Relative brain size increased slightly among successively younger species of Australopithecus, expanded significantly with the appearance of Homo, but within early Homo remained at about half the size of Homo sapiens for almost a million years. Many apparent trends in human evolution may actually be due to the accumulation of relatively rapid shifts in successive species. PMID:8041697

  5. Reciprocal evolution of the cerebellum and neocortex in fossil humans.

    PubMed

    Weaver, Anne H

    2005-03-08

    Human brain evolution involved both neurological reorganization and an increase in overall brain volume relative to body mass. It is generally difficult to draw functional inferences about the timing and nature of brain reorganization, given that superficial brain morphology recorded on fossil endocasts is functionally ambiguous. However, the cerebellum, housed in the clearly delineated posterior cranial fossa, is functionally and ontologically discrete. The cerebellum is reciprocally connected to each of 14 neocortical regions important to human cognitive evolution. Cerebellar volume varies significantly relative to overall brain volume among mammalian orders, as well as within the primate order. There is also significant diachronic variation among fossil human taxa. In the australopithecines and early members of the genus Homo, the cerebral hemispheres were large in proportion to the cerebellum, compared with other hominoids. This trend continued in Middle and Late Pleistocene humans, including Neandertals and Cro-Magnon 1, who have the largest cerebral hemispheres relative to cerebellum volume of any primates, including earlier and Holocene humans. In recent humans, however, the pattern is reversed; the cerebellum is larger with respect to the rest of the brain (and, conversely, the cerebral hemispheres are smaller with respect to the cerebellum) than in Late Pleistocene humans. The cerebellum and cerebral hemispheres appear to have evolved reciprocally. Cerebellar development in Holocene humans may have provided greater computational efficiency for coping with an increasingly complex cultural and conceptual environment.

  6. Reciprocal evolution of the cerebellum and neocortex in fossil humans

    PubMed Central

    Weaver, Anne H.

    2005-01-01

    Human brain evolution involved both neurological reorganization and an increase in overall brain volume relative to body mass. It is generally difficult to draw functional inferences about the timing and nature of brain reorganization, given that superficial brain morphology recorded on fossil endocasts is functionally ambiguous. However, the cerebellum, housed in the clearly delineated posterior cranial fossa, is functionally and ontologically discrete. The cerebellum is reciprocally connected to each of 14 neocortical regions important to human cognitive evolution. Cerebellar volume varies significantly relative to overall brain volume among mammalian orders, as well as within the primate order. There is also significant diachronic variation among fossil human taxa. In the australopithecines and early members of the genus Homo, the cerebral hemispheres were large in proportion to the cerebellum, compared with other hominoids. This trend continued in Middle and Late Pleistocene humans, including Neandertals and Cro-Magnon 1, who have the largest cerebral hemispheres relative to cerebellum volume of any primates, including earlier and Holocene humans. In recent humans, however, the pattern is reversed; the cerebellum is larger with respect to the rest of the brain (and, conversely, the cerebral hemispheres are smaller with respect to the cerebellum) than in Late Pleistocene humans. The cerebellum and cerebral hemispheres appear to have evolved reciprocally. Cerebellar development in Holocene humans may have provided greater computational efficiency for coping with an increasingly complex cultural and conceptual environment. PMID:15731345

  7. Human evolution: taxonomy and paleobiology

    PubMed Central

    WOOD, BERNARD; RICHMOND, BRIAN G.

    2000-01-01

    This review begins by setting out the context and the scope of human evolution. Several classes of evidence, morphological, molecular, and genetic, support a particularly close relationship between modern humans and the species within the genus Pan, the chimpanzee. Thus human evolution is the study of the lineage, or clade, comprising species more closely related to modern humans than to chimpanzees. Its stem species is the so-called ‘common hominin ancestor’, and its only extant member is Homo sapiens. This clade contains all the species more closely-related to modern humans than to any other living primate. Until recently, these species were all subsumed into a family, Hominidae, but this group is now more usually recognised as a tribe, the Hominini. The rest of the review sets out the formal nomenclature, history of discovery, and information about the characteristic morphology, and its behavioural implications, of the species presently included in the human clade. The taxa are considered within their assigned genera, beginning with the most primitive and finishing with Homo. Within genera, species are presented in order of geological age. The entries conclude with a list of the more important items of fossil evidence, and a summary of relevant taxonomic issues. PMID:10999270

  8. Brain size evolution: how fish pay for being smart.

    PubMed

    Isler, Karin

    2013-01-21

    An artificial selection experiment demonstrates that large-brained guppies learn better, but produce less offspring and have smaller guts. A close link between brain size and fertility suggests that energetic trade-offs play an important role in brain size evolution.

  9. Lipidomics of human brain aging and Alzheimer's disease pathology.

    PubMed

    Naudí, Alba; Cabré, Rosanna; Jové, Mariona; Ayala, Victoria; Gonzalo, Hugo; Portero-Otín, Manuel; Ferrer, Isidre; Pamplona, Reinald

    2015-01-01

    Lipids stimulated and favored the evolution of the brain. Adult human brain contains a large amount of lipids, and the largest diversity of lipid classes and lipid molecular species. Lipidomics is defined as "the full characterization of lipid molecular species and of their biological roles with respect to expression of proteins involved in lipid metabolism and function, including gene regulation." Therefore, the study of brain lipidomics can help to unravel the diversity and to disclose the specificity of these lipid traits and its alterations in neural (neurons and glial) cells, groups of neural cells, brain, and fluids such as cerebrospinal fluid and plasma, thus helping to uncover potential biomarkers of human brain aging and Alzheimer disease. This review will discuss the lipid composition of the adult human brain. We first consider a brief approach to lipid definition, classification, and tools for analysis from the new point of view that has emerged with lipidomics, and then turn to the lipid profiles in human brain and how lipids affect brain function. Finally, we focus on the current status of lipidomics findings in human brain aging and Alzheimer's disease pathology. Neurolipidomics will increase knowledge about physiological and pathological functions of brain cells and will place the concept of selective neuronal vulnerability in a lipid context. © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  10. Evolution education in Canada's museums: Where is human evolution?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bean, Sarah

    While an interest in the origin of human beings may be a cultural universal, there are various views and beliefs about how this event took place. In Canada, a recent (2010) Angus Reid survey revealed that only 61% of Canadians accepted that humans evolved over millions of years; 39% of the population either believed in creationism or did not accept evolution as a scientific fact. These statistics suggest that human evolution education is a topic that needs to be addressed. This thesis investigates the role of museums in public education about human evolution. Prior to this study, the number of Canadian museums with exhibits about this topic was unknown. Sixteen Canadian museums participated in this study, and the results demonstrated that only two had permanent exhibits on human evolution, and one creationist museum presented a biblically-based account of human origins. Here, it is argued that more of Canada's museums should consider incorporating human evolution education into their mandates.

  11. Mindboggling morphometry of human brains

    PubMed Central

    Bao, Forrest S.; Giard, Joachim; Stavsky, Eliezer; Lee, Noah; Rossa, Brian; Reuter, Martin; Chaibub Neto, Elias

    2017-01-01

    Mindboggle (http://mindboggle.info) is an open source brain morphometry platform that takes in preprocessed T1-weighted MRI data and outputs volume, surface, and tabular data containing label, feature, and shape information for further analysis. In this article, we document the software and demonstrate its use in studies of shape variation in healthy and diseased humans. The number of different shape measures and the size of the populations make this the largest and most detailed shape analysis of human brains ever conducted. Brain image morphometry shows great potential for providing much-needed biological markers for diagnosing, tracking, and predicting progression of mental health disorders. Very few software algorithms provide more than measures of volume and cortical thickness, while more subtle shape measures may provide more sensitive and specific biomarkers. Mindboggle computes a variety of (primarily surface-based) shapes: area, volume, thickness, curvature, depth, Laplace-Beltrami spectra, Zernike moments, etc. We evaluate Mindboggle’s algorithms using the largest set of manually labeled, publicly available brain images in the world and compare them against state-of-the-art algorithms where they exist. All data, code, and results of these evaluations are publicly available. PMID:28231282

  12. Toward the Language-Ready Brain: Biological Evolution and Primate Comparisons.

    PubMed

    Arbib, Michael A

    2017-02-01

    The approach to language evolution suggested here focuses on three questions: How did the human brain evolve so that humans can develop, use, and acquire languages? How can the evolutionary quest be informed by studying brain, behavior, and social interaction in monkeys, apes, and humans? How can computational modeling advance these studies? I hypothesize that the brain is language ready in that the earliest humans had protolanguages but not languages (i.e., communication systems endowed with rich and open-ended lexicons and grammars supporting a compositional semantics), and that it took cultural evolution to yield societies (a cultural constructed niche) in which language-ready brains could become language-using brains. The mirror system hypothesis is a well-developed example of this approach, but I offer it here not as a closed theory but as an evolving framework for the development and analysis of conflicting subhypotheses in the hope of their eventual integration. I also stress that computational modeling helps us understand the evolving role of mirror neurons, not in and of themselves, but only in their interaction with systems "beyond the mirror." Because a theory of evolution needs a clear characterization of what it is that evolved, I also outline ideas for research in neurolinguistics to complement studies of the evolution of the language-ready brain. A clear challenge is to go beyond models of speech comprehension to include sign language and models of production, and to link language to visuomotor interaction with the physical and social world.

  13. Molecular networks and the evolution of human cognitive specializations.

    PubMed

    Fontenot, Miles; Konopka, Genevieve

    2014-12-01

    Inroads into elucidating the origins of human cognitive specializations have taken many forms, including genetic, genomic, anatomical, and behavioral assays that typically compare humans to non-human primates. While the integration of all of these approaches is essential for ultimately understanding human cognition, here, we review the usefulness of coexpression network analysis for specifically addressing this question. An increasing number of studies have incorporated coexpression networks into brain expression studies comparing species, disease versus control tissue, brain regions, or developmental time periods. A clearer picture has emerged of the key genes driving brain evolution, as well as the developmental and regional contributions of gene expression patterns important for normal brain development and those misregulated in cognitive diseases. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Task-Based Cohesive Evolution of Dynamic Brain Networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davison, Elizabeth

    2014-03-01

    Applications of graph theory to neuroscience have resulted in significant progress towards a mechanistic understanding of the brain. Functional network representation of the brain has linked efficient network structure to psychometric intelligence and altered configurations with disease. Dynamic graphs provide us with tools to further study integral properties of the brain; specifically, the mathematical convention of hyperedges has allowed us to study the brain's cross-linked structure. Hyperedges capture the changes in network structure by identifying groups of brain regions with correlation patterns that change cohesively through time. We performed a hyperedge analysis on functional MRI data from 86 subjects and explored the cohesive evolution properties of their functional brain networks as they performed a series of tasks. Our results establish the hypergraph as a useful measure in understanding functional brain dynamics over tasks and reveal characteristic differences in the co-evolution structure of task-specific networks.

  15. Neuron-based heredity and human evolution.

    PubMed

    Gash, Don M; Deane, Andrew S

    2015-01-01

    It is widely recognized that human evolution has been driven by two systems of heredity: one DNA-based and the other based on the transmission of behaviorally acquired information via nervous system functions. The genetic system is ancient, going back to the appearance of life on Earth. It is responsible for the evolutionary processes described by Darwin. By comparison, the nervous system is relatively newly minted and in its highest form, responsible for ideation and mind-to-mind transmission of information. Here the informational capabilities and functions of the two systems are compared. While employing quite different mechanisms for encoding, storing and transmission of information, both systems perform these generic hereditary functions. Three additional features of neuron-based heredity in humans are identified: the ability to transfer hereditary information to other members of their population, not just progeny; a selection process for the information being transferred; and a profoundly shorter time span for creation and dissemination of survival-enhancing information in a population. The mechanisms underlying neuron-based heredity involve hippocampal neurogenesis and memory and learning processes modifying and creating new neural assemblages changing brain structure and functions. A fundamental process in rewiring brain circuitry is through increased neural activity (use) strengthening and increasing the number of synaptic connections. Decreased activity in circuitry (disuse) leads to loss of synapses. Use and disuse modifying an organ to bring about new modes of living, habits and functions are processes in line with Neolamarckian concepts of evolution (Packard, 1901). Evidence is presented of bipartite evolutionary processes-Darwinian and Neolamarckian-driving human descent from a common ancestor shared with the great apes.

  16. Neuron-based heredity and human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Gash, Don M.; Deane, Andrew S.

    2015-01-01

    It is widely recognized that human evolution has been driven by two systems of heredity: one DNA-based and the other based on the transmission of behaviorally acquired information via nervous system functions. The genetic system is ancient, going back to the appearance of life on Earth. It is responsible for the evolutionary processes described by Darwin. By comparison, the nervous system is relatively newly minted and in its highest form, responsible for ideation and mind-to-mind transmission of information. Here the informational capabilities and functions of the two systems are compared. While employing quite different mechanisms for encoding, storing and transmission of information, both systems perform these generic hereditary functions. Three additional features of neuron-based heredity in humans are identified: the ability to transfer hereditary information to other members of their population, not just progeny; a selection process for the information being transferred; and a profoundly shorter time span for creation and dissemination of survival-enhancing information in a population. The mechanisms underlying neuron-based heredity involve hippocampal neurogenesis and memory and learning processes modifying and creating new neural assemblages changing brain structure and functions. A fundamental process in rewiring brain circuitry is through increased neural activity (use) strengthening and increasing the number of synaptic connections. Decreased activity in circuitry (disuse) leads to loss of synapses. Use and disuse modifying an organ to bring about new modes of living, habits and functions are processes in line with Neolamarckian concepts of evolution (Packard, 1901). Evidence is presented of bipartite evolutionary processes—Darwinian and Neolamarckian—driving human descent from a common ancestor shared with the great apes. PMID:26136649

  17. Phylogeny and adaptive evolution of the brain-development gene microcephalin (MCPH1) in cetaceans.

    PubMed

    McGowen, Michael R; Montgomery, Stephen H; Clark, Clay; Gatesy, John

    2011-04-14

    Representatives of Cetacea have the greatest absolute brain size among animals, and the largest relative brain size aside from humans. Despite this, genes implicated in the evolution of large brain size in primates have yet to be surveyed in cetaceans. We sequenced ~1240 basepairs of the brain development gene microcephalin (MCPH1) in 38 cetacean species. Alignments of these data and a published complete sequence from Tursiops truncatus with primate MCPH1 were utilized in phylogenetic analyses and to estimate ω (rate of nonsynonymous substitution/rate of synonymous substitution) using site and branch models of molecular evolution. We also tested the hypothesis that selection on MCPH1 was correlated with brain size in cetaceans using a continuous regression analysis that accounted for phylogenetic history. Our analyses revealed widespread signals of adaptive evolution in the MCPH1 of Cetacea and in other subclades of Mammalia, however, there was not a significant positive association between ω and brain size within Cetacea. In conjunction with a recent study of Primates, we find no evidence to support an association between MCPH1 evolution and the evolution of brain size in highly encephalized mammalian species. Our finding of significant positive selection in MCPH1 may be linked to other functions of the gene.

  18. Phylogeny and adaptive evolution of the brain-development gene microcephalin (MCPH1) in cetaceans

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Representatives of Cetacea have the greatest absolute brain size among animals, and the largest relative brain size aside from humans. Despite this, genes implicated in the evolution of large brain size in primates have yet to be surveyed in cetaceans. Results We sequenced ~1240 basepairs of the brain development gene microcephalin (MCPH1) in 38 cetacean species. Alignments of these data and a published complete sequence from Tursiops truncatus with primate MCPH1 were utilized in phylogenetic analyses and to estimate ω (rate of nonsynonymous substitution/rate of synonymous substitution) using site and branch models of molecular evolution. We also tested the hypothesis that selection on MCPH1 was correlated with brain size in cetaceans using a continuous regression analysis that accounted for phylogenetic history. Our analyses revealed widespread signals of adaptive evolution in the MCPH1 of Cetacea and in other subclades of Mammalia, however, there was not a significant positive association between ω and brain size within Cetacea. Conclusion In conjunction with a recent study of Primates, we find no evidence to support an association between MCPH1 evolution and the evolution of brain size in highly encephalized mammalian species. Our finding of significant positive selection in MCPH1 may be linked to other functions of the gene. PMID:21492470

  19. Comparative primate neurobiology and the evolution of brain language systems.

    PubMed

    Rilling, James K

    2014-10-01

    Human brain specializations supporting language can be identified by comparing human with non-human primate brains. Comparisons with chimpanzees are critical in this endeavor. Human brains are much larger than non-human primate brains, but human language capabilities cannot be entirely explained by brain size. Human brain specializations that potentially support our capacity for language include firstly, wider cortical minicolumns in both Broca's and Wernicke's areas compared with great apes; secondly, leftward asymmetries in Broca's area volume and Wernicke's area minicolumn width that are not found in great apes; and thirdly, arcuate fasciculus projections beyond Wernicke's area to a region of expanded association cortex in the middle and inferior temporal cortex involved in processing word meaning. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. Convergent evolution of vocal cooperation without convergent evolution of brain size.

    PubMed

    Borjon, Jeremy I; Ghazanfar, Asif A

    2014-01-01

    One pragmatic underlying successful vocal communication is the ability to take turns. Taking turns - a form of cooperation - facilitates the transmission of signals by reducing the amount of their overlap. This allows vocalizations to be better heard. Until recently, non-human primates were not thought of as particularly cooperative, especially in the vocal domain. We recently demonstrated that common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus), a small New World primate species, take turns when they exchange vocalizations with both related and unrelated conspecifics. As the common marmoset is distantly related to humans (and there is no documented evidence that Old World primates exhibit vocal turn taking), we argue that this ability arose as an instance of convergent evolution, and is part of a suite of prosocial behavioral tendencies. Such behaviors seem to be, at least in part, the outcome of the cooperative breeding strategy adopted by both humans and marmosets. Importantly, this suite of shared behaviors occurs without correspondence in encephalization. Marmoset vocal turn taking demonstrates that a large brain size and complex cognitive machinery is not needed for vocal cooperation to occur. Consistent with this idea, the temporal structure of marmoset vocal exchanges can be described in terms of coupled oscillator dynamics, similar to quantitative descriptions of human conversations. We propose a simple neural circuit mechanism that may account for these dynamics and, at its core, involves vocalization-induced reductions of arousal. Such a mechanism may underlie the evolution of vocal turn taking in both marmoset monkeys and humans. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  1. Economy and Endurance in Human Evolution.

    PubMed

    Pontzer, Herman

    2017-06-19

    The evolutionary pressures shaping humans' unique bipedal locomotion have been a focus of research since Darwin, but the origins of humans' economical walking gait and endurance running capabilities remain unclear. Here, I review the anatomical and physiological determinants of locomotor economy (e.g., limb length and posture) and endurance (e.g., muscle volume and fiber type) and investigate their development in the hominin fossil record. The earliest hominins were bipedal but retained ape-like features in the hind limb that would have limited their walking economy compared to living humans. Moreover, the evolution of bipedalism and the loss of the forelimbs in weight support and propulsion would have reduced locomotor endurance in the earliest hominins and likely restricted ranging. Australopithecus evinced longer hind limbs, extended limb posture, and a stiff midfoot, suggesting improved, human-like economy, but were likely still limited in their endurance compared to modern humans. The appearance of skeletal traits related to endurance (e.g., larger limb joints, spring-like plantar arch) in Homo was somewhat mosaic, with the full endurance suite apparent only ∼1 million years ago. The development of endurance capabilities in Homo appears to parallel the evolutionary increase in brain size, cognitive sophistication, and metabolic rate. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Natural evolution and human consciousness.

    PubMed

    Holmgren, Jan

    2014-01-01

    A visual conscious experience is my empirical basis. All that we know comes to us through conscious experiences. Thanks to natural evolution, we have nearly direct perception, and can largely trust the information we attain. There is full integration, with no gaps, of organisms in the continuous world. Human conscious experiences, on the other hand, are discrete. Consciousness has certain limits for its resolution. This is illustrated by the so-called light-cone, with consequences for foundations in physics. Traditional universals are replaced by feels and distributions. Conscious experiences can be ordered within a framework of conceptual spaces. Triple Aspect Monism (TAM) can represent the dynamics of conscious systems. However, to fully represent the creative power of human consciousness, an all-inclusive view is suggested: Multi Aspect Monism (MAM).

  3. Natural Evolution and Human Consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Holmgren, Jan

    2014-01-01

    A visual conscious experience is my empirical basis. All that we know comes to us through conscious experiences. Thanks to natural evolution, we have nearly direct perception, and can largely trust the information we attain. There is full integration, with no gaps, of organisms in the continuous world. Human conscious experiences, on the other hand, are discrete. Consciousness has certain limits for its resolution. This is illustrated by the so-called light-cone, with consequences for foundations in physics. Traditional universals are replaced by feels and distributions. Conscious experiences can be ordered within a framework of conceptual spaces. Triple Aspect Monism (TAM) can represent the dynamics of conscious systems. However, to fully represent the creative power of human consciousness, an all-inclusive view is suggested: Multi Aspect Monism (MAM). PMID:24891802

  4. Metabolic costs and evolutionary implications of human brain development.

    PubMed

    Kuzawa, Christopher W; Chugani, Harry T; Grossman, Lawrence I; Lipovich, Leonard; Muzik, Otto; Hof, Patrick R; Wildman, Derek E; Sherwood, Chet C; Leonard, William R; Lange, Nicholas

    2014-09-09

    The high energetic costs of human brain development have been hypothesized to explain distinctive human traits, including exceptionally slow and protracted preadult growth. Although widely assumed to constrain life-history evolution, the metabolic requirements of the growing human brain are unknown. We combined previously collected PET and MRI data to calculate the human brain's glucose use from birth to adulthood, which we compare with body growth rate. We evaluate the strength of brain-body metabolic trade-offs using the ratios of brain glucose uptake to the body's resting metabolic rate (RMR) and daily energy requirements (DER) expressed in glucose-gram equivalents (glucosermr% and glucoseder%). We find that glucosermr% and glucoseder% do not peak at birth (52.5% and 59.8% of RMR, or 35.4% and 38.7% of DER, for males and females, respectively), when relative brain size is largest, but rather in childhood (66.3% and 65.0% of RMR and 43.3% and 43.8% of DER). Body-weight growth (dw/dt) and both glucosermr% and glucoseder% are strongly, inversely related: soon after birth, increases in brain glucose demand are accompanied by proportionate decreases in dw/dt. Ages of peak brain glucose demand and lowest dw/dt co-occur and subsequent developmental declines in brain metabolism are matched by proportionate increases in dw/dt until puberty. The finding that human brain glucose demands peak during childhood, and evidence that brain metabolism and body growth rate covary inversely across development, support the hypothesis that the high costs of human brain development require compensatory slowing of body growth rate.

  5. Elephant brain. Part I: gross morphology, functions, comparative anatomy, and evolution.

    PubMed

    Shoshani, Jeheskel; Kupsky, William J; Marchant, Gary H

    2006-06-30

    We report morphological data on brains of four African, Loxodonta africana, and three Asian elephants, Elephas maximus, and compare findings to literature. Brains exhibit a gyral pattern more complex and with more numerous gyri than in primates, humans included, and in carnivores, but less complex than in cetaceans. Cerebral frontal, parietal, temporal, limbic, and insular lobes are well developed, whereas the occipital lobe is relatively small. The insula is not as opercularized as in man. The temporal lobe is disproportionately large and expands laterally. Humans and elephants have three parallel temporal gyri: superior, middle, and inferior. Hippocampal sizes in elephants and humans are comparable, but proportionally smaller in elephant. A possible carotid rete was observed at the base of the brain. Brain size appears to be related to body size, ecology, sociality, and longevity. Elephant adult brain averages 4783 g, the largest among living and extinct terrestrial mammals; elephant neonate brain averages 50% of its adult brain weight (25% in humans). Cerebellar weight averages 18.6% of brain (1.8 times larger than in humans). During evolution, encephalization quotient has increased by 10-fold (0.2 for extinct Moeritherium, approximately 2.0 for extant elephants). We present 20 figures of the elephant brain, 16 of which contain new material. Similarities between human and elephant brains could be due to convergent evolution; both display mosaic characters and are highly derived mammals. Humans and elephants use and make tools and show a range of complex learning skills and behaviors. In elephants, the large amount of cerebral cortex, especially in the temporal lobe, and the well-developed olfactory system, structures associated with complex learning and behavioral functions in humans, may provide the substrate for such complex skills and behavior.

  6. The Evolution of Lateralized Brain Circuits.

    PubMed

    Corballis, Michael C

    2017-01-01

    In the vast clade of animals known as the bilateria, cerebral and behavioral asymmetries emerge against the backdrop of bilateral symmetry, with a functional trade-off between the two. Asymmetries can lead to more efficient processing and packaging of internal structures, but at the expense of efficient adaptation to a natural world without systematic left-right bias. Asymmetries may arise through the fissioning of ancestral structures that are largely symmetrical, creating new circuits. In humans these may include asymmetrical adaptations to language and manufacture, and as one or other hemisphere gains dominance for functions that were previously represented bilaterally. This is best illustrated in the evolution of such functions as language and tool manufacture in humans, which may derive from the mirror-neuron system in primates, but similar principles probably apply to the many other asymmetries now evident in a wide range of animals. Asymmetries arise in largely independent manner with multi-genetic sources, rather than as a single over-riding principle.

  7. Physical biology of human brain development

    PubMed Central

    Budday, Silvia; Steinmann, Paul; Kuhl, Ellen

    2015-01-01

    Neurodevelopment is a complex, dynamic process that involves a precisely orchestrated sequence of genetic, environmental, biochemical, and physical events. Developmental biology and genetics have shaped our understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms during neurodevelopment. Recent studies suggest that physical forces play a central role in translating these cellular mechanisms into the complex surface morphology of the human brain. However, the precise impact of neuronal differentiation, migration, and connection on the physical forces during cortical folding remains unknown. Here we review the cellular mechanisms of neurodevelopment with a view toward surface morphogenesis, pattern selection, and evolution of shape. We revisit cortical folding as the instability problem of constrained differential growth in a multi-layered system. To identify the contributing factors of differential growth, we map out the timeline of neurodevelopment in humans and highlight the cellular events associated with extreme radial and tangential expansion. We demonstrate how computational modeling of differential growth can bridge the scales–from phenomena on the cellular level toward form and function on the organ level–to make quantitative, personalized predictions. Physics-based models can quantify cortical stresses, identify critical folding conditions, rationalize pattern selection, and predict gyral wavelengths and gyrification indices. We illustrate that physical forces can explain cortical malformations as emergent properties of developmental disorders. Combining biology and physics holds promise to advance our understanding of human brain development and enable early diagnostics of cortical malformations with the ultimate goal to improve treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders including epilepsy, autism spectrum disorders, and schizophrenia. PMID:26217183

  8. Physical biology of human brain development.

    PubMed

    Budday, Silvia; Steinmann, Paul; Kuhl, Ellen

    2015-01-01

    Neurodevelopment is a complex, dynamic process that involves a precisely orchestrated sequence of genetic, environmental, biochemical, and physical events. Developmental biology and genetics have shaped our understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms during neurodevelopment. Recent studies suggest that physical forces play a central role in translating these cellular mechanisms into the complex surface morphology of the human brain. However, the precise impact of neuronal differentiation, migration, and connection on the physical forces during cortical folding remains unknown. Here we review the cellular mechanisms of neurodevelopment with a view toward surface morphogenesis, pattern selection, and evolution of shape. We revisit cortical folding as the instability problem of constrained differential growth in a multi-layered system. To identify the contributing factors of differential growth, we map out the timeline of neurodevelopment in humans and highlight the cellular events associated with extreme radial and tangential expansion. We demonstrate how computational modeling of differential growth can bridge the scales-from phenomena on the cellular level toward form and function on the organ level-to make quantitative, personalized predictions. Physics-based models can quantify cortical stresses, identify critical folding conditions, rationalize pattern selection, and predict gyral wavelengths and gyrification indices. We illustrate that physical forces can explain cortical malformations as emergent properties of developmental disorders. Combining biology and physics holds promise to advance our understanding of human brain development and enable early diagnostics of cortical malformations with the ultimate goal to improve treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders including epilepsy, autism spectrum disorders, and schizophrenia.

  9. Androgens in human evolution. A new explanation of human evolution.

    PubMed

    Howard, J

    2001-01-01

    Human evolution consists of chronological changes in gene regulation of a continuous and relatively stable genome, activated by hormones, the production of which is intermittently affected by endogenous and exogenous forces. Periodic variations in the gonadal androgen, testosterone, and the adrenal androgen, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), significantly participated in all hominid transformations. The hominid characteristics of early Australopithecines are primarily a result of increased testosterone. The first significant cold of the early Pleistocene resulted in an increase in DHEA that simultaneously produced Homo and the robust Australopithecines. Subsequent Pleistocene climatic changes and differential reproduction produced changes in DHEA and testosterone ratios that caused extinction of the robust Australopithecines and further changes and continuation of Homo. Changes in testosterone and DHEA produce allometric and behavioral changes that are identifiable and vigorous in modern populations.

  10. A Direct Brain-to-Brain Interface in Humans

    PubMed Central

    Rao, Rajesh P. N.; Stocco, Andrea; Bryan, Matthew; Sarma, Devapratim; Youngquist, Tiffany M.; Wu, Joseph; Prat, Chantel S.

    2014-01-01

    We describe the first direct brain-to-brain interface in humans and present results from experiments involving six different subjects. Our non-invasive interface, demonstrated originally in August 2013, combines electroencephalography (EEG) for recording brain signals with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for delivering information to the brain. We illustrate our method using a visuomotor task in which two humans must cooperate through direct brain-to-brain communication to achieve a desired goal in a computer game. The brain-to-brain interface detects motor imagery in EEG signals recorded from one subject (the “sender”) and transmits this information over the internet to the motor cortex region of a second subject (the “receiver”). This allows the sender to cause a desired motor response in the receiver (a press on a touchpad) via TMS. We quantify the performance of the brain-to-brain interface in terms of the amount of information transmitted as well as the accuracies attained in (1) decoding the sender’s signals, (2) generating a motor response from the receiver upon stimulation, and (3) achieving the overall goal in the cooperative visuomotor task. Our results provide evidence for a rudimentary form of direct information transmission from one human brain to another using non-invasive means. PMID:25372285

  11. A direct brain-to-brain interface in humans.

    PubMed

    Rao, Rajesh P N; Stocco, Andrea; Bryan, Matthew; Sarma, Devapratim; Youngquist, Tiffany M; Wu, Joseph; Prat, Chantel S

    2014-01-01

    We describe the first direct brain-to-brain interface in humans and present results from experiments involving six different subjects. Our non-invasive interface, demonstrated originally in August 2013, combines electroencephalography (EEG) for recording brain signals with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for delivering information to the brain. We illustrate our method using a visuomotor task in which two humans must cooperate through direct brain-to-brain communication to achieve a desired goal in a computer game. The brain-to-brain interface detects motor imagery in EEG signals recorded from one subject (the "sender") and transmits this information over the internet to the motor cortex region of a second subject (the "receiver"). This allows the sender to cause a desired motor response in the receiver (a press on a touchpad) via TMS. We quantify the performance of the brain-to-brain interface in terms of the amount of information transmitted as well as the accuracies attained in (1) decoding the sender's signals, (2) generating a motor response from the receiver upon stimulation, and (3) achieving the overall goal in the cooperative visuomotor task. Our results provide evidence for a rudimentary form of direct information transmission from one human brain to another using non-invasive means.

  12. Mind, Brain and Education: A Decade of Evolution

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Schwartz, Marc

    2015-01-01

    This article examines the evolution of Mind, Brain, and Education (MBE), the field, alongside that of the International Mind, Brain and Education Society (IMBES). The reflections stem mostly from my observations while serving as vice president, president-elect, and president of IMBES during the past 10 years. The article highlights the evolution…

  13. Mind, Brain and Education: A Decade of Evolution

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Schwartz, Marc

    2015-01-01

    This article examines the evolution of Mind, Brain, and Education (MBE), the field, alongside that of the International Mind, Brain and Education Society (IMBES). The reflections stem mostly from my observations while serving as vice president, president-elect, and president of IMBES during the past 10 years. The article highlights the evolution…

  14. Pandora's growing box: Inferring the evolution and development of hominin brains from endocasts.

    PubMed

    Zollikofer, Christoph Peter Eduard; De León, Marcia Silvia Ponce

    2013-01-01

    The brain of modern humans is an evolutionary and developmental outlier: At birth, it has the size of an adult chimpanzee brain and expands by a factor of 2 during the first postnatal year. Large neonatal brain size and rapid initial growth contrast with slow maturation, which extends well into adolescence. When, how, and why this peculiar pattern of brain ontogeny evolved and how it is correlated with structural changes in the brain are key questions of paleoanthropology. Because brains and their ontogenies do not fossilize, indirect evidence from fossil hominin endocasts needs to be combined with evidence from modern humans and our closest living relatives, the great apes. New fossil finds permit a denser sampling of hominin endocranial morphologies along ontogenetic and evolutionary time lines. New brain imaging methods provide the basis for quantifying endocast-brain relationships and tracking endocranial and brain growth and development noninvasively. Combining this evidence with ever-more detailed knowledge about actual and fossil "brain genes," we are now beginning to understand how brain ontogeny and structure were modified during human evolution and what the adaptive significance of these modifications may have been. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  15. Sequence-level mechanisms of human epigenome evolution.

    PubMed

    Prendergast, James G D; Chambers, Emily V; Semple, Colin A M

    2014-06-24

    DNA methylation and chromatin states play key roles in development and disease. However, the extent of recent evolutionary divergence in the human epigenome and the influential factors that have shaped it are poorly understood. To determine the links between genome sequence and human epigenome evolution, we examined the divergence of DNA methylation and chromatin states following segmental duplication events in the human lineage. Chromatin and DNA methylation states were found to have been generally well conserved following a duplication event, with the evolution of the epigenome largely uncoupled from the total number of genetic changes in the surrounding DNA sequence. However, the epigenome at tissue-specific, distal regulatory regions was observed to be unusually prone to diverge following duplication, with particular sequence differences, altering known sequence motifs, found to be associated with divergence in patterns of DNA methylation and chromatin. Alu elements were found to have played a particularly prominent role in shaping human epigenome evolution, and we show that human-specific AluY insertion events are strongly linked to the evolution of the DNA methylation landscape and gene expression levels, including at key neurological genes in the human brain. Studying paralogous regions within the same sample enables the study of the links between genome and epigenome evolution while controlling for biological and technical variation. We show DNA methylation and chromatin divergence between duplicated regions are linked to the divergence of particular genetic motifs, with Alu elements having played a disproportionate role in the evolution of the epigenome in the human lineage.

  16. Brain mechanisms underlying human communication.

    PubMed

    Noordzij, Matthijs L; Newman-Norlund, Sarah E; de Ruiter, Jan Peter; Hagoort, Peter; Levinson, Stephen C; Toni, Ivan

    2009-01-01

    Human communication has been described as involving the coding-decoding of a conventional symbol system, which could be supported by parts of the human motor system (i.e. the "mirror neurons system"). However, this view does not explain how these conventions could develop in the first place. Here we target the neglected but crucial issue of how people organize their non-verbal behavior to communicate a given intention without pre-established conventions. We have measured behavioral and brain responses in pairs of subjects during communicative exchanges occurring in a real, interactive, on-line social context. In two fMRI studies, we found robust evidence that planning new communicative actions (by a sender) and recognizing the communicative intention of the same actions (by a receiver) relied on spatially overlapping portions of their brains (the right posterior superior temporal sulcus). The response of this region was lateralized to the right hemisphere, modulated by the ambiguity in meaning of the communicative acts, but not by their sensorimotor complexity. These results indicate that the sender of a communicative signal uses his own intention recognition system to make a prediction of the intention recognition performed by the receiver. This finding supports the notion that our communicative abilities are distinct from both sensorimotor processes and language abilities.

  17. Brain Mechanisms Underlying Human Communication

    PubMed Central

    Noordzij, Matthijs L.; Newman-Norlund, Sarah E.; de Ruiter, Jan Peter; Hagoort, Peter; Levinson, Stephen C.; Toni, Ivan

    2009-01-01

    Human communication has been described as involving the coding-decoding of a conventional symbol system, which could be supported by parts of the human motor system (i.e. the “mirror neurons system”). However, this view does not explain how these conventions could develop in the first place. Here we target the neglected but crucial issue of how people organize their non-verbal behavior to communicate a given intention without pre-established conventions. We have measured behavioral and brain responses in pairs of subjects during communicative exchanges occurring in a real, interactive, on-line social context. In two fMRI studies, we found robust evidence that planning new communicative actions (by a sender) and recognizing the communicative intention of the same actions (by a receiver) relied on spatially overlapping portions of their brains (the right posterior superior temporal sulcus). The response of this region was lateralized to the right hemisphere, modulated by the ambiguity in meaning of the communicative acts, but not by their sensorimotor complexity. These results indicate that the sender of a communicative signal uses his own intention recognition system to make a prediction of the intention recognition performed by the receiver. This finding supports the notion that our communicative abilities are distinct from both sensorimotor processes and language abilities. PMID:19668699

  18. Brain evolution triggers increased diversification of electric fishes.

    PubMed

    Carlson, Bruce A; Hasan, Saad M; Hollmann, Michael; Miller, Derek B; Harmon, Luke J; Arnegard, Matthew E

    2011-04-29

    Communication can contribute to the evolution of biodiversity by promoting speciation and reinforcing reproductive isolation between existing species. The evolution of species-specific signals depends on the ability of individuals to detect signal variation, which in turn relies on the capability of the brain to process signal information. Here, we show that evolutionary change in a region of the brain devoted to the analysis of communication signals in mormyrid electric fishes improved detection of subtle signal variation and resulted in enhanced rates of signal evolution and species diversification. These results show that neural innovations can drive the diversification of signals and promote speciation.

  19. Vertebral numbers and human evolution.

    PubMed

    Williams, Scott A; Middleton, Emily R; Villamil, Catalina I; Shattuck, Milena R

    2016-01-01

    Ever since Tyson (1699), anatomists have noted and compared differences in the regional numbers of vertebrae among humans and other hominoids. Subsequent workers interpreted these differences in phylogenetic, functional, and behavioral frameworks and speculated on the history of vertebral numbers during human evolution. Even in a modern phylogenetic framework and with greatly expanded sample sizes of hominoid species, researchers' conclusions vary drastically, positing that hominins evolved from either a "long-backed" (numerically long lumbar column) or a "short-backed" (numerically short lumbar column) ancestor. We show that these disparate interpretations are due in part to the use of different criteria for what defines a lumbar vertebra, but argue that, regardless of which lumbar definition is used, hominins are similar to their great ape relatives in possessing a short trunk, a rare occurrence in mammals and one that defines the clade Hominoidea. Furthermore, we address the recent claim that the early hominin thoracolumbar configuration is not distinct from that of modern humans and conclude that early hominins show evidence of "cranial shifting," which might explain the anomalous morphology of several early hominin fossils. Finally, we evaluate the competing hypotheses on numbers of vertebrae and argue that the current data support a hominin ancestor with an African ape-like short trunk and lower back. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  20. Frequency interactions in human epileptic brain.

    PubMed

    Cotic, Marija; Zalay, Osbert; Valiante, Taufik; Carlen, Peter L; Bardakjian, Berj L

    2011-01-01

    We have used two algorithms, wavelet phase coherence (WPC) and modulation index (MI) analysis to study frequency interactions in the human epileptic brain. Quantitative analyses were performed on intracranial electroencephalographic (iEEG) segments from three patients with neocortical epilepsy. Interelectrode coherence was measured using WPC and intraelectrode frequency interactions were analyzed using MI. WPC was performed on electrode pairings and the temporal evolution of phase couplings in the following frequency ranges: 1-4 Hz, 4-8 Hz, 8-13 Hz, 13-30 Hz and 30-100 Hz was studied. WPC was strongest in the 1-4 Hz frequency range during both seizure and non-seizure activities; however, WPC values varied minimally between electrode pairings. The 13-30 Hz band showed the lowest WPC values during seizure activity. MI analysis yielded two prominent patterns of frequency-specific activity, during seizure and non-seizure activities, which were present across all patients.

  1. Evolutionary origins of human brain and spirituality.

    PubMed

    Henneberg, Maciej; Saniotis, Arthur

    2009-12-01

    Evolving brains produce minds. Minds operate on imaginary entities. Thus they can create what does not exist in the physical world. Spirits can be deified. Perception of spiritual entities is emotional--organic. Spirituality is a part of culture while culture is an adaptive mechanism of human groups as it allows for technology and social organization to support survival and reproduction. Humans are not rational, they are emotional. Most of explanations of the world, offered by various cultures, involve an element of "fiat", a will of a higher spiritual being, or a reference to some ideal. From this the rules of behaviour are deduced. These rules are necessary to maintain social peace and allow a complex unit consisting of individuals of both sexes and all ages to function in a way ensuring their reproductive success and thus survival. There is thus a direct biological benefit of complex ideological superstructure of culture. This complex superstructure most often takes a form of religion in which logic is mixed with appeals to emotions based on images of spiritual beings. God is a consequence of natural evolution. Whether a deity is a cause of this evolution is difficult to discover, but existence of a deity cannot be questioned.

  2. Sexual selection and the evolution of brain size in primates.

    PubMed

    Schillaci, Michael A

    2006-12-20

    Reproductive competition among males has long been considered a powerful force in the evolution of primates. The evolution of brain size and complexity in the Order Primates has been widely regarded as the hallmark of primate evolutionary history. Despite their importance to our understanding of primate evolution, the relationship between sexual selection and the evolutionary development of brain size is not well studied. The present research examines the evolutionary relationship between brain size and two components of primate sexual selection, sperm competition and male competition for mates. Results indicate that there is not a significant relationship between relative brain size and sperm competition as measured by relative testis size in primates, suggesting sperm competition has not played an important role in the evolution of brain size in the primate order. There is, however, a significant negative evolutionary relationship between relative brain size and the level of male competition for mates. The present study shows that the largest relative brain sizes among primate species are associated with monogamous mating systems, suggesting primate monogamy may require greater social acuity and abilities of deception.

  3. Human Brain Reacts to Transcranial Extraocular Light.

    PubMed

    Sun, Lihua; Peräkylä, Jari; Kovalainen, Anselmi; Ogawa, Keith H; Karhunen, Pekka J; Hartikainen, Kaisa M

    2016-01-01

    Transcranial extraocular light affects the brains of birds and modulates their seasonal changes in physiology and behavior. However, whether the human brain is sensitive to extraocular light is unknown. To test whether extraocular light has any effect on human brain functioning, we measured brain electrophysiology of 18 young healthy subjects using event-related potentials while they performed a visual attention task embedded with emotional distractors. Extraocular light delivered via ear canals abolished normal emotional modulation of attention related brain responses. With no extraocular light delivered, emotional distractors reduced centro-parietal P300 amplitude compared to neutral distractors. This phenomenon disappeared with extraocular light delivery. Extraocular light delivered through the ear canals was shown to penetrate at the base of the scull of a cadaver. Thus, we have shown that extraocular light impacts human brain functioning calling for further research on the mechanisms of action of light on the human brain.

  4. Investigating Human Evolution Using Digital Imaging & Craniometry

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Robertson, John C.

    2007-01-01

    Human evolution is an important and intriguing area of biology. The significance of evolution as a component of biology curricula, at all levels, can not be overstated; the need to make the most of opportunities to effectively educate students in evolution as a central and unifying realm of biology is paramount. Developing engaging laboratory or…

  5. Investigating Human Evolution Using Digital Imaging & Craniometry

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Robertson, John C.

    2007-01-01

    Human evolution is an important and intriguing area of biology. The significance of evolution as a component of biology curricula, at all levels, can not be overstated; the need to make the most of opportunities to effectively educate students in evolution as a central and unifying realm of biology is paramount. Developing engaging laboratory or…

  6. Genetic Changes Shaping the Human Brain

    PubMed Central

    Bae, Byoung-il; Jayaraman, Divya; Walsh, Christopher A.

    2015-01-01

    Summary The development and function of our brain are governed by a genetic blueprint, which reflects dynamic changes over the history of evolution. Recent progress in genetics and genomics, facilitated by next-generation sequencing and single-cell sorting, has identified numerous genomic loci that are associated with a neuroanatomical or neurobehavioral phenotype. Here, we review some of the genetic changes in both protein-coding and noncoding regions that affect brain development and evolution, as well as recent progress in brain transcriptomics. Understanding these genetic changes may provide novel insights into neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia. PMID:25710529

  7. Metabolic costs and evolutionary implications of human brain development

    PubMed Central

    Kuzawa, Christopher W.; Chugani, Harry T.; Grossman, Lawrence I.; Lipovich, Leonard; Muzik, Otto; Hof, Patrick R.; Wildman, Derek E.; Sherwood, Chet C.; Leonard, William R.; Lange, Nicholas

    2014-01-01

    The high energetic costs of human brain development have been hypothesized to explain distinctive human traits, including exceptionally slow and protracted preadult growth. Although widely assumed to constrain life-history evolution, the metabolic requirements of the growing human brain are unknown. We combined previously collected PET and MRI data to calculate the human brain’s glucose use from birth to adulthood, which we compare with body growth rate. We evaluate the strength of brain–body metabolic trade-offs using the ratios of brain glucose uptake to the body’s resting metabolic rate (RMR) and daily energy requirements (DER) expressed in glucose-gram equivalents (glucosermr% and glucoseder%). We find that glucosermr% and glucoseder% do not peak at birth (52.5% and 59.8% of RMR, or 35.4% and 38.7% of DER, for males and females, respectively), when relative brain size is largest, but rather in childhood (66.3% and 65.0% of RMR and 43.3% and 43.8% of DER). Body-weight growth (dw/dt) and both glucosermr% and glucoseder% are strongly, inversely related: soon after birth, increases in brain glucose demand are accompanied by proportionate decreases in dw/dt. Ages of peak brain glucose demand and lowest dw/dt co-occur and subsequent developmental declines in brain metabolism are matched by proportionate increases in dw/dt until puberty. The finding that human brain glucose demands peak during childhood, and evidence that brain metabolism and body growth rate covary inversely across development, support the hypothesis that the high costs of human brain development require compensatory slowing of body growth rate. PMID:25157149

  8. Spatial Evolution of Human Dialects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burridge, James

    2017-07-01

    The geographical pattern of human dialects is a result of history. Here, we formulate a simple spatial model of language change which shows that the final result of this historical evolution may, to some extent, be predictable. The model shows that the boundaries of language dialect regions are controlled by a length minimizing effect analogous to surface tension, mediated by variations in population density which can induce curvature, and by the shape of coastline or similar borders. The predictability of dialect regions arises because these effects will drive many complex, randomized early states toward one of a smaller number of stable final configurations. The model is able to reproduce observations and predictions of dialectologists. These include dialect continua, isogloss bundling, fanning, the wavelike spread of dialect features from cities, and the impact of human movement on the number of dialects that an area can support. The model also provides an analytical form for Séguy's curve giving the relationship between geographical and linguistic distance, and a generalization of the curve to account for the presence of a population center. A simple modification allows us to analytically characterize the variation of language use by age in an area undergoing linguistic change.

  9. Lipid transport and human brain development.

    PubMed

    Betsholtz, Christer

    2015-07-01

    How the human brain rapidly builds up its lipid content during brain growth and maintains its lipids in adulthood has remained elusive. Two new studies show that inactivating mutations in MFSD2A, known to be expressed specifically at the blood-brain barrier, lead to microcephaly, thereby offering a simple and surprising solution to an old enigma.

  10. Dating of Modern Human Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grun, R.

    Dating studies on palaoeanthropological sites is usually carried out on material associ- ated with the human remains, such as the sediment, charcoal or other fauna rather than the human specimen itself. The reason lies in the fact that most dating techniques are destructive and because the hominid remains are too rare to be sacrificed for dating. This indirect dating approach is in many cases not satisfactory, because: (i) the human remains are often buried into the sediments and the association with other materials is uncertain (e.g. Skhul, Qafzeh, etc.); (ii) faunal remains or minerals from the sediment are re-worked from older deposits (see e.g. present discussion of the age of the Homo erectus remains in Indonesia; (iii) the hominid fossils were discovered at a time when no careful excavations were carried out and it is impossible to correlate the specimen with other datable material (which applies tonearly 90% of all palaeoanthropological specimens). For example, the hominid burial site of Qafzeh in Israel has been dated by several independent dating laboratories with a multitude of methods. However, the data are still not accepted by some because the dating has not been carried out on the hominid specimen. Until recently, hominid fossils could only be dated by radiocarbon. This method reaches back to about 40,000 years. As a consequence, all the older fossils could not be analysed and many important questions in our understanding of human evolution could not be addressed. Human remains are scarce and extremely valuable, therefore any sort of destruction has to be kept to an absolute minimum. This is of particular importance in Australia where any human fossils are sacred. Thus, for the analysis of hominid material it was necessary to develop a more or less non-destructive techniques. This has been ac- complished in recent years by the application of ESR dating of tooth enamel and a combination of gamma spectrometric and TIMS U-series dating of bones. The exam

  11. Not all brains are made the same: new views on brain scaling in evolution.

    PubMed

    Herculano-Houzel, Suzana

    2011-01-01

    Evolution has generated mammalian brains that vary by a factor of over 100,000 in mass. Despite such tremendous diversity, brain scaling in mammalian evolution has tacitly been considered a homogeneous phenomenon in terms of numbers of neurons, neuronal density, and the ratio between glial and neuronal cells, with brains of different sizes viewed as similarly scaled-up or scaled-down versions of a shared basic plan. According to this traditional view, larger brains would have more neurons, smaller neuronal densities (and, hence, larger neurons), and larger glia/neuron ratios than smaller brains. Larger brains would also have a cerebellum that maintains its relative size constant and a cerebral cortex that becomes relatively larger to the point that brain evolution is often equated with cerebral cortical expansion. Here I review our recent data on the numbers of neuronal and nonneuronal cells that compose the brains of 28 mammalian species belonging to 3 large clades (Eulipotyphla, Glires, and Primata, plus the related Scandentia) and show that, contrary to the traditional notion of shared brain scaling, both the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum scale in size as clade-specific functions of their numbers of neurons. As a consequence, neuronal density and the glia/neuron ratio do not scale universally with structure mass and, most importantly, mammalian brains of a similar size can hold very different numbers of neurons. Remarkably, the increased relative size of the cerebral cortex in larger brains does not reflect an increased relative concentration of neurons in the structure. Instead, the cerebral cortex and cerebellum appear to gain neurons coordinately across mammalian species. Brain scaling in evolution, hence, should no longer be equated with an increasing dominance of the cerebral cortex but rather with the concerted addition of neurons to both the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum. Strikingly, all brains appear to gain nonneuronal cells in a similar

  12. Towards multimodal atlases of the human brain

    PubMed Central

    Toga, Arthur W.; Thompson, Paul M.; Mori, Susumu; Amunts, Katrin; Zilles, Karl

    2010-01-01

    Atlases of the human brain have an important impact on neuroscience. The emergence of ever more sophisticated imaging techniques, brain mapping methods and analytical strategies has the potential to revolutionize the concept of the brain atlas. Atlases can now combine data describing multiple aspects of brain structure or function at different scales from different subjects, yielding a truly integrative and comprehensive description of this organ. These integrative approaches have provided significant impetus for the human brain mapping initiatives, and have important applications in health and disease. PMID:17115077

  13. Genetic architecture supports mosaic brain evolution and independent brain-body size regulation.

    PubMed

    Hager, Reinmar; Lu, Lu; Rosen, Glenn D; Williams, Robert W

    2012-01-01

    The mammalian brain consists of distinct parts that fulfil different functions. Finlay and Darlington have argued that evolution of the mammalian brain is constrained by developmental programs, suggesting that different brain parts are not free to respond individually to selection and evolve independent of other parts or overall brain size. However, comparisons among mammals with matched brain weights often reveal greater differences in brain part size, arguing against strong developmental constraints. Here we test these hypotheses using a quantitative genetic approach involving over 10,000 mice. We identify independent loci for size variation in seven key parts of the brain, and observe that brain parts show low or no phenotypic correlation, as is predicted by a mosaic scenario. We also demonstrate that variation in brain size is independently regulated from body size. The allometric relations seen at higher phylogenetic levels are thus unlikely to be the product of strong developmental constraints.

  14. Brain evolution relating to family, play, and the separation call.

    PubMed

    MacLean, P D

    1985-04-01

    Mammals stem from the mammal-like reptiles (therapsids) that were widely prevalent in Pangaea 250 million years ago. In the evolutionary transition from reptiles to mammals, three key developments were (1) nursing, in conjunction with maternal care; (2) audiovocal communication for maintaining maternal-offspring contact; and (3) play. The separation call perhaps ranks as the earliest and most basic mammalian vocalization, while play may have functioned originally to promote harmony in the nest. How did such family related behavior develop? In its evolution, the forebrain of advanced mammals has expanded as a triune structure that anatomically and chemically reflects ancestral commonalities with reptiles, early mammals, and late mammals. Recent findings suggest that the development of the behavioral triad in question may have depended on the evolution of the thalamocingulate division of the limbic system, a derivative from early mammals. The thalamocingulate division (which has no distinctive counterpart in the reptilian brain) is, in turn, geared in with the prefrontal neocortex that, in human beings, may be inferred to play a key role in familial acculturation.

  15. Transposable element insertions have strongly affected human evolution.

    PubMed

    Britten, Roy J

    2010-11-16

    Comparison of a full collection of the transposable element (TE) sequences of vertebrates with genome sequences shows that the human genome makes 655 perfect full-length matches. The cause is that the human genome contains many active TEs that have caused TE inserts in relatively recent times. These TE inserts in the human genome are several types of young Alus (AluYa5, AluYb8, AluYc1, etc.). Work in many laboratories has shown that such inserts have many effects including changes in gene expression, increases in recombination, and unequal crossover. The time of these very effective changes in the human lineage genome extends back about 4 million years according to these data and very likely much earlier. Rapid human lineage-specific evolution, including brain size is known to have also occurred in the last few million years. Alu insertions likely underlie rapid human lineage evolution. They are known to have many effects. Examples are listed in which TE sequences have influenced human-specific genes. The proposed model is that the many TE insertions created many potentially effective changes and those selected were responsible for a part of the striking human lineage evolution. The combination of the results of these events that were selected during human lineage evolution was apparently effective in producing a successful and rapidly evolving species.

  16. Phylogenomic evidence of adaptive evolution in the ancestry of humans

    PubMed Central

    Goodman, Morris; Sterner, Kirstin N.

    2010-01-01

    In Charles Darwin’s tree model for life’s evolution, natural selection adaptively modifies newly arisen species as they branch apart from their common ancestor. In accord with this Darwinian concept, the phylogenomic approach to elucidating adaptive evolution in genes and genomes in the ancestry of modern humans requires a well supported and well sampled phylogeny that accurately places humans and other primates and mammals with respect to one another. For more than a century, first from the comparative immunological work of Nuttall on blood sera and now from comparative genomic studies, molecular findings have demonstrated the close kinship of humans to chimpanzees. The close genetic correspondence of chimpanzees to humans and the relative shortness of our evolutionary separation suggest that most distinctive features of the modern human phenotype had already evolved during our ancestry with chimpanzees. Thus, a phylogenomic assessment of being human should examine earlier stages of human ancestry as well as later stages. In addition, with the availability of a number of mammalian genomes, similarities in phenotype between distantly related taxa should be explored for evidence of convergent or parallel adaptive evolution. As an example, recent phylogenomic evidence has shown that adaptive evolution of aerobic energy metabolism genes may have helped shape such distinctive modern human features as long life spans and enlarged brains in the ancestries of both humans and elephants. PMID:20445097

  17. Brain Activity and Human Unilateral Chewing

    PubMed Central

    Quintero, A.; Ichesco, E.; Myers, C.; Schutt, R.; Gerstner, G.E.

    2012-01-01

    Brain mechanisms underlying mastication have been studied in non-human mammals but less so in humans. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to evaluate brain activity in humans during gum chewing. Chewing was associated with activations in the cerebellum, motor cortex and caudate, cingulate, and brainstem. We also divided the 25-second chew-blocks into 5 segments of equal 5-second durations and evaluated activations within and between each of the 5 segments. This analysis revealed activation clusters unique to the initial segment, which may indicate brain regions involved with initiating chewing. Several clusters were uniquely activated during the last segment as well, which may represent brain regions involved with anticipatory or motor events associated with the end of the chew-block. In conclusion, this study provided evidence for specific brain areas associated with chewing in humans and demonstrated that brain activation patterns may dynamically change over the course of chewing sequences. PMID:23103631

  18. Environmental variation and the evolution of large brains in birds

    PubMed Central

    Sayol, Ferran; Maspons, Joan; Lapiedra, Oriol; Iwaniuk, Andrew N.; Székely, Tamás; Sol, Daniel

    2016-01-01

    Environmental variability has long been postulated as a major selective force in the evolution of large brains. However, assembling evidence for this hypothesis has proved difficult. Here, by combining brain size information for over 1,200 bird species with remote-sensing analyses to estimate temporal variation in ecosystem productivity, we show that larger brains (relative to body size) are more likely to occur in species exposed to larger environmental variation throughout their geographic range. Our reconstructions of evolutionary trajectories are consistent with the hypothesis that larger brains (relative to body size) evolved when the species invaded more seasonal regions. However, the alternative—that the species already possessed larger brains when they invaded more seasonal regions—cannot be completely ruled out. Regardless of the exact mechanism, our findings provide strong empirical support for the association between large brains and environmental variability. PMID:28004733

  19. Brain anatomical networks in early human brain development.

    PubMed

    Fan, Yong; Shi, Feng; Smith, Jeffrey Keith; Lin, Weili; Gilmore, John H; Shen, Dinggang

    2011-02-01

    Recent neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that human brain networks have economic small-world topology and modular organization, enabling efficient information transfer among brain regions. However, it remains largely unknown how the small-world topology and modular organization of human brain networks emerge and develop. Using longitudinal MRI data of 28 healthy pediatric subjects, collected at their ages of 1 month, 1 year, and 2 years, we analyzed development patterns of brain anatomical networks derived from morphological correlations of brain regional volumes. The results show that the brain network of 1-month-olds has the characteristically economic small-world topology and nonrandom modular organization. The network's cost efficiency increases with the brain development to 1 year and 2 years, so does the modularity, providing supportive evidence for the hypothesis that the small-world topology and the modular organization of brain networks are established during early brain development to support rapid synchronization and information transfer with minimal rewiring cost, as well as to balance between local processing and global integration of information. Copyright © 2010. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  20. Reconsidering the evolution of brain, cognition, and behavior in birds and mammals

    PubMed Central

    Willemet, Romain

    2013-01-01

    Despite decades of research, some of the most basic issues concerning the extraordinarily complex brains and behavior of birds and mammals, such as the factors responsible for the diversity of brain size and composition, are still unclear. This is partly due to a number of conceptual and methodological issues. Determining species and group differences in brain composition requires accounting for the presence of taxon-cerebrotypes and the use of precise statistical methods. The role of allometry in determining brain variables should be revised. In particular, bird and mammalian brains appear to have evolved in response to a variety of selective pressures influencing both brain size and composition. “Brain” and “cognition” are indeed meta-variables, made up of the variables that are ecologically relevant and evolutionarily selected. External indicators of species differences in cognition and behavior are limited by the complexity of these differences. Indeed, behavioral differences between species and individuals are caused by cognitive and affective components. Although intra-species variability forms the basis of species evolution, some of the mechanisms underlying individual differences in brain and behavior appear to differ from those between species. While many issues have persisted over the years because of a lack of appropriate data or methods to test them; several fallacies, particularly those related to the human brain, reflect scientists' preconceptions. The theoretical framework on the evolution of brain, cognition, and behavior in birds and mammals should be reconsidered with these biases in mind. PMID:23847570

  1. Red ochre and shells: clues to human evolution.

    PubMed

    Duarte, Carlos M

    2014-10-01

    The 200-kiloannus (ka) use of red ochre and shells by humans is interpreted as a simple clue of symbolic thinking. Integration of multiple lines of evidence supports the opinion that the use of red ochre and shells might have had direct significance for human evolution. Use of seafood and red ochre supplies docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), possibly iron, and other essential nutrients for brain development and reproductive health, improving human fitness and triggering brain growth. The fitness advantages to humans of using shells, and possibly red ochre, might have selected for artistic and symbolic expression, and, thereby, lead to social cohesion. Current global health syndromes show that an adequate supply of seafood and iron continues to play a fundamental role in human health. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Brain enlargement and dental reduction were not linked in hominin evolution

    PubMed Central

    Smaers, Jeroen B.; Holloway, Ralph L.

    2017-01-01

    The large brain and small postcanine teeth of modern humans are among our most distinctive features, and trends in their evolution are well studied within the hominin clade. Classic accounts hypothesize that larger brains and smaller teeth coevolved because behavioral changes associated with increased brain size allowed a subsequent dental reduction. However, recent studies have found mismatches between trends in brain enlargement and posterior tooth size reduction in some hominin species. We use a multiple-variance Brownian motion approach in association with evolutionary simulations to measure the tempo and mode of the evolution of endocranial and dental size and shape within the hominin clade. We show that hominin postcanine teeth have evolved at a relatively consistent neutral rate, whereas brain size evolved at comparatively more heterogeneous rates that cannot be explained by a neutral model, with rapid pulses in the branches leading to later Homo species. Brain reorganization shows evidence of elevated rates only much later in hominin evolution, suggesting that fast-evolving traits such as the acquisition of a globular shape may be the result of direct or indirect selection for functional or structural traits typical of modern humans. PMID:28049819

  3. Evolution of brain-body allometry in Lake Tanganyika cichlids.

    PubMed

    Tsuboi, Masahito; Kotrschal, Alexander; Hayward, Alexander; Buechel, Severine Denise; Zidar, Josefina; Løvlie, Hanne; Kolm, Niclas

    2016-07-01

    Brain size is strongly associated with body size in all vertebrates. This relationship has been hypothesized to be an important constraint on adaptive brain size evolution. The essential assumption behind this idea is that static (i.e., within species) brain-body allometry has low ability to evolve. However, recent studies have reported mixed support for this view. Here, we examine brain-body static allometry in Lake Tanganyika cichlids using a phylogenetic comparative framework. We found considerable variation in the static allometric intercept, which explained the majority of variation in absolute and relative brain size. In contrast, the slope of the brain-body static allometry had relatively low variation, which explained less variation in absolute and relative brain size compared to the intercept and body size. Further examination of the tempo and mode of evolution of static allometric parameters confirmed these observations. Moreover, the estimated evolutionary parameters indicate that the limited observed variation in the static allometric slope could be a result of strong stabilizing selection. Overall, our findings suggest that the brain-body static allometric slope may represent an evolutionary constraint in Lake Tanganyika cichlids. © 2016 The Author(s).

  4. Brain graphs: graphical models of the human brain connectome.

    PubMed

    Bullmore, Edward T; Bassett, Danielle S

    2011-01-01

    Brain graphs provide a relatively simple and increasingly popular way of modeling the human brain connectome, using graph theory to abstractly define a nervous system as a set of nodes (denoting anatomical regions or recording electrodes) and interconnecting edges (denoting structural or functional connections). Topological and geometrical properties of these graphs can be measured and compared to random graphs and to graphs derived from other neuroscience data or other (nonneural) complex systems. Both structural and functional human brain graphs have consistently demonstrated key topological properties such as small-worldness, modularity, and heterogeneous degree distributions. Brain graphs are also physically embedded so as to nearly minimize wiring cost, a key geometric property. Here we offer a conceptual review and methodological guide to graphical analysis of human neuroimaging data, with an emphasis on some of the key assumptions, issues, and trade-offs facing the investigator.

  5. Why are there so many explanations for primate brain evolution?

    PubMed Central

    2017-01-01

    The question as to why primates have evolved unusually large brains has received much attention, with many alternative proposals all supported by evidence. We review the main hypotheses, the assumptions they make and the evidence for and against them. Taking as our starting point the fact that every hypothesis has sound empirical evidence to support it, we argue that the hypotheses are best interpreted in terms of a framework of evolutionary causes (selection factors), consequences (evolutionary windows of opportunity) and constraints (usually physiological limitations requiring resolution if large brains are to evolve). Explanations for brain evolution in birds and mammals generally, and primates in particular, have to be seen against the backdrop of the challenges involved with the evolution of coordinated, cohesive, bonded social groups that require novel social behaviours for their resolution, together with the specialized cognition and neural substrates that underpin this. A crucial, but frequently overlooked, issue is that fact that the evolution of large brains required energetic, physiological and time budget constraints to be overcome. In some cases, this was reflected in the evolution of ‘smart foraging’ and technical intelligence, but in many cases required the evolution of behavioural competences (such as coalition formation) that required novel cognitive skills. These may all have been supported by a domain-general form of cognition that can be used in many different contexts. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Physiological determinants of social behaviour in animals’. PMID:28673920

  6. Human evolution: the non-coding revolution.

    PubMed

    Franchini, Lucía F; Pollard, Katherine S

    2017-10-02

    What made us human? Gene expression changes clearly played a significant part in human evolution, but pinpointing the causal regulatory mutations is hard. Comparative genomics enabled the identification of human accelerated regions (HARs) and other human-specific genome sequences. The major challenge in the past decade has been to link diverged sequences to uniquely human biology. This review discusses approaches to this problem, progress made at the molecular level, and prospects for moving towards genetic causes for uniquely human biology.

  7. The social brain hypothesis and its implications for social evolution.

    PubMed

    Dunbar, R I M

    2009-01-01

    The social brain hypothesis was proposed as an explanation for the fact that primates have unusually large brains for body size compared to all other vertebrates: Primates evolved large brains to manage their unusually complex social systems. Although this proposal has been generalized to all vertebrate taxa as an explanation for brain evolution, recent analyses suggest that the social brain hypothesis takes a very different form in other mammals and birds than it does in anthropoid primates. In primates, there is a quantitative relationship between brain size and social group size (group size is a monotonic function of brain size), presumably because the cognitive demands of sociality place a constraint on the number of individuals that can be maintained in a coherent group. In other mammals and birds, the relationship is a qualitative one: Large brains are associated with categorical differences in mating system, with species that have pairbonded mating systems having the largest brains. It seems that anthropoid primates may have generalized the bonding processes that characterize monogamous pairbonds to other non-reproductive relationships ('friendships'), thereby giving rise to the quantitative relationship between group size and brain size that we find in this taxon. This raises issues about why bonded relationships are cognitively so demanding (and, indeed, raises questions about what a bonded relationship actually is), and when and why primates undertook this change in social style.

  8. Modeling human brain development with cerebral organoids.

    PubMed

    Muzio, Luca; Consalez, G Giacomo

    2013-01-01

    The recent discovery of a new three-dimensional culture system for the derivation of cerebral organoids from human induced pluripotent stem cells provides developmental neurobiologists with the first example of a three-dimensional framework for the study of human brain development. This innovative approach permits the in vitro assembly of a human embryonic brain rudiment that recapitulates the developing human cerebrum. Organoids contain progenitor populations that develop to yield mature cortical neuron subtypes, potentially allowing investigators to study complex brain diseases that lack appropriate animal models.

  9. BrainScope: interactive visual exploration of the spatial and temporal human brain transcriptome.

    PubMed

    Huisman, Sjoerd M H; van Lew, Baldur; Mahfouz, Ahmed; Pezzotti, Nicola; Höllt, Thomas; Michielsen, Lieke; Vilanova, Anna; Reinders, Marcel J T; Lelieveldt, Boudewijn P F

    2017-06-02

    Spatial and temporal brain transcriptomics has recently emerged as an invaluable data source for molecular neuroscience. The complexity of such data poses considerable challenges for analysis and visualization. We present BrainScope: a web portal for fast, interactive visual exploration of the Allen Atlases of the adult and developing human brain transcriptome. Through a novel methodology to explore high-dimensional data (dual t-SNE), BrainScope enables the linked, all-in-one visualization of genes and samples across the whole brain and genome, and across developmental stages. We show that densities in t-SNE scatter plots of the spatial samples coincide with anatomical regions, and that densities in t-SNE scatter plots of the genes represent gene co-expression modules that are significantly enriched for biological functions. We also show that the topography of the gene t-SNE maps reflect brain region-specific gene functions, enabling hypothesis and data driven research. We demonstrate the discovery potential of BrainScope through three examples: (i) analysis of cell type specific gene sets, (ii) analysis of a set of stable gene co-expression modules across the adult human donors and (iii) analysis of the evolution of co-expression of oligodendrocyte specific genes over developmental stages. BrainScope is publicly accessible at www.brainscope.nl. © The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

  10. The origins of the vocal brain in humans.

    PubMed

    Belyk, Michel; Brown, Steven

    2017-03-27

    The evolution of vocal communication in humans required the emergence of not only voluntary control of the vocal apparatus and a flexible vocal repertoire, but the capacity for vocal learning. All of these capacities are lacking in non-human primates, suggesting that the vocal brain underwent significant modifications during human evolution. We review research spanning from early neurophysiological descriptions of great apes to the state of the art in human neuroimaging on the neural organization of the larynx motor cortex, the major regulator of vocalization for both speech and song in humans. We describe changes to the location, structure, function, and connectivity of the larynx motor cortex in humans compared with non-human primates, including critical gaps in the current understanding of the brain systems mediating vocal control and vocal learning. We explore a number of models of the origins of the vocal brain that incorporate findings from comparative neuroscience, and conclude by presenting a summary of contemporary hypotheses that can guide future research.

  11. Human-like brain hemispheric dominance in birdsong learning

    PubMed Central

    Moorman, Sanne; Gobes, Sharon M. H.; Kuijpers, Maaike; Kerkhofs, Amber; Zandbergen, Matthijs A.; Bolhuis, Johan J.

    2012-01-01

    Unlike nonhuman primates, songbirds learn to vocalize very much like human infants acquire spoken language. In humans, Broca’s area in the frontal lobe and Wernicke’s area in the temporal lobe are crucially involved in speech production and perception, respectively. Songbirds have analogous brain regions that show a similar neural dissociation between vocal production and auditory perception and memory. In both humans and songbirds, there is evidence for lateralization of neural responsiveness in these brain regions. Human infants already show left-sided dominance in their brain activation when exposed to speech. Moreover, a memory-specific left-sided dominance in Wernicke’s area for speech perception has been demonstrated in 2.5-mo-old babies. It is possible that auditory-vocal learning is associated with hemispheric dominance and that this association arose in songbirds and humans through convergent evolution. Therefore, we investigated whether there is similar song memory-related lateralization in the songbird brain. We exposed male zebra finches to tutor or unfamiliar song. We found left-sided dominance of neuronal activation in a Broca-like brain region (HVC, a letter-based name) of juvenile and adult zebra finch males, independent of the song stimulus presented. In addition, juvenile males showed left-sided dominance for tutor song but not for unfamiliar song in a Wernicke-like brain region (the caudomedial nidopallium). Thus, left-sided dominance in the caudomedial nidopallium was specific for the song-learning phase and was memory-related. These findings demonstrate a remarkable neural parallel between birdsong and human spoken language, and they have important consequences for our understanding of the evolution of auditory-vocal learning and its neural mechanisms. PMID:22802637

  12. Human-like brain hemispheric dominance in birdsong learning.

    PubMed

    Moorman, Sanne; Gobes, Sharon M H; Kuijpers, Maaike; Kerkhofs, Amber; Zandbergen, Matthijs A; Bolhuis, Johan J

    2012-07-31

    Unlike nonhuman primates, songbirds learn to vocalize very much like human infants acquire spoken language. In humans, Broca's area in the frontal lobe and Wernicke's area in the temporal lobe are crucially involved in speech production and perception, respectively. Songbirds have analogous brain regions that show a similar neural dissociation between vocal production and auditory perception and memory. In both humans and songbirds, there is evidence for lateralization of neural responsiveness in these brain regions. Human infants already show left-sided dominance in their brain activation when exposed to speech. Moreover, a memory-specific left-sided dominance in Wernicke's area for speech perception has been demonstrated in 2.5-mo-old babies. It is possible that auditory-vocal learning is associated with hemispheric dominance and that this association arose in songbirds and humans through convergent evolution. Therefore, we investigated whether there is similar song memory-related lateralization in the songbird brain. We exposed male zebra finches to tutor or unfamiliar song. We found left-sided dominance of neuronal activation in a Broca-like brain region (HVC, a letter-based name) of juvenile and adult zebra finch males, independent of the song stimulus presented. In addition, juvenile males showed left-sided dominance for tutor song but not for unfamiliar song in a Wernicke-like brain region (the caudomedial nidopallium). Thus, left-sided dominance in the caudomedial nidopallium was specific for the song-learning phase and was memory-related. These findings demonstrate a remarkable neural parallel between birdsong and human spoken language, and they have important consequences for our understanding of the evolution of auditory-vocal learning and its neural mechanisms.

  13. Quantitative magnetization transfer by trains of radio frequency pulses in human brain: extension of a free evolution model to continuous-wave-like conditions.

    PubMed

    Helms, Gunther; Piringer, Andreas

    2005-07-01

    A theoretical model of free evolution between repeated magnetic transfer (MT) pulses was extended to continuous-wave (CW)-like conditions showing that only the repetitive "direct" saturation of bulk water changes the transient and stationary behavior. The influence of the pulse repetition period (PR) on progressive saturation was studied in cortical gray matter (GM) and central white matter (WM) under conditions of short periods of free evolution and strong macromolecular saturation. Interpulse delays of 3 ms were achieved in vivo on a 1.5-T MR system with bell-shaped MT pulses of 12-ms duration and nominal flip angles of up to 1440 degrees and single-shot readout by a stimulated echo acquisition mode localization sequence. The frequency offset was chosen between 1 and 3 kHz to avoid excessive direct saturation. The stationary MT ratio (MTR) followed an inverse linear PR dependence, showing a consistent partial saturation of about 90% at zero PR for both WM and GM. Comparison to a relaxation-matched liquid indicated the presence of MT, but not necessarily of direct saturation. The transient behavior indicated considerable direct saturation, but this could also be explained by MT. These inconsistencies showed that the intervals of time evolution in our experiments were too long to be modeled by CW-like conditions. Free evolution takes place during the whole PR rather than during the interpulse delay only. Quantification using the rates of free evolution theory yielded the saturations and rate constants necessary to explain the observed behavior. The theory of rapid CW-like pulsing provides an upper limit for the rate of progressive saturation. This limit is approached at PR below an estimated value of 5 ms. The phenomenological PR dependence of the steady-state MTR may indicate that MT exceeded the direct saturation. Unlike to an idealized CW experiment, the extrapolated value at zero PR is subject to direct effects and not a physically meaningful constant.

  14. A Hypothesis for the Composition of the Tardigrade Brain and its Implications for Panarthropod Brain Evolution.

    PubMed

    Smith, Frank W; Bartels, Paul J; Goldstein, Bob

    2017-09-01

    Incredibly disparate brain types are found in Metazoa, which raises the question of how this disparity evolved. Ecdysozoa includes representatives that exhibit ring-like brains-the Cycloneuralia-and representatives that exhibit ganglionic brains-the Panarthropoda (Euarthropoda, Onychophora, and Tardigrada). The evolutionary steps leading to these distinct brain types are unclear. Phylogenomic analyses suggest that the enigmatic Tardigrada is a closely related outgroup of a Euarthropoda + Onychophora clade; as such, the brains of tardigrades may provide insight into the evolution of ecdysozoan brains. Recently, evolutionarily salient questions have arisen regarding the composition of the tardigrade brain. To address these questions, we investigated brain anatomy in four tardigrade species-Hypsibius dujardini, Milnesium n. sp., Echiniscus n. sp., and Batillipes n. sp.-that together span Tardigrada. Our results suggest that general brain morphology is conserved across Tardigrada. Based on our results we present a hypothesis that proposes direct parallels between the tardigrade brain and the segmental trunk ganglia of the tardigrade ventral nervous system. In this hypothesis, brain neuropil nearly circumscribes the tardigrade foregut. We suggest that the tardigrade brain retains aspects of an ancestral cycloneuralian brain, while exhibiting ganglionic structure characteristic of euarthropods and onychophorans. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.All rights reserved. For permissions please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  15. MRI Magnet for Human Brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Urayama, Shin-Ichi

    Recent rapid demand increase and supply decrease for helium has raised the price in these years. Superconducting magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) magnets, which consume 20% of global production of helium as the cryogen, are therefore expected to be helium-free and high-temperature superconducting (HTS) materials are potent candidates to realize this. Because of the reason, we developed a cryogen-free 3T-MRI scanner for human brain research using Bi-2223 tapes. For scanning a subject in sitting position, a vertical bore was adopted. The magnet was designed for operating temperature of 20 K and for driven mode. Both target homogeneity and stability of the magnetic field in field of view (FOV) region were within 1 ppm. Not only the magnet but also the other important hard/softwares were produced by us. After the assembly, adjustments and imaging experiments with the scanner were carried out at 1.5 T successfully. Although ramp-up to 3 T succeeded three times, successive abnormal events happened for longer than ten minutes during the third ramp-down time, and finally the magnet got fatal damages. Here, we introduce the system and discuss on problems and potentials of HTS-MRI magnets.

  16. Embracing covariation in brain evolution: large brains, extended development, and flexible primate social systems.

    PubMed

    Charvet, Christine J; Finlay, Barbara L

    2012-01-01

    Brain size, body size, developmental length, life span, costs of raising offspring, behavioral complexity, and social structures are correlated in mammals due to intrinsic life-history requirements. Dissecting variation and direction of causation in this web of relationships often draw attention away from the factors that correlate with basic life parameters. We consider the "social brain hypothesis," which postulates that overall brain and the isocortex are selectively enlarged to confer social abilities in primates, as an example of this enterprise and pitfalls. We consider patterns of brain scaling, modularity, flexibility of brain organization, the "leverage," and direction of selection on proposed dimensions. We conclude that the evidence supporting selective changes in isocortex or brain size for the isolated ability to manage social relationships is poor. Strong covariation in size and developmental duration coupled with flexible brains allow organisms to adapt in variable social and ecological environments across the life span and in evolution.

  17. Embracing covariation in brain evolution: Large brains, extended development, and flexible primate social systems

    PubMed Central

    Charvet, Christine J.; Finlay, Barbara L.

    2012-01-01

    Brain size, body size, developmental length, life span, costs of raising offspring, behavioral complexity, and social structures are correlated in mammals due to intrinsic life-history requirements. Dissecting variation and direction of causation in this web of relationships often draw attention away from the factors that correlate with basic life parameters. We consider the “social brain hypothesis,” which postulates that overall brain and the isocortex are selectively enlarged to confer social abilities in primates, as an example of this enterprise and pitfalls. We consider patterns of brain scaling, modularity, flexibility of brain organization, the “leverage,” and direction of selection on proposed dimensions. We conclude that the evidence supporting selective changes in isocortex or brain size for the isolated ability to manage social relationships is poor. Strong covariation in size and developmental duration coupled with flexible brains allow organisms to adapt in variable social and ecological environments across the life span and in evolution. PMID:22230623

  18. Evolution of brain and culture: the neurological and cognitive journey from Australopithecus to Albert Einstein.

    PubMed

    Falk, Dean

    2016-06-20

    Fossil and comparative primatological evidence suggest that alterations in the development of prehistoric hominin infants kindled three consecutive evolutionary-developmental (evo-devo) trends that, ultimately, paved the way for the evolution of the human brain and cognition. In the earliest trend, infants' development of posture and locomotion became delayed because of anatomical changes that accompanied the prolonged evolution of bipedalism. Because modern humans have inherited these changes, our babies are much slower than other primates to reach developmental milestones such as standing, crawling, and walking. The delay in ancestral babies' physical development eventually precipitated an evolutionary reversal in which they became increasing unable to cling independently to their mothers. For the first time in prehistory, babies were, thus, periodically deprived of direct physical contact with their mothers. This prompted the emergence of a second evo-devo trend in which infants sought contact comfort from caregivers using evolved signals, including new ways of crying that are conserved in modern babies. Such signaling stimulated intense reciprocal interactions between prehistoric mothers and infants that seeded the eventual emergence of motherese and, subsequently, protolanguage. The third trend was for an extreme acceleration in brain growth that began prior to the last trimester of gestation and continued through infants' first postnatal year (early "brain spurt"). Conservation of this trend in modern babies explains why human brains reach adult sizes that are over three times those of chimpanzees. The fossil record of hominin cranial capacities together with comparative neuroanatomical data suggest that, around 3 million years ago, early brain spurts began to facilitate an evolutionary trajectory for increasingly large adult brains in association with neurological reorganization. The prehistoric increase in brain size eventually caused parturition to become

  19. Positive selection on NIN, a gene involved in neurogenesis, and primate brain evolution.

    PubMed

    Montgomery, S H; Mundy, N I

    2012-11-01

    A long-held dogma in comparative neurobiology has been that the number of neurons under a given area of cortical surface is constant. As such, the attention of those seeking to understand the genetic basis of brain evolution has focused on genes with functions in the lateral expansion of the developing cerebral cortex. However, new data suggest that cortical cytoarchitecture is not constant across primates, raising the possibility that changes in radial cortical development played a role in primate brain evolution. We present the first analysis of a gene with functions relevant to this dimension of brain evolution. We show that NIN, a gene necessary for maintaining asymmetric, neurogenic divisions of radial glial cells (RGCs), evolved adaptively during anthropoid evolution. We explored how this selection relates to neural phenotypes and find a significant association between selection on NIN and neonatal brain size in catarrhines. Our analyses suggest a relationship with prenatal neurogenesis and identify the human data point as an outlier, possibly explained by postnatal changes in development on the human lineage. A similar pattern is found in platyrrhines, but the highly encephalized genus Cebus departs from the general trend. We further show that the evolution of NIN may be associated with variation in neuron number not explained by increases in surface area, a result consistent with NIN's role in neurogenic divisions of RGCs. Our combined results suggest a role for NIN in the evolution of cortical development. © 2012 The Authors. Genes, Brain and Behavior © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society.

  20. Comparative Analysis of the Macroscale Structural Connectivity in the Macaque and Human Brain

    PubMed Central

    Bezgin, Gleb; Uylings, Harry B. M.; Roebroeck, Alard; Stiers, Peter

    2014-01-01

    The macaque brain serves as a model for the human brain, but its suitability is challenged by unique human features, including connectivity reconfigurations, which emerged during primate evolution. We perform a quantitative comparative analysis of the whole brain macroscale structural connectivity of the two species. Our findings suggest that the human and macaque brain as a whole are similarly wired. A region-wise analysis reveals many interspecies similarities of connectivity patterns, but also lack thereof, primarily involving cingulate regions. We unravel a common structural backbone in both species involving a highly overlapping set of regions. This structural backbone, important for mediating information across the brain, seems to constitute a feature of the primate brain persevering evolution. Our findings illustrate novel evolutionary aspects at the macroscale connectivity level and offer a quantitative translational bridge between macaque and human research. PMID:24676052

  1. Science as a (TRANSITORY?) Phase in Human Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leibowitz, Elia

    One of the key elements of human knowledge in the last 150 years is the recognition that the universe, as well as each of its components, are in a permanent stage of evolution. Mankind and human affairs are of course no exceptions. Human beings owe their biological supremacy to the possession of a form of inheritance quite unlike that of other animals: exogenetic heredity. They have a non genetic channel for transmitting information from one generation to another, namely, the entire apparatus of culture. As information is correlated with brain structure, culture is a non genetic means to create patterns in human brains. It therefore plays a major role in human evolution. This apparatus by itself is however also undergoing a process of evolution. Using examples of astronomical, cosmological and other cultural concepts and argumentations, I shall show that throughout recorded human history, 4 distinct phases can be recognized in the evolution of this non genetic apparatus. The latest phase, the beginning of which is symbolized by the life and work of Galileo, is the "scientific" era. At the turn of the millenium, humankind is possibly at a transition state, from the "scientific" towards a new phase that may be termed a "public relation" or "propaganda" era. Causes for this transition can be found among recent developments in mass media and communications. These, in turn, are correlated with modern, 20th century trends in economy, technology and sociology that are other dominants factors in this transition. The apparent decline of the "scientific" culture may have profound consequences on the future evolution of mankind.

  2. New thinking: the evolution of human cognition.

    PubMed

    Heyes, Cecilia

    2012-08-05

    Humans are animals that specialize in thinking and knowing, and our extraordinary cognitive abilities have transformed every aspect of our lives. In contrast to our chimpanzee cousins and Stone Age ancestors, we are complex political, economic, scientific and artistic creatures, living in a vast range of habitats, many of which are our own creation. Research on the evolution of human cognition asks what types of thinking make us such peculiar animals, and how they have been generated by evolutionary processes. New research in this field looks deeper into the evolutionary history of human cognition, and adopts a more multi-disciplinary approach than earlier 'Evolutionary Psychology'. It is informed by comparisons between humans and a range of primate and non-primate species, and integrates findings from anthropology, archaeology, economics, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, philosophy and psychology. Using these methods, recent research reveals profound commonalities, as well striking differences, between human and non-human minds, and suggests that the evolution of human cognition has been much more gradual and incremental than previously assumed. It accords crucial roles to cultural evolution, techno-social co-evolution and gene-culture co-evolution. These have produced domain-general developmental processes with extraordinary power-power that makes human cognition, and human lives, unique.

  3. New thinking: the evolution of human cognition

    PubMed Central

    Heyes, Cecilia

    2012-01-01

    Humans are animals that specialize in thinking and knowing, and our extraordinary cognitive abilities have transformed every aspect of our lives. In contrast to our chimpanzee cousins and Stone Age ancestors, we are complex political, economic, scientific and artistic creatures, living in a vast range of habitats, many of which are our own creation. Research on the evolution of human cognition asks what types of thinking make us such peculiar animals, and how they have been generated by evolutionary processes. New research in this field looks deeper into the evolutionary history of human cognition, and adopts a more multi-disciplinary approach than earlier ‘Evolutionary Psychology’. It is informed by comparisons between humans and a range of primate and non-primate species, and integrates findings from anthropology, archaeology, economics, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, philosophy and psychology. Using these methods, recent research reveals profound commonalities, as well striking differences, between human and non-human minds, and suggests that the evolution of human cognition has been much more gradual and incremental than previously assumed. It accords crucial roles to cultural evolution, techno-social co-evolution and gene–culture co-evolution. These have produced domain-general developmental processes with extraordinary power—power that makes human cognition, and human lives, unique. PMID:22734052

  4. Transcranial magnetic stimulation and the human brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hallett, Mark

    2000-07-01

    Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is rapidly developing as a powerful, non-invasive tool for studying the human brain. A pulsed magnetic field creates current flow in the brain and can temporarily excite or inhibit specific areas. TMS of motor cortex can produce a muscle twitch or block movement; TMS of occipital cortex can produce visual phosphenes or scotomas. TMS can also alter the functioning of the brain beyond the time of stimulation, offering potential for therapy.

  5. Origin and Evolution of Deep Brain Stimulation

    PubMed Central

    Sironi, Vittorio A.

    2011-01-01

    This paper briefly describes how the electrical stimulation, used since antiquity to modulate the nervous system, has been a fundamental tool of neurophysiologic investigation in the second half of the eighteenth century and was subsequently used by the early twentieth century, even for therapeutic purposes. In mid-twentieth century the advent of stereotactic procedures has allowed the drift from lesional to stimulating technique of deep nuclei of the brain for therapeutic purposes. In this way, deep brain stimulation (DBS) was born, that, over the last two decades, has led to positive results for the treatment of medically refractory Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, and dystonia. In recent years, the indications for therapeutic use of DBS have been extended to epilepsy, Tourette’s syndrome, psychiatric diseases (depression, obsessive–compulsive disorder), some kinds of headache, eating disorders, and the minimally conscious state. The potentials of the DBS for therapeutic use are fascinating, but there are still many unresolved technical and ethical problems, concerning the identification of the targets for each disease, the selection of the patients and the evaluation of the results. PMID:21887135

  6. Friends with social benefits: host-microbe interactions as a driver of brain evolution and development?

    PubMed

    Stilling, Roman M; Bordenstein, Seth R; Dinan, Timothy G; Cryan, John F

    2014-01-01

    The tight association of the human body with trillions of colonizing microbes that we observe today is the result of a long evolutionary history. Only very recently have we started to understand how this symbiosis also affects brain function and behavior. In this hypothesis and theory article, we propose how host-microbe associations potentially influenced mammalian brain evolution and development. In particular, we explore the integration of human brain development with evolution, symbiosis, and RNA biology, which together represent a "social triangle" that drives human social behavior and cognition. We argue that, in order to understand how inter-kingdom communication can affect brain adaptation and plasticity, it is inevitable to consider epigenetic mechanisms as important mediators of genome-microbiome interactions on an individual as well as a transgenerational time scale. Finally, we unite these interpretations with the hologenome theory of evolution. Taken together, we propose a tighter integration of neuroscience fields with host-associated microbiology by taking an evolutionary perspective.

  7. Friends with social benefits: host-microbe interactions as a driver of brain evolution and development?

    PubMed Central

    Stilling, Roman M.; Bordenstein, Seth R.; Dinan, Timothy G.; Cryan, John F.

    2014-01-01

    The tight association of the human body with trillions of colonizing microbes that we observe today is the result of a long evolutionary history. Only very recently have we started to understand how this symbiosis also affects brain function and behavior. In this hypothesis and theory article, we propose how host-microbe associations potentially influenced mammalian brain evolution and development. In particular, we explore the integration of human brain development with evolution, symbiosis, and RNA biology, which together represent a “social triangle” that drives human social behavior and cognition. We argue that, in order to understand how inter-kingdom communication can affect brain adaptation and plasticity, it is inevitable to consider epigenetic mechanisms as important mediators of genome-microbiome interactions on an individual as well as a transgenerational time scale. Finally, we unite these interpretations with the hologenome theory of evolution. Taken together, we propose a tighter integration of neuroscience fields with host-associated microbiology by taking an evolutionary perspective. PMID:25401092

  8. Genetic Markers of Human Evolution Are Enriched in Schizophrenia.

    PubMed

    Srinivasan, Saurabh; Bettella, Francesco; Mattingsdal, Morten; Wang, Yunpeng; Witoelar, Aree; Schork, Andrew J; Thompson, Wesley K; Zuber, Verena; Winsvold, Bendik S; Zwart, John-Anker; Collier, David A; Desikan, Rahul S; Melle, Ingrid; Werge, Thomas; Dale, Anders M; Djurovic, Srdjan; Andreassen, Ole A

    2016-08-15

    Why schizophrenia has accompanied humans throughout our history despite its negative effect on fitness remains an evolutionary enigma. It is proposed that schizophrenia is a by-product of the complex evolution of the human brain and a compromise for humans' language, creative thinking, and cognitive abilities. We analyzed recent large genome-wide association studies of schizophrenia and a range of other human phenotypes (anthropometric measures, cardiovascular disease risk factors, immune-mediated diseases) using a statistical framework that draws on polygenic architecture and ancillary information on genetic variants. We used information from the evolutionary proxy measure called the Neanderthal selective sweep (NSS) score. Gene loci associated with schizophrenia are significantly (p = 7.30 × 10(-9)) more prevalent in genomic regions that are likely to have undergone recent positive selection in humans (i.e., with a low NSS score). Variants in brain-related genes with a low NSS score confer significantly higher susceptibility than variants in other brain-related genes. The enrichment is strongest for schizophrenia, but we cannot rule out enrichment for other phenotypes. The false discovery rate conditional on the evolutionary proxy points to 27 candidate schizophrenia susceptibility loci, 12 of which are associated with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders or linked to brain development. Our results suggest that there is a polygenic overlap between schizophrenia and NSS score, a marker of human evolution, which is in line with the hypothesis that the persistence of schizophrenia is related to the evolutionary process of becoming human. Copyright © 2016 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  9. Sequence-Level Mechanisms of Human Epigenome Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Prendergast, James G.D.; Chambers, Emily V.; Semple, Colin A.M.

    2014-01-01

    DNA methylation and chromatin states play key roles in development and disease. However, the extent of recent evolutionary divergence in the human epigenome and the influential factors that have shaped it are poorly understood. To determine the links between genome sequence and human epigenome evolution, we examined the divergence of DNA methylation and chromatin states following segmental duplication events in the human lineage. Chromatin and DNA methylation states were found to have been generally well conserved following a duplication event, with the evolution of the epigenome largely uncoupled from the total number of genetic changes in the surrounding DNA sequence. However, the epigenome at tissue-specific, distal regulatory regions was observed to be unusually prone to diverge following duplication, with particular sequence differences, altering known sequence motifs, found to be associated with divergence in patterns of DNA methylation and chromatin. Alu elements were found to have played a particularly prominent role in shaping human epigenome evolution, and we show that human-specific AluY insertion events are strongly linked to the evolution of the DNA methylation landscape and gene expression levels, including at key neurological genes in the human brain. Studying paralogous regions within the same sample enables the study of the links between genome and epigenome evolution while controlling for biological and technical variation. We show DNA methylation and chromatin divergence between duplicated regions are linked to the divergence of particular genetic motifs, with Alu elements having played a disproportionate role in the evolution of the epigenome in the human lineage. PMID:24966180

  10. Interoperable atlases of the human brain.

    PubMed

    Amunts, K; Hawrylycz, M J; Van Essen, D C; Van Horn, J D; Harel, N; Poline, J-B; De Martino, F; Bjaalie, J G; Dehaene-Lambertz, G; Dehaene, S; Valdes-Sosa, P; Thirion, B; Zilles, K; Hill, S L; Abrams, M B; Tass, P A; Vanduffel, W; Evans, A C; Eickhoff, S B

    2014-10-01

    The last two decades have seen an unprecedented development of human brain mapping approaches at various spatial and temporal scales. Together, these have provided a large fundus of information on many different aspects of the human brain including micro- and macrostructural segregation, regional specialization of function, connectivity, and temporal dynamics. Atlases are central in order to integrate such diverse information in a topographically meaningful way. It is noteworthy, that the brain mapping field has been developed along several major lines such as structure vs. function, postmortem vs. in vivo, individual features of the brain vs. population-based aspects, or slow vs. fast dynamics. In order to understand human brain organization, however, it seems inevitable that these different lines are integrated and combined into a multimodal human brain model. To this aim, we held a workshop to determine the constraints of a multi-modal human brain model that are needed to enable (i) an integration of different spatial and temporal scales and data modalities into a common reference system, and (ii) efficient data exchange and analysis. As detailed in this report, to arrive at fully interoperable atlases of the human brain will still require much work at the frontiers of data acquisition, analysis, and representation. Among them, the latter may provide the most challenging task, in particular when it comes to representing features of vastly different scales of space, time and abstraction. The potential benefits of such endeavor, however, clearly outweigh the problems, as only such kind of multi-modal human brain atlas may provide a starting point from which the complex relationships between structure, function, and connectivity may be explored. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  11. THE IMPORTANCE OF DIETARY CARBOHYDRATE IN HUMAN EVOLUTION.

    PubMed

    Hardy, Karen; Brand-Miller, Jennie; Brown, Katherine D; Thomas, Mark G; Copeland, Les

    2015-09-01

    ABSTRACT We propose that plant foods containing high quantities of starch were essential for the evolution of the human phenotype during the Pleistocene. Although previous studies have highlighted a stone tool-mediated shift from primarily plant-based to primarily meat-based diets as critical in the development of the brain and other human traits, we argue that digestible carbohydrates were also necessary to accommodate the increased metabolic demands of a growing brain. Furthermore, we acknowledge the adaptive role cooking played in improving the digestibility and palatability of key carbohydrates. We provide evidence that cooked starch, a source of preformed glucose, greatly increased energy availability to human tissues with high glucose demands, such as the brain, red blood cells, and the developing fetus. We also highlight the auxiliary role copy number variation in the salivary amylase genes may have played in increasing the importance of starch in human evolution following the origins of cooking. Salivary amylases are largely ineffective on raw crystalline starch, but cooking substantially increases both their energy-yielding potential and glycemia. Although uncertainties remain regarding the antiquity of cooking and the origins of salivary amylase gene copy number variation, the hypothesis we present makes a testable prediction that these events are correlated.

  12. The heritability of chimpanzee and human brain asymmetry.

    PubMed

    Gómez-Robles, Aida; Hopkins, William D; Schapiro, Steven J; Sherwood, Chet C

    2016-12-28

    Human brains are markedly asymmetric in structure and lateralized in function, which suggests a relationship between these two properties. The brains of other closely related primates, such as chimpanzees, show similar patterns of asymmetry, but to a lesser degree, indicating an increase in anatomical and functional asymmetry during hominin evolution. We analysed the heritability of cerebral asymmetry in chimpanzees and humans using classic morphometrics, geometric morphometrics, and quantitative genetic techniques. In our analyses, we separated directional asymmetry and fluctuating asymmetry (FA), which is indicative of environmental influences during development. We show that directional patterns of asymmetry, those that are consistently present in most individuals in a population, do not have significant heritability when measured through simple linear metrics, but they have marginally significant heritability in humans when assessed through three-dimensional configurations of landmarks that reflect variation in the size, position, and orientation of different cortical regions with respect to each other. Furthermore, genetic correlations between left and right hemispheres are substantially lower in humans than in chimpanzees, which points to a relatively stronger environmental influence on left-right differences in humans. We also show that the level of FA has significant heritability in both species in some regions of the cerebral cortex. This suggests that brain responsiveness to environmental influences, which may reflect neural plasticity, has genetic bases in both species. These results have implications for the evolvability of brain asymmetry and plasticity among humans and our close relatives.

  13. Computerized Anatomy Atlas Of The Human Brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adair, Taylor; Bajcsy, Ruzena; Karp, Peter; Stein, Alan

    1981-10-01

    A software for developing, editing and displaying a 3-D computerized anatomic atlas of a human brain is described. The objective of this atlas is to serve as a reference in identifying various structures in CT scans.

  14. Exercise, APOE genotype, and the evolution of the human lifespan.

    PubMed

    Raichlen, David A; Alexander, Gene E

    2014-05-01

    Humans have exceptionally long lifespans compared with other mammals. However, our longevity evolved when our ancestors had two copies of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) ɛ4 allele, a genotype that leads to a high risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD), cardiovascular disease, and increased mortality. How did human aging evolve within this genetic constraint? Drawing from neuroscience, anthropology, and brain-imaging research, we propose the hypothesis that the evolution of increased physical activity approximately 2 million years ago served to reduce the amyloid plaque and vascular burden of APOE ɛ4, relaxing genetic constraints on aging. This multidisciplinary approach links human evolution with health and provides a complementary perspective on aging and neurodegenerative disease that may help identify key mechanisms and targets for intervention. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Exercise, APOE genotype, and the evolution of the human lifespan

    PubMed Central

    Raichlen, David A.; Alexander, Gene E.

    2014-01-01

    Humans have exceptionally long lifespans compared with other mammals. However, our longevity evolved when our ancestors had two copies of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele, a genotype that leads to a high risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), cardiovascular disease, and increased mortality. How did human aging evolve within this genetic constraint? Drawing from neuroscience, anthropology, and brain-imaging research, we propose the hypothesis that the evolution of increased physical activity approximately 2 million years ago served to reduce the amyloid plaque and vascular burden of APOE ε4, relaxing genetic constraints on aging. This multidisciplinary approach links human evolution with health and provides a complementary perspective on aging and neurodegenerative disease that may help identify key mechanisms and targets for intervention. PMID:24690272

  16. Cis-regulatory Elements and Human Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Siepel, Adam

    2014-01-01

    Modification of gene regulation has long been considered an important force in human evolution, particularly through changes to cis-regulatory elements (CREs) that function in transcriptional regulation. For decades, however, the study of cis-regulatory evolution was severely limited by the available data. New data sets describing the locations of CREs and genetic variation within and between species have now made it possible to study CRE evolution much more directly on a genome-wide scale. Here, we review recent research on the evolution of CREs in humans based on large-scale genomic data sets. We consider inferences based on primate divergence, human polymorphism, and combinations of divergence and polymorphism. We then consider “new frontiers” in this field stemming from recent research on transcriptional regulation. PMID:25218861

  17. What can monotremes tell us about brain evolution?

    PubMed

    Krubitzer, L

    1998-07-29

    The present review outlines studies of electrophsyiological organization, cortical architecture and thalmocortical and corticocortical connections in monotremes. Results of these studies indicate that the neocortex of monotremes has many features in common with other mammals. In particular, monotremes have at least two, and in some instances three, sensory fields for each modality, as well as regions of bimodal cortex. The internal organization of cortical fields and thalamocortical projection patterns are also similar to those described for other mammals. However, unlike most mammals investigated, the monotreme neocortex has cortical connections between primary sensory fields, such as SI and VI. The results of this analysis lead us to pose the question of what monotremes can tell us about brain evolution. Monotremes alone can tell us very little about the evolutionary process, or the construction of complex neural networks, as an individual species represents only a single example of what the process is capable of generating. Perhaps a better question is: what can comparative studies tell us about brain evolution? Monotreme brains, when compared with the brains of other animals, can provide some answers to questions about the evolution of the neocortex, the historical precedence of some features over others, and how basic circuits were modified in different lineages. This, in turn, allows us to appreciate how normal circuits function, and to pose very specific questions regarding the development of the neocortex.

  18. Chromosome conformation elucidates regulatory relationships in developing human brain.

    PubMed

    Won, Hyejung; de la Torre-Ubieta, Luis; Stein, Jason L; Parikshak, Neelroop N; Huang, Jerry; Opland, Carli K; Gandal, Michael J; Sutton, Gavin J; Hormozdiari, Farhad; Lu, Daning; Lee, Changhoon; Eskin, Eleazar; Voineagu, Irina; Ernst, Jason; Geschwind, Daniel H

    2016-10-27

    Three-dimensional physical interactions within chromosomes dynamically regulate gene expression in a tissue-specific manner. However, the 3D organization of chromosomes during human brain development and its role in regulating gene networks dysregulated in neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism or schizophrenia, are unknown. Here we generate high-resolution 3D maps of chromatin contacts during human corticogenesis, permitting large-scale annotation of previously uncharacterized regulatory relationships relevant to the evolution of human cognition and disease. Our analyses identify hundreds of genes that physically interact with enhancers gained on the human lineage, many of which are under purifying selection and associated with human cognitive function. We integrate chromatin contacts with non-coding variants identified in schizophrenia genome-wide association studies (GWAS), highlighting multiple candidate schizophrenia risk genes and pathways, including transcription factors involved in neurogenesis, and cholinergic signalling molecules, several of which are supported by independent expression quantitative trait loci and gene expression analyses. Genome editing in human neural progenitors suggests that one of these distal schizophrenia GWAS loci regulates FOXG1 expression, supporting its potential role as a schizophrenia risk gene. This work provides a framework for understanding the effect of non-coding regulatory elements on human brain development and the evolution of cognition, and highlights novel mechanisms underlying neuropsychiatric disorders.

  19. Chromosome conformation elucidates regulatory relationships in developing human brain

    PubMed Central

    Won, Hyejung; de la Torre-Ubieta, Luis; Stein, Jason L.; Parikshak, Neelroop N.; Huang, Jerry; Opland, Carli K.; Gandal, Michael; Sutton, Gavin J.; Hormozdiari, Farhad; Lu, Daning; Lee, Changhoon; Eskin, Eleazar; Voineagu, Irina; Ernst, Jason; Geschwind, Daniel H.

    2016-01-01

    Three-dimensional physical interactions within chromosomes dynamically regulate gene expression in a tissue-specific manner1–3. However, the 3D organization of chromosomes during human brain development and its role in regulating gene networks dysregulated in neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism or schizophrenia4–6, are unknown. Here we generate high-resolution 3D maps of chromatin contacts during human corticogenesis, permitting large-scale annotation of previously uncharacterized regulatory relationships relevant to the evolution of human cognition and disease. Our analyses identify hundreds of genes that physically interact with enhancers gained on the human, many of which are under purifying selection and associated with human cognitive function. We integrate chromatin contacts with non-coding variants identified in schizophrenia genome-wide association studies (GWAS), highlighting multiple new candidate schizophrenia risk genes and pathways, including transcription factors involved in neurogenesis, as well as cholinergic signalling, several of which are supported by independent expression quantitative trait loci and gene expression analyses. Genome editing in human neural progenitors suggests that one of these distal schizophrenia GWAS loci regulates FOXG1 expression, supporting its potential role as a novel schizophrenia risk gene. This work provides a framework for understanding the impact of non-coding regulatory elements on human brain development and the evolution of cognition, and highlights novel mechanisms underlying neuropsychiatric disorders. PMID:27760116

  20. Evolution in management of otogenic brain abscess.

    PubMed

    Szyfter, Witold; Kruk-Zagajewska, Aleksandra; Borucki, Lukasz; Bartochowska, Anna

    2012-04-01

    To present the therapeutic results related with treating 103 patients with cerebral abscesses of otogenic origin during 3 various time frames (1953-1977, 1978-1989, and 1990-2011). A total of 103 patients with cerebral abscess of otogenic origin. Diagnostics and treatment. Analysis of mortality rates, abscess location and its basis, coexisting complications, neurological condition at admittance, bacteriological tests, and presentation of the results of abscess treatment with the use of neuronavigation. Mortality rates dropped systematically from the initial value of 35% observed between 1953 and 1977, to 14% between 1978 and 1989, and finally reached 3% between 1990 and 2011. Abscesses were mainly located within the temporal lobe. They predominantly resulted from chronic inflammation of the middle ear. A wide panel of complications was associated with them. Strong concurrence between results of cultures taken from the ear and the abscess was noted. Cerebral abscesses remain one of the most severe complications related with inflammation of the middle ear. Both the operative methods and the postoperative care evolved (introduction of surgical microscope, new generation of antibiotics), the preoperative diagnostics facilitating the diagnosis and localization of the abscess progressed; nonetheless, the principles underlying the operative treatment remained unchanged. Neuronavigation constitutes a very important and supportive element in the management of otogenic brain abscesses.

  1. The human parental brain: in vivo neuroimaging.

    PubMed

    Swain, James E

    2011-07-01

    Interacting parenting thoughts and behaviors, supported by key brain circuits, critically shape human infants' current and future behavior. Indeed, the parent-infant relationship provides infants with their first social environment, forming templates for what they can expect from others, how to interact with them and ultimately how they go on to themselves to be parents. This review concentrates on magnetic resonance imaging experiments of the human parent brain, which link brain physiology with parental thoughts and behaviors. After reviewing brain imaging techniques, certain social cognitive and affective concepts are reviewed, including empathy and trust-likely critical to parenting. Following that is a thorough study-by-study review of the state-of-the-art with respect to human neuroimaging studies of the parental brain-from parent brain responses to salient infant stimuli, including emotionally charged baby cries and brief visual stimuli to the latest structural brain studies. Taken together, this research suggests that networks of highly conserved hypothalamic-midbrain-limbic-paralimbic-cortical circuits act in concert to support parental brain responses to infants, including circuits for limbic emotion response and regulation. Thus, a model is presented in which infant stimuli activate sensory analysis brain regions, affect corticolimbic limbic circuits that regulate emotional response, motivation and reward related to their infant, ultimately organizing parenting impulses, thoughts and emotions into coordinated behaviors as a map for future studies. Finally, future directions towards integrated understanding of the brain basis of human parenting are outlined with profound implications for understanding and contributing to long term parent and infant mental health.

  2. Reconstructing the ups and downs of primate brain evolution: implications for adaptive hypotheses and Homo floresiensis.

    PubMed

    Montgomery, Stephen H; Capellini, Isabella; Barton, Robert A; Mundy, Nicholas I

    2010-01-27

    Brain size is a key adaptive trait. It is often assumed that increasing brain size was a general evolutionary trend in primates, yet recent fossil discoveries have documented brain size decreases in some lineages, raising the question of how general a trend there was for brains to increase in mass over evolutionary time. We present the first systematic phylogenetic analysis designed to answer this question. We performed ancestral state reconstructions of three traits (absolute brain mass, absolute body mass, relative brain mass) using 37 extant and 23 extinct primate species and three approaches to ancestral state reconstruction: parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian Markov-chain Monte Carlo. Both absolute and relative brain mass generally increased over evolutionary time, but body mass did not. Nevertheless both absolute and relative brain mass decreased along several branches. Applying these results to the contentious case of Homo floresiensis, we find a number of scenarios under which the proposed evolution of Homo floresiensis' small brain appears to be consistent with patterns observed along other lineages, dependent on body mass and phylogenetic position. Our results confirm that brain expansion began early in primate evolution and show that increases occurred in all major clades. Only in terms of an increase in absolute mass does the human lineage appear particularly striking, with both the rate of proportional change in mass and relative brain size having episodes of greater expansion elsewhere on the primate phylogeny. However, decreases in brain mass also occurred along branches in all major clades, and we conclude that, while selection has acted to enlarge primate brains, in some lineages this trend has been reversed. Further analyses of the phylogenetic position of Homo floresiensis and better body mass estimates are required to confirm the plausibility of the evolution of its small brain mass. We find that for our dataset the Bayesian analysis for

  3. Reconstructing the ups and downs of primate brain evolution: implications for adaptive hypotheses and Homo floresiensis

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Brain size is a key adaptive trait. It is often assumed that increasing brain size was a general evolutionary trend in primates, yet recent fossil discoveries have documented brain size decreases in some lineages, raising the question of how general a trend there was for brains to increase in mass over evolutionary time. We present the first systematic phylogenetic analysis designed to answer this question. Results We performed ancestral state reconstructions of three traits (absolute brain mass, absolute body mass, relative brain mass) using 37 extant and 23 extinct primate species and three approaches to ancestral state reconstruction: parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian Markov-chain Monte Carlo. Both absolute and relative brain mass generally increased over evolutionary time, but body mass did not. Nevertheless both absolute and relative brain mass decreased along several branches. Applying these results to the contentious case of Homo floresiensis, we find a number of scenarios under which the proposed evolution of Homo floresiensis' small brain appears to be consistent with patterns observed along other lineages, dependent on body mass and phylogenetic position. Conclusions Our results confirm that brain expansion began early in primate evolution and show that increases occurred in all major clades. Only in terms of an increase in absolute mass does the human lineage appear particularly striking, with both the rate of proportional change in mass and relative brain size having episodes of greater expansion elsewhere on the primate phylogeny. However, decreases in brain mass also occurred along branches in all major clades, and we conclude that, while selection has acted to enlarge primate brains, in some lineages this trend has been reversed. Further analyses of the phylogenetic position of Homo floresiensis and better body mass estimates are required to confirm the plausibility of the evolution of its small brain mass. We find that for our

  4. Evidence for expansion of the precuneus in human evolution.

    PubMed

    Bruner, Emiliano; Preuss, Todd M; Chen, Xu; Rilling, James K

    2017-03-01

    The evolution of neurocranial morphology in Homo sapiens is characterized by bulging of the parietal region, a feature unique to our species. In modern humans, expansion of the parietal surface occurs during the first year of life, in a morphogenetic stage which is absent in chimpanzees and Neandertals. A similar variation in brain shape among living adult humans is associated with expansion of the precuneus. Using MRI-derived structural brain templates, we compare medial brain morphology between humans and chimpanzees through shape analysis and geometrical modeling. We find that the main spatial difference is a prominent expansion of the precuneus in our species, providing further evidence of evolutionary changes associated with this area. The precuneus is a major hub of brain organization, a central node of the default-mode network, and plays an essential role in visuospatial integration. Together, the comparative neuroanatomical and paleontological evidence suggest that precuneus expansion is a neurological specialization of H. sapiens that evolved in the last 150,000 years that may be associated with recent human cognitive specializations.

  5. On the Evolution of Human Language.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lieberman, Philip

    Human linguistic ability depends, in part, on the gradual evolution of man's supralaryngeal vocal tract. The anatomic basis of human speech production is the result of a long evolutionary process in which the Darwinian process of natural selection acted to retain mutations. For auditory perception, the listener operates in terms of the acoustic…

  6. Estrogen regulation of microcephaly genes and evolution of brain sexual dimorphism in primates.

    PubMed

    Shi, Lei; Lin, Qiang; Su, Bing

    2015-06-30

    Sexual dimorphism in brain size is common among primates, including humans, apes and some Old World monkeys. In these species, the brain size of males is generally larger than that of females. Curiously, this dimorphism has persisted over the course of primate evolution and human origin, but there is no explanation for the underlying genetic controls that have maintained this disparity in brain size. In the present study, we tested the effect of the female hormone (estradiol) on seven genes known to be related to brain size in both humans and nonhuman primates, and we identified half estrogen responsive elements (half EREs) in the promoter regions of four genes (MCPH1, ASPM, CDK5RAP2 and WDR62). Likewise, at sequence level, it appears that these half EREs are generally conserved across primates. Later testing via a reporter gene assay and cell-based endogenous expression measurement revealed that estradiol could significantly suppress the expression of the four affected genes involved in brain size. More intriguingly, when the half EREs were deleted from the promoters, the suppression effect disappeared, suggesting that the half EREs mediate the regulation of estradiol on the brain size genes. We next replicated these experiments using promoter sequences from chimpanzees and rhesus macaques, and observed a similar suppressive effect of estradiol on gene expression, suggesting that this mechanism is conserved among primate species that exhibit brain size dimorphism. Brain size dimorphism among certain primates, including humans, is likely regulated by estrogen through its sex-dependent suppression of brain size genes during development.

  7. The Human Brain Project: Creating a European Research Infrastructure to Decode the Human Brain.

    PubMed

    Amunts, Katrin; Ebell, Christoph; Muller, Jeff; Telefont, Martin; Knoll, Alois; Lippert, Thomas

    2016-11-02

    Decoding the human brain is perhaps the most fascinating scientific challenge in the 21st century. The Human Brain Project (HBP), a 10-year European Flagship, targets the reconstruction of the brain's multi-scale organization. It uses productive loops of experiments, medical, data, data analytics, and simulation on all levels that will eventually bridge the scales. The HBP IT architecture is unique, utilizing cloud-based collaboration and development platforms with databases, workflow systems, petabyte storage, and supercomputers. The HBP is developing toward a European research infrastructure advancing brain research, medicine, and brain-inspired information technology. Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  8. Genetic markers of human evolution are enriched in schizophrenia

    PubMed Central

    Srinivasan, Saurabh; Bettella, Francesco; Mattingsdal, Morten; Wang, Yunpeng; Witoelar, Aree; Schork, Andrew J.; Thompson, Wesley K.; Zuber, Verena; Winsvold, Bendik S.; Zwart, John-Anker; Collier, David A.; Desikan, Rahul S.; Melle, Ingrid; Werge, Thomas; Dale, Anders M.; Djurovic, Srdjan; Andreassen, Ole A.

    2017-01-01

    Background Why schizophrenia has accompanied us throughout our history despite its negative effect on fitness remains an evolutionary enigma. It is proposed that schizophrenia is a by-product of the complex evolution of the human brain and a compromise for our language, creative thinking and cognitive abilities. Method We analyze recent large genome-wide association studies of schizophrenia and a range of other human phenotypes (anthropometric measures, cardiovascular disease risk factors, immune-mediated diseases) using a statistical framework that draws on polygenic architecture and ancillary information on genetic variants. We used information from the evolutionary proxy measure called Neanderthal selective sweep (NSS) score. Results We show that gene loci associated with schizophrenia are significantly (p = 7.30×10−9) more prevalent in genomic regions that are likely to have undergone recent positive selection in humans, i.e. with low NSS score. Variants in brain-related genes with low NSS score confer significantly higher susceptibility than variants in other brain-related genes. The enrichment is strongest for schizophrenia, but we cannot rule out enrichment for other phenotypes. The false discovery rate conditional on the evolutionary proxy, points to 27 candidate schizophrenia susceptibility loci, twelve of which are associated with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders, or linked to brain development. Conclusion The results suggest that there is a polygenic overlap between schizophrenia and NSS score, a marker of human evolution, which is in line with the hypothesis that the persistence of schizophrenia is related to the evolutionary process of becoming human. PMID:26681495

  9. The Evolution of Human Cells in Terms of Protein Innovation

    PubMed Central

    Sardar, Adam J.; Oates, Matt E.; Fang, Hai; Forrest, Alistair R.R.; Kawaji, Hideya; Gough, Julian; Rackham, Owen J.L.

    2014-01-01

    Humans are composed of hundreds of cell types. As the genomic DNA of each somatic cell is identical, cell type is determined by what is expressed and when. Until recently, little has been reported about the determinants of human cell identity, particularly from the joint perspective of gene evolution and expression. Here, we chart the evolutionary past of all documented human cell types via the collective histories of proteins, the principal product of gene expression. FANTOM5 data provide cell-type–specific digital expression of human protein-coding genes and the SUPERFAMILY resource is used to provide protein domain annotation. The evolutionary epoch in which each protein was created is inferred by comparison with domain annotation of all other completely sequenced genomes. Studying the distribution across epochs of genes expressed in each cell type reveals insights into human cellular evolution in terms of protein innovation. For each cell type, its history of protein innovation is charted based on the genes it expresses. Combining the histories of all cell types enables us to create a timeline of cell evolution. This timeline identifies the possibility that our common ancestor Coelomata (cavity-forming animals) provided the innovation required for the innate immune system, whereas cells which now form the brain of human have followed a trajectory of continually accumulating novel proteins since Opisthokonta (boundary of animals and fungi). We conclude that exaptation of existing domain architectures into new contexts is the dominant source of cell-type–specific domain architectures. PMID:24692656

  10. The evolution of human cells in terms of protein innovation.

    PubMed

    Sardar, Adam J; Oates, Matt E; Fang, Hai; Forrest, Alistair R R; Kawaji, Hideya; Gough, Julian; Rackham, Owen J L

    2014-06-01

    Humans are composed of hundreds of cell types. As the genomic DNA of each somatic cell is identical, cell type is determined by what is expressed and when. Until recently, little has been reported about the determinants of human cell identity, particularly from the joint perspective of gene evolution and expression. Here, we chart the evolutionary past of all documented human cell types via the collective histories of proteins, the principal product of gene expression. FANTOM5 data provide cell-type-specific digital expression of human protein-coding genes and the SUPERFAMILY resource is used to provide protein domain annotation. The evolutionary epoch in which each protein was created is inferred by comparison with domain annotation of all other completely sequenced genomes. Studying the distribution across epochs of genes expressed in each cell type reveals insights into human cellular evolution in terms of protein innovation. For each cell type, its history of protein innovation is charted based on the genes it expresses. Combining the histories of all cell types enables us to create a timeline of cell evolution. This timeline identifies the possibility that our common ancestor Coelomata (cavity-forming animals) provided the innovation required for the innate immune system, whereas cells which now form the brain of human have followed a trajectory of continually accumulating novel proteins since Opisthokonta (boundary of animals and fungi). We conclude that exaptation of existing domain architectures into new contexts is the dominant source of cell-type-specific domain architectures.

  11. Exceptional Evolutionary Divergence of Human Muscle and Brain Metabolomes Parallels Human Cognitive and Physical Uniqueness

    PubMed Central

    Bozek, Katarzyna; Wei, Yuning; Yan, Zheng; Liu, Xiling; Xiong, Jieyi; Sugimoto, Masahiro; Tomita, Masaru; Pääbo, Svante; Pieszek, Raik; Sherwood, Chet C.; Hof, Patrick R.; Ely, John J.; Steinhauser, Dirk; Willmitzer, Lothar; Bangsbo, Jens; Hansson, Ola; Call, Josep; Giavalisco, Patrick; Khaitovich, Philipp

    2014-01-01

    Metabolite concentrations reflect the physiological states of tissues and cells. However, the role of metabolic changes in species evolution is currently unknown. Here, we present a study of metabolome evolution conducted in three brain regions and two non-neural tissues from humans, chimpanzees, macaque monkeys, and mice based on over 10,000 hydrophilic compounds. While chimpanzee, macaque, and mouse metabolomes diverge following the genetic distances among species, we detect remarkable acceleration of metabolome evolution in human prefrontal cortex and skeletal muscle affecting neural and energy metabolism pathways. These metabolic changes could not be attributed to environmental conditions and were confirmed against the expression of their corresponding enzymes. We further conducted muscle strength tests in humans, chimpanzees, and macaques. The results suggest that, while humans are characterized by superior cognition, their muscular performance might be markedly inferior to that of chimpanzees and macaque monkeys. PMID:24866127

  12. Art and brain: insights from neuropsychology, biology and evolution

    PubMed Central

    Zaidel, Dahlia W

    2010-01-01

    Art is a uniquely human activity associated fundamentally with symbolic and abstract cognition. Its practice in human societies throughout the world, coupled with seeming non-functionality, has led to three major brain theories of art. (1) The localized brain regions and pathways theory links art to multiple neural regions. (2) The display of art and its aesthetics theory is tied to the biological motivation of courtship signals and mate selection strategies in animals. (3) The evolutionary theory links the symbolic nature of art to critical pivotal brain changes in Homo sapiens supporting increased development of language and hierarchical social grouping. Collectively, these theories point to art as a multi-process cognition dependent on diverse brain regions and on redundancy in art-related functional representation. PMID:19490399

  13. Art and brain: insights from neuropsychology, biology and evolution.

    PubMed

    Zaidel, Dahlia W

    2010-02-01

    Art is a uniquely human activity associated fundamentally with symbolic and abstract cognition. Its practice in human societies throughout the world, coupled with seeming non-functionality, has led to three major brain theories of art. (1) The localized brain regions and pathways theory links art to multiple neural regions. (2) The display of art and its aesthetics theory is tied to the biological motivation of courtship signals and mate selection strategies in animals. (3) The evolutionary theory links the symbolic nature of art to critical pivotal brain changes in Homo sapiens supporting increased development of language and hierarchical social grouping. Collectively, these theories point to art as a multi-process cognition dependent on diverse brain regions and on redundancy in art-related functional representation.

  14. Evolution of human growth spurts.

    PubMed

    Leigh, S R

    1996-12-01

    This study investigates subadult growth spurts in a large sample of anthropoid primates, including humans. Analyses of body mass growth curves show that humans are not unique in the expression of female and male body mass growth spurts. Subadult growth spurts are observed in both New World and Old World anthropoid primates and are more common in males than in females. Allometric analyses of growth spurts indicate that many aspects of primate growth spurts are strongly correlated with species size. Small species tend not to exhibit growth spurts. Although male and female scaling patterns for velocity and size measures are comparable, scaling relations of variables that measure the timing of growth spurts differ by sex. These patterns can be related to sexual differences in life histories. Scaling analyses further show that humans do not depart substantially from patterns that describe other anthropoid primates. Thus, in relative terms, human growth spurts are not exceptional compared to this sample of primates. The long absolute delay in the initiation of the human growth spurt may be of substantial evolutionary importance and serves to distinguish humans from other primates. In essence, humans exhibit growth spurts that are comparable to other primates in many respects. However, human growth spurts are shifted to very late absolute ages.

  15. Human NDE1 splicing and mammalian brain development

    PubMed Central

    Mosca, S.; Raponi, M.; Meneghello, A.; Buratti, E.; Woods, C. G.; Baralle, D.

    2017-01-01

    Exploring genetic and molecular differences between humans and other close species may be the key to explain the uniqueness of our brain and the selective pressures under which it evolves. Recent discoveries unveiled the involvement of Nuclear distribution factor E-homolog 1 (NDE1) in human cerebral cortical neurogenesis and suggested a role in brain evolution; however the evolutionary changes involved have not been investigated. NDE1 has a different gene structure in human and mouse resulting in the production of diverse splicing isoforms. In particular, mouse uses the terminal exon 8 T, while Human uses terminal exon 9, which is absent in rodents. Through chimeric minigenes splicing assay we investigated the unique elements regulating NDE1 terminal exon choice. We found that selection of the terminal exon is regulated in a cell dependent manner and relies on gain/loss of splicing regulatory sequences across the exons. Our results show how evolutionary changes in cis as well as trans acting signals have played a fundamental role in determining NDE1 species specific splicing isoforms supporting the notion that alternative splicing plays a central role in human genome evolution, and possibly human cognitive predominance. PMID:28266585

  16. Human NDE1 splicing and mammalian brain development.

    PubMed

    Mosca, S; Raponi, M; Meneghello, A; Buratti, E; Woods, C G; Baralle, D

    2017-03-07

    Exploring genetic and molecular differences between humans and other close species may be the key to explain the uniqueness of our brain and the selective pressures under which it evolves. Recent discoveries unveiled the involvement of Nuclear distribution factor E-homolog 1 (NDE1) in human cerebral cortical neurogenesis and suggested a role in brain evolution; however the evolutionary changes involved have not been investigated. NDE1 has a different gene structure in human and mouse resulting in the production of diverse splicing isoforms. In particular, mouse uses the terminal exon 8 T, while Human uses terminal exon 9, which is absent in rodents. Through chimeric minigenes splicing assay we investigated the unique elements regulating NDE1 terminal exon choice. We found that selection of the terminal exon is regulated in a cell dependent manner and relies on gain/loss of splicing regulatory sequences across the exons. Our results show how evolutionary changes in cis as well as trans acting signals have played a fundamental role in determining NDE1 species specific splicing isoforms supporting the notion that alternative splicing plays a central role in human genome evolution, and possibly human cognitive predominance.

  17. Evolution of the brain and social behavior in chimpanzees.

    PubMed

    Matsuzawa, Tetsuro

    2013-06-01

    The comparison of humans and chimpanzees is a unique way to highlight the evolutionary origins of human nature. This paper summarizes the most recent advances in the study of chimpanzee brains, cognition, and behavior. It covers the topics such as eye-tracking study, helping behavior, prefrontal WM volume increase during infancy, and fetal brain development. Based on the facts, the paper proposed the "social brain hypothesis". Chimpanzees are good at capturing images as a whole, while humans are better at understanding the meaning of what they see. Chimpanzees apparently focus on the salient objects, neglecting the social context. In contrast, humans always recognize things within the social context, paying preferential attention to people, as agents. This is consistent with the fact that humans are highly altruistic and collaborative from a very young age. Thus, humans have evolved towards increased collaboration and mutual support. This kind of evolutionary pressure may have provided the basis for the development of the human brain with its unique functions. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. The human parental brain: In vivo neuroimaging

    PubMed Central

    Swain, James E.

    2015-01-01

    Interacting parenting thoughts and behaviors, supported by key brain circuits, critically shape human infants’ current and future behavior. Indeed, the parent–infant relationship provides infants with their first social environment, forming templates for what they can expect from others, how to interact with them and ultimately how they go on to themselves to be parents. This review concentrates on magnetic resonance imaging experiments of the human parent brain, which link brain physiology with parental thoughts and behaviors. After reviewing brain imaging techniques, certain social cognitive and affective concepts are reviewed, including empathy and trust—likely critical to parenting. Following that is a thorough study-by-study review of the state-of-the-art with respect to human neuroimaging studies of the parental brain—from parent brain responses to salient infant stimuli, including emotionally charged baby cries and brief visual stimuli to the latest structural brain studies. Taken together, this research suggests that networks of highly conserved hypothalamic–midbrain–limbic–paralimbic–cortical circuits act in concert to support parental brain responses to infants, including circuits for limbic emotion response and regulation. Thus, a model is presented in which infant stimuli activate sensory analysis brain regions, affect corticolimbic limbic circuits that regulate emotional response, motivation and reward related to their infant, ultimately organizing parenting impulses, thoughts and emotions into coordinated behaviors as a map for future studies. Finally, future directions towards integrated understanding of the brain basis of human parenting are outlined with profound implications for understanding and contributing to long term parent and infant mental health. PMID:21036196

  19. Throwing, the Shoulder, and Human Evolution.

    PubMed

    Kuhn, John E

    2016-01-01

    Throwing with accuracy and speed is a skill unique to humans. Throwing has many advantages and the ability to throw has likely been promoted through natural selection in the evolution of humans. There are many unsolved questions regarding the anatomy of the human shoulder. The purpose of this article is to review many of these mysteries and propose that the answer to these questions can be understood if one views the shoulder as a joint that has evolved to throw.

  20. Inferential stereomorphology of human brain lesions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gedye, John L.

    1980-07-01

    I very much appreciated the invitation to contribute a paper to this Symposium on Applications of Human Biostereometrics, as it provides a valuable opportunity for me to take a fresh look at a problemâ€""the cerebral localisation of psychological function"â€"in which I have been interested for many years. This interest grew out of considerations of the clinically important problem of how we should go about the task of relating the form of the changes in human behavior consequent upon damage to the human brain following, say, head injury, to the form of the changes in brain morphology which constitute that damage, and related issues.

  1. Identification of human brain tumour initiating cells.

    PubMed

    Singh, Sheila K; Hawkins, Cynthia; Clarke, Ian D; Squire, Jeremy A; Bayani, Jane; Hide, Takuichiro; Henkelman, R Mark; Cusimano, Michael D; Dirks, Peter B

    2004-11-18

    The cancer stem cell (CSC) hypothesis suggests that neoplastic clones are maintained exclusively by a rare fraction of cells with stem cell properties. Although the existence of CSCs in human leukaemia is established, little evidence exists for CSCs in solid tumours, except for breast cancer. Recently, we prospectively isolated a CD133+ cell subpopulation from human brain tumours that exhibited stem cell properties in vitro. However, the true measures of CSCs are their capacity for self renewal and exact recapitulation of the original tumour. Here we report the development of a xenograft assay that identified human brain tumour initiating cells that initiate tumours in vivo. Only the CD133+ brain tumour fraction contains cells that are capable of tumour initiation in NOD-SCID (non-obese diabetic, severe combined immunodeficient) mouse brains. Injection of as few as 100 CD133+ cells produced a tumour that could be serially transplanted and was a phenocopy of the patient's original tumour, whereas injection of 10(5) CD133- cells engrafted but did not cause a tumour. Thus, the identification of brain tumour initiating cells provides insights into human brain tumour pathogenesis, giving strong support for the CSC hypothesis as the basis for many solid tumours, and establishes a previously unidentified cellular target for more effective cancer therapies.

  2. Evolution of Nova-Dependent Splicing Regulation in the Brain

    PubMed Central

    Živin, Marko; Darnell, Robert B

    2007-01-01

    A large number of alternative exons are spliced with tissue-specific patterns, but little is known about how such patterns have evolved. Here, we study the conservation of the neuron-specific splicing factors Nova1 and Nova2 and of the alternatively spliced exons they regulate in mouse brain. Whereas Nova RNA binding domains are 94% identical across vertebrate species, Nova-dependent splicing silencer and enhancer elements (YCAY clusters) show much greater divergence, as less than 50% of mouse YCAY clusters are conserved at orthologous positions in the zebrafish genome. To study the relation between the evolution of tissue-specific splicing and YCAY clusters, we compared the brain-specific splicing of Nova-regulated exons in zebrafish, chicken, and mouse. The presence of YCAY clusters in lower vertebrates invariably predicted conservation of brain-specific splicing across species, whereas their absence in lower vertebrates correlated with a loss of alternative splicing. We hypothesize that evolution of Nova-regulated splicing in higher vertebrates proceeds mainly through changes in cis-acting elements, that tissue-specific splicing might in some cases evolve in a single step corresponding to evolution of a YCAY cluster, and that the conservation level of YCAY clusters relates to the functions encoded by the regulated RNAs. PMID:17937501

  3. Human nature, human culture: the case of cultural evolution.

    PubMed

    Lewens, Tim

    2017-10-06

    In recent years, far from arguing that evolutionary approaches to our own species permit us to describe the fundamental character of human nature, a prominent group of cultural evolutionary theorists has instead argued that the very idea of 'human nature' is one we should reject. It makes no sense, they argue, to speak of human nature in opposition to human culture. The very same sceptical arguments have also led some thinkers-usually from social anthropology-to dismiss the intimately related idea that we can talk of human culture in opposition to human nature. How, then, are we supposed to understand the cultural evolutionary project itself, whose proponents seem to deny the distinction between human nature and human culture, while simultaneously relying on a closely allied distinction between 'genetic' (or sometimes 'organic') evolution and 'cultural' evolution? This paper defends the cultural evolutionary project against the charge that, in refusing to endorse the concept of human nature, it has inadvertently sabotaged itself.

  4. Molecular evolution of human species D adenoviruses

    PubMed Central

    Robinson, Christopher M.; Seto, Donald; Jones, Morris S.; Dyer, David W.; Chodosh, James

    2011-01-01

    Adenoviruses are medium-sized double stranded DNA viruses that infect vertebrates. Human adenoviruses cause an array of diseases. Currently there are 56 human adenovirus types recognized and characterized within seven species (A-G). Of those types, a majority belongs to species D. In this review, the genomic conservation and diversity are examined amongst human adenoviruses within species D, particularly in contrast to other human adenovirus species. Specifically, homologous recombination is presented as a driving force for the molecular evolution of human adenoviruses and the emergence of new adenovirus pathogens. PMID:21570490

  5. Evolution of the brain and intelligence in primates.

    PubMed

    Roth, Gerhard; Dicke, Ursula

    2012-01-01

    Primates are, on average, more intelligent than other mammals, with great apes and finally humans on top. They generally have larger brains and cortices, and because of higher relative cortex volume and neuron packing density (NPD), they have much more cortical neurons than other mammalian taxa with the same brain size. Likewise, information processing capacity is generally higher in primates due to short interneuronal distance and high axonal conduction velocity. Across primate taxa, differences in intelligence correlate best with differences in number of cortical neurons and synapses plus information processing speed. The human brain stands out by having a large cortical volume with relatively high NPD, high conduction velocity, and high cortical parcellation. All aspects of human intelligence are present at least in rudimentary form in nonhuman primates or some mammals or vertebrates except syntactical language. The latter can be regarded as a very potent "intelligence amplifier."

  6. Brain evolution and development: adaptation, allometry and constraint

    PubMed Central

    Barton, Robert A.

    2016-01-01

    Phenotypic traits are products of two processes: evolution and development. But how do these processes combine to produce integrated phenotypes? Comparative studies identify consistent patterns of covariation, or allometries, between brain and body size, and between brain components, indicating the presence of significant constraints limiting independent evolution of separate parts. These constraints are poorly understood, but in principle could be either developmental or functional. The developmental constraints hypothesis suggests that individual components (brain and body size, or individual brain components) tend to evolve together because natural selection operates on relatively simple developmental mechanisms that affect the growth of all parts in a concerted manner. The functional constraints hypothesis suggests that correlated change reflects the action of selection on distributed functional systems connecting the different sub-components, predicting more complex patterns of mosaic change at the level of the functional systems and more complex genetic and developmental mechanisms. These hypotheses are not mutually exclusive but make different predictions. We review recent genetic and neurodevelopmental evidence, concluding that functional rather than developmental constraints are the main cause of the observed patterns. PMID:27629025

  7. Fossils and the Evolution of the Arthropod Brain.

    PubMed

    Strausfeld, Nicholas J; Ma, Xiaoya; Edgecombe, Gregory D

    2016-10-24

    The discovery of fossilized brains and ventral nerve cords in lower and mid-Cambrian arthropods has led to crucial insights about the evolution of their central nervous system, the segmental identity of head appendages and the early evolution of eyes and their underlying visual systems. Fundamental ground patterns of lower Cambrian arthropod brains and nervous systems correspond to the ground patterns of brains and nervous systems belonging to three of four major extant panarthropod lineages. These findings demonstrate the evolutionary stability of early neural arrangements over an immense time span. Here, we put these fossil discoveries in the context of evidence from cladistics, as well as developmental and comparative neuroanatomy, which together suggest that despite many evolved modifications of neuropil centers within arthropod brains and ganglia, highly conserved arrangements have been retained. Recent phylogenies of the arthropods, based on fossil and molecular evidence, and estimates of divergence dates, suggest that neural ground patterns characterizing onychophorans, chelicerates and mandibulates are likely to have diverged between the terminal Ediacaran and earliest Cambrian, heralding the exuberant diversification of body forms that account for the Cambrian Explosion.

  8. Nutritional armor in evolution: docosahexaenoic acid as a determinant of neural, evolution and hominid brain development.

    PubMed

    Crawford, Michael A; Broadhurst, C Leigh; Cunnane, Stephen; Marsh, David E; Schmidt, Walter F; Brand, Annette; Ghebremeskel, Kebreab

    2014-11-01

    The aim of this article is to draw attention to the special significance of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the brain, the potential relevance of its abundance to the evolution of the brain in past history, and now the relevance of paucity in the food supply to the rise in mental ill-health. Membrane lipids of photoreceptors, synapses, and neurons over the last 600 million years contained consistent and similarly high levels of DHA despite wide genomic change. The consistency is despite the DHA precursor differing only by 2 protons. This striking conservation is an example of Darwin's "Conditions of Existence," which he described as the higher force in evolution. A purpose of this article is to suggest that the present paradigm of food production currently based on protein requirements, should change to serve the specific lipid needs of the brain to address the rise in mental ill-health.(1.)

  9. Human brain mapping: Experimental and computational approaches

    SciTech Connect

    Wood, C.C.; George, J.S.; Schmidt, D.M.; Aine, C.J.; Sanders, J.; Belliveau, J.

    1998-11-01

    This is the final report of a three-year, Laboratory-Directed Research and Development (LDRD) project at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). This program developed project combined Los Alamos' and collaborators' strengths in noninvasive brain imaging and high performance computing to develop potential contributions to the multi-agency Human Brain Project led by the National Institute of Mental Health. The experimental component of the project emphasized the optimization of spatial and temporal resolution of functional brain imaging by combining: (a) structural MRI measurements of brain anatomy; (b) functional MRI measurements of blood flow and oxygenation; and (c) MEG measurements of time-resolved neuronal population currents. The computational component of the project emphasized development of a high-resolution 3-D volumetric model of the brain based on anatomical MRI, in which structural and functional information from multiple imaging modalities can be integrated into a single computational framework for modeling, visualization, and database representation.

  10. The development of Human Functional Brain Networks

    PubMed Central

    Power, Jonathan D; Fair, Damien A; Schlaggar, Bradley L

    2010-01-01

    Recent advances in MRI technology have enabled precise measurements of correlated activity throughout the brain, leading to the first comprehensive descriptions of functional brain networks in humans. This article reviews the growing literature on the development of functional networks, from infancy through adolescence, as measured by resting state functional connectivity MRI. We note several limitations of traditional approaches to describing brain networks, and describe a powerful framework for analyzing networks, called graph theory. We argue that characterization of the development of brain systems (e.g. the default mode network) should be comprehensive, considering not only relationships within a given system, but also how these relationships are situated within wider network contexts. We note that, despite substantial reorganization of functional connectivity, several large-scale network properties appear to be preserved across development, suggesting that functional brain networks, even in children, are organized in manners similar to other complex systems. PMID:20826306

  11. Symmetry and asymmetry in the human brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hugdahl, Kenneth

    2005-10-01

    Structural and functional asymmetry in the human brain and nervous system is reviewed in a historical perspective, focusing on the pioneering work of Broca, Wernicke, Sperry, and Geschwind. Structural and functional asymmetry is exemplified from work done in our laboratory on auditory laterality using an empirical procedure called dichotic listening. This also involves different ways of validating the dichotic listening procedure against both invasive and non-invasive techniques, including PET and fMRI blood flow recordings. A major argument is that the human brain shows a substantial interaction between structurally, or "bottom-up" asymmetry and cognitively, or "top-down" modulation, through a focus of attention to the right or left side in auditory space. These results open up a more dynamic and interactive view of functional brain asymmetry than the traditional static view that the brain is lateralized, or asymmetric, only for specific stimuli and stimulus properties.

  12. Noise-induced sensitization of human brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yamamoto, Yoshiharu; Hidaka, Ichiro; Nozaki, Daichi; Iso-o, Noriko; Soma, Rika; Kwak, Shin

    2002-11-01

    In the past decade, it has been recognized that noise can enhance the response of nonlinear systems to weak signals, via a mechanism known as stochastic resonance (SR). Particularly, the concept of SR has generated considerable interest in sensory biology, because it has been shown in several experimental studies that noise can assist neural systems in detecting weak signals which could not be detected in its absence. Recently, we have shown a similar type of noise-induced sensitization of human brain; externally added noise to the brain stem baroreflex centers sensitized their responses in maintaining adequate blood perfusion to the brain itself. Furthermore, the addition of noise has also shown to be useful in compensating for dysfunctions of the baroreflex centers in certain neurological diseases. It is concluded that the statistical physics concept of SR could be useful in sensitizing human brain in health and disease.

  13. Cytogenetics of human brain tumors

    SciTech Connect

    Finkernagel, S.W.; Kletz, T.; Day-Salvatore, D.L.

    1994-09-01

    Chromosome studies of 55 brain tumors, including meningiomas, gliomas, astrocyomas and pituatary adenomas, were performed. Primary and first passage cultures were successfully obtained in 75% of these samples with an average of 18 G-banded metaphases analyzed per tumor. 44% of all the brain tumors showed numerical and or structural abnormalities. 46% of the primary and 38% of the first passage cultures showed similar numerical gains/losses and complex karyotypic changes. The most frequent numerical abnormalities (n {ge} 5) included loss of chromosomes 10, 22, and Y. The structural abnormalities most often seen involved 1p, 2, 5, 7, 17q and 19. This is an ongoing study which will attempt to correlate tumor type with specific karyotypic changes and to see if any of the observed chromosomal abnormalities provide prognostic indicators.

  14. Language evolution and human-computer interaction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grudin, Jonathan; Norman, Donald A.

    1991-01-01

    Many of the issues that confront designers of interactive computer systems also appear in natural language evolution. Natural languages and human-computer interfaces share as their primary mission the support of extended 'dialogues' between responsive entities. Because in each case one participant is a human being, some of the pressures operating on natural languages, causing them to evolve in order to better support such dialogue, also operate on human-computer 'languages' or interfaces. This does not necessarily push interfaces in the direction of natural language - since one entity in this dialogue is not a human, this is not to be expected. Nonetheless, by discerning where the pressures that guide natural language evolution also appear in human-computer interaction, we can contribute to the design of computer systems and obtain a new perspective on natural languages.

  15. Language evolution and human-computer interaction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grudin, Jonathan; Norman, Donald A.

    1991-01-01

    Many of the issues that confront designers of interactive computer systems also appear in natural language evolution. Natural languages and human-computer interfaces share as their primary mission the support of extended 'dialogues' between responsive entities. Because in each case one participant is a human being, some of the pressures operating on natural languages, causing them to evolve in order to better support such dialogue, also operate on human-computer 'languages' or interfaces. This does not necessarily push interfaces in the direction of natural language - since one entity in this dialogue is not a human, this is not to be expected. Nonetheless, by discerning where the pressures that guide natural language evolution also appear in human-computer interaction, we can contribute to the design of computer systems and obtain a new perspective on natural languages.

  16. The Brain Prize 2014: complex human functions.

    PubMed

    Grigaityte, Kristina; Iacoboni, Marco

    2014-11-01

    Giacomo Rizzolatti, Stanislas Dehaene, and Trevor Robbins were recently awarded the 2014 Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize for their 'pioneering research on higher brain mechanisms underpinning such complex human functions as literacy, numeracy, motivated behavior and social cognition, and for their effort to understand cognitive and behavioral disorders'. Why was their work highlighted? Is there anything that links together these seemingly disparate lines of research?

  17. Human blood-brain barrier insulin receptor.

    PubMed

    Pardridge, W M; Eisenberg, J; Yang, J

    1985-06-01

    A new model system for characterizing the human brain capillary, which makes up the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in vivo, is described in these studies and is applied initially to the investigation of the human BBB insulin receptor. Autopsy brains were obtained from the pathologist between 22-36 h postmortem and were used to isolate human brain microvessels which appeared intact on both light and phase microscopy. The microvessels were positive for human factor 8 and for a BBB-specific enzyme marker, gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase. The microvessels avidly bound insulin with a high-affinity dissociation constant, KD = 1.2 +/- 0.5 nM. The human brain microvessels internalized insulin based on acid-wash assay, and 75% of insulin was internalized at 37 degrees C. The microvessels transported insulin to the medium at 37 degrees C with a t1/2 = approximately 70 min. Little of the 125I-insulin was metabolized by the microvessels under these conditions based on the elution profile of the medium extract over a Sephadex G-50 column. Plasma membranes were obtained from the human brain microvessels and these membranes were enriched in membrane markers such as gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase or alkaline phosphatase. The plasma membranes bound 125I-insulin with and ED50 = 10 ng/ml, which was identical to the 50% binding point in intact microvessels. The human BBB plasma membranes were solubilized in Triton X-100 and were adsorbed to a wheat germ agglutinin Sepharose affinity column, indicating the BBB insulin receptor is a glycoprotein. Affinity cross-linking of insulin to the plasma membranes revealed a 127K protein that specifically binds insulin.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

  18. Seasonality in human cognitive brain responses

    PubMed Central

    Meyer, Christelle; Muto, Vincenzo; Jaspar, Mathieu; Kussé, Caroline; Lambot, Erik; Chellappa, Sarah L.; Degueldre, Christian; Balteau, Evelyne; Luxen, André; Middleton, Benita; Archer, Simon N.; Collette, Fabienne; Dijk, Derk-Jan; Phillips, Christophe; Maquet, Pierre; Vandewalle, Gilles

    2016-01-01

    Daily variations in the environment have shaped life on Earth, with circadian cycles identified in most living organisms. Likewise, seasons correspond to annual environmental fluctuations to which organisms have adapted. However, little is known about seasonal variations in human brain physiology. We investigated annual rhythms of brain activity in a cross-sectional study of healthy young participants. They were maintained in an environment free of seasonal cues for 4.5 d, after which brain responses were assessed using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they performed two different cognitive tasks. Brain responses to both tasks varied significantly across seasons, but the phase of these annual rhythms was strikingly different, speaking for a complex impact of season on human brain function. For the sustained attention task, the maximum and minimum responses were located around summer and winter solstices, respectively, whereas for the working memory task, maximum and minimum responses were observed around autumn and spring equinoxes. These findings reveal previously unappreciated process-specific seasonality in human cognitive brain function that could contribute to intraindividual cognitive changes at specific times of year and changes in affective control in vulnerable populations. PMID:26858432

  19. Seasonality in human cognitive brain responses.

    PubMed

    Meyer, Christelle; Muto, Vincenzo; Jaspar, Mathieu; Kussé, Caroline; Lambot, Erik; Chellappa, Sarah L; Degueldre, Christian; Balteau, Evelyne; Luxen, André; Middleton, Benita; Archer, Simon N; Collette, Fabienne; Dijk, Derk-Jan; Phillips, Christophe; Maquet, Pierre; Vandewalle, Gilles

    2016-03-15

    Daily variations in the environment have shaped life on Earth, with circadian cycles identified in most living organisms. Likewise, seasons correspond to annual environmental fluctuations to which organisms have adapted. However, little is known about seasonal variations in human brain physiology. We investigated annual rhythms of brain activity in a cross-sectional study of healthy young participants. They were maintained in an environment free of seasonal cues for 4.5 d, after which brain responses were assessed using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they performed two different cognitive tasks. Brain responses to both tasks varied significantly across seasons, but the phase of these annual rhythms was strikingly different, speaking for a complex impact of season on human brain function. For the sustained attention task, the maximum and minimum responses were located around summer and winter solstices, respectively, whereas for the working memory task, maximum and minimum responses were observed around autumn and spring equinoxes. These findings reveal previously unappreciated process-specific seasonality in human cognitive brain function that could contribute to intraindividual cognitive changes at specific times of year and changes in affective control in vulnerable populations.

  20. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the human brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Strózik-Kotlorz, D.

    2014-01-01

    I give a brief description of the magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) in the human brain examinations. MRS allows a noninvasive chemical analysis of the brain using a standard high field MR system. Nowadays, the dominant form of MR brain spectroscopy is proton spectroscopy. Two main techniques of MRS, which utilize the chemical shift of metabolites in the external magnetic field, are SVS (single voxel) and CSI (single slice). The major peaks in the spectrum of a normal brain include NAA, Cr, Cho and m-Ins, which are neuronal, energetic, membrane turnover and glial markers, respectively. In disease, two pathological metabolites can be found in the brain spectra: Lac, which is end product of anaerobic glycolysis and Lip, which is a marker of membrane breakdown, occurring in necrosis. The common way to analyze clinical spectra is to determine metabolite ratios, e.g. NAA/Cr, Cho/Cr, Cho/NAA. This analysis permits a safe and noninvasive examination of the brain tissue as each disease state has its own characteristic spectroscopic image. MRS is a valuable diagnostic tool in such clinical applications as detecting brain tumors and differentiating tumors from inflammatory and infectious processes. Proton MRS is also very helpful in diagnostic of ischemic lesions, Alzheimer's disease and hepatic encephalopathy. The MRS brain spectra should always be correlated with the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) results and alone cannot make neurological diagnosis.

  1. Reirradiation Tolerance of the Human Brain

    SciTech Connect

    Mayer, Ramona; Sminia, Peter

    2008-04-01

    Purpose: To give an overview of current available clinical data on reirradiation of glioma with respect to the tolerance dose of normal brain tissue. Methods and Materials: Clinical brain reirradiation studies from January 1996 to December 2006 were considered on radiation-induced late adverse effects-i.e., brain tissue necrosis. The studies were analyzed by using the linear quadratic model to derive information on the cumulative biologic effective tolerance dose and equivalent doses in 2-Gy fractions for the healthy human brain. Results: The cumulative dose in conventional reirradiation series (of 81.6-101.9 Gy) were generally lower than in fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (FSRT) ( 90-133.9 Gy.) or LINAC-based stereotactic radiosurgery series (of 111.6-137.2 Gy). No correlation between the time interval between the initial and reirradiation course and the incidence of radionecrosis was noted. The analysis showed the prescribed to increase with decreasing treatment volume, which is allowed by modern conformal radiation techniques. Conclusion: Radiation-induced normal brain tissue necrosis is found to occur at >100 Gy. The applied reirradiation dose and increases with a change in irradiation technique from conventional to radiosurgery re-treatment, without increasing the probability of normal brain necrosis. Taken together, modern conformal treatment options, because of their limited volume of normal brain tissue exposure, allow brain reirradiation for palliative treatment of recurrent high grade glioma with an acceptable probability of radionecrosis.

  2. Cortical Evolution: Judge the Brain by Its Cover

    PubMed Central

    Geschwind, Daniel H.; Rakic, Pasko

    2014-01-01

    To understand the emergence of human higher cognition, we must understand its biological substrate—the cerebral cortex, which considers itself the crowning achievement of evolution. Here, we describe how advances in developmental neurobiology, coupled with those in genetics, including adaptive protein evolution via gene duplications and the emergence of novel regulatory elements, can provide insights into the evolutionary mechanisms culminating in the human cerebrum. Given that the massive expansion of the cortical surface and elaboration of its connections in humans originates from developmental events, understanding the genetic regulation of cell number, neuronal migration to proper layers, columns, and regions, and ultimately their differentiation into specific phenotypes, is critical. The pre- and postnatal environment also interacts with the cellular substrate to yield a basic network that is refined via selection and elimination of synaptic connections, a process that is prolonged in humans. This knowledge provides essential insight into the pathogenesis of human-specific neuropsychiatric disorders. PMID:24183016

  3. Evolution of the Human Nervous System Function, Structure, and Development.

    PubMed

    Sousa, André M M; Meyer, Kyle A; Santpere, Gabriel; Gulden, Forrest O; Sestan, Nenad

    2017-07-13

    The nervous system-in particular, the brain and its cognitive abilities-is among humans' most distinctive and impressive attributes. How the nervous system has changed in the human lineage and how it differs from that of closely related primates is not well understood. Here, we consider recent comparative analyses of extant species that are uncovering new evidence for evolutionary changes in the size and the number of neurons in the human nervous system, as well as the cellular and molecular reorganization of its neural circuits. We also discuss the developmental mechanisms and underlying genetic and molecular changes that generate these structural and functional differences. As relevant new information and tools materialize at an unprecedented pace, the field is now ripe for systematic and functionally relevant studies of the development and evolution of human nervous system specializations. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  4. Human-modified ecosystems and future evolution

    PubMed Central

    Western, David

    2001-01-01

    Our global impact is finally receiving the scientific attention it deserves. The outcome will largely determine the future course of evolution. Human-modified ecosystems are shaped by our activities and their side effects. They share a common set of traits including simplified food webs, landscape homogenization, and high nutrient and energy inputs. Ecosystem simplification is the ecological hallmark of humanity and the reason for our evolutionary success. However, the side effects of our profligacy and poor resource practices are now so pervasive as to threaten our future no less than that of biological diversity itself. This article looks at human impact on ecosystems and the consequences for evolution. It concludes that future evolution will be shaped by our awareness of the global threats, our willingness to take action, and our ability to do so. Our ability is presently hampered by several factors, including the poor state of ecosystem and planetary knowledge, ignorance of human impact, lack of guidelines for sustainability, and a paucity of good policies, practices, and incentives for adopting those guidelines in daily life. Conservation philosophy, science, and practice must be framed against the reality of human-dominated ecosystems, rather than the separation of humanity and nature underlying the modern conservation movement. The steps scientists can take to imbed science in conservation and conservation in the societal process affecting the future of ecosystems and human well-being are discussed. PMID:11344294

  5. Law, evolution and the brain: applications and open questions.

    PubMed Central

    Jones, Owen D

    2004-01-01

    This paper discusses several issues at the intersection of law and brain science. It focuses principally on ways in which an improved understanding of how evolutionary processes affect brain function and human behaviour may improve law's ability to regulate behaviour. It explores sample uses of such 'evolutionary analysis in law' and also raises questions about how that analysis might be improved in the future. Among the discussed uses are: (i) clarifying cost-benefit analyses; (ii) providing theoretical foundation and potential predictive power; (iii) assessing comparative effectiveness of legal strategies; and (iv) revealing deep patterns in legal architecture. Throughout, the paper emphasizes the extent to which effective law requires: (i) building effective behavioural models; (ii) integrating life-science perspectives with social-science perspectives; (iii) considering the effects of brain biology on behaviours that law seeks to regulate; and (iv) examining the effects of evolutionary processes on brain design. PMID:15590611

  6. Law, evolution and the brain: applications and open questions.

    PubMed

    Jones, Owen D

    2004-11-29

    This paper discusses several issues at the intersection of law and brain science. It focuses principally on ways in which an improved understanding of how evolutionary processes affect brain function and human behaviour may improve law's ability to regulate behaviour. It explores sample uses of such 'evolutionary analysis in law' and also raises questions about how that analysis might be improved in the future. Among the discussed uses are: (i) clarifying cost-benefit analyses; (ii) providing theoretical foundation and potential predictive power; (iii) assessing comparative effectiveness of legal strategies; and (iv) revealing deep patterns in legal architecture. Throughout, the paper emphasizes the extent to which effective law requires: (i) building effective behavioural models; (ii) integrating life-science perspectives with social-science perspectives; (iii) considering the effects of brain biology on behaviours that law seeks to regulate; and (iv) examining the effects of evolutionary processes on brain design.

  7. Human evolution. Evolution of early Homo: an integrated biological perspective.

    PubMed

    Antón, Susan C; Potts, Richard; Aiello, Leslie C

    2014-07-04

    Integration of evidence over the past decade has revised understandings about the major adaptations underlying the origin and early evolution of the genus Homo. Many features associated with Homo sapiens, including our large linear bodies, elongated hind limbs, large energy-expensive brains, reduced sexual dimorphism, increased carnivory, and unique life history traits, were once thought to have evolved near the origin of the genus in response to heightened aridity and open habitats in Africa. However, recent analyses of fossil, archaeological, and environmental data indicate that such traits did not arise as a single package. Instead, some arose substantially earlier and some later than previously thought. From ~2.5 to 1.5 million years ago, three lineages of early Homo evolved in a context of habitat instability and fragmentation on seasonal, intergenerational, and evolutionary time scales. These contexts gave a selective advantage to traits, such as dietary flexibility and larger body size, that facilitated survival in shifting environments.

  8. The Evolution of Human Uniqueness.

    PubMed

    Boyd, Robert

    2017-01-09

    The human species is an outlier in the natural world. Two million years ago our ancestors were a slightly odd apes. Now we occupy the largest ecological and geographical range of any species, have larger biomass, and process more energy. Usually, this transformation is explained in terms of cognitive ability-people are just smarter than all the rest. In this paper I argue that culture, our ability to learn from each other, and cooperation, our ability to make common cause with large groups of unrelated individuals are the real roots of human uniqueness, and sketch an evolutionary account of how these crucial abilities co-evolved with each other and with other features of our life histories.

  9. Rheological characterization of human brain tissue.

    PubMed

    Budday, S; Sommer, G; Haybaeck, J; Steinmann, P; Holzapfel, G A; Kuhl, E

    2017-09-15

    The rheology of ultrasoft materials like the human brain is highly sensitive to regional and temporal variations and to the type of loading. While recent experiments have shaped our understanding of the time-independent, hyperelastic response of human brain tissue, its time-dependent behavior under various loading conditions remains insufficiently understood. Here we combine cyclic and relaxation testing under multiple loading conditions, shear, compression, and tension, to understand the rheology of four different regions of the human brain, the cortex, the basal ganglia, the corona radiata, and the corpus callosum. We establish a family of finite viscoelastic Ogden-type models and calibrate their parameters simultaneously for all loading conditions. We show that the model with only one viscoelastic mode and a constant viscosity captures the essential features of brain tissue: nonlinearity, pre-conditioning, hysteresis, and tension-compression asymmetry. With stiffnesses and time constants of μ∞=0.7kPa, μ1=2.0kPa, and τ1=9.7s in the gray matter cortex and μ∞=0.3kPa, μ1=0.9kPa and τ1=14.9s in the white matter corona radiata combined with negative parameters α∞ and α1, this five-parameter model naturally accounts for pre-conditioning and tissue softening. Increasing the number of viscoelastic modes improves the agreement between model and experiment, especially across the entire relaxation regime. Strikingly, two cycles of pre-conditioning decrease the gray matter stiffness by up to a factor three, while the white matter stiffness remains almost identical. These new insights allow us to better understand the rheology of different brain regions under mixed loading conditions. Our family of finite viscoelastic Ogden-type models for human brain tissue is simple to integrate into standard nonlinear finite element packages. Our simultaneous parameter identification of multiple loading modes can inform computational simulations under physiological conditions

  10. Reconstructing human evolution: Achievements, challenges, and opportunities

    PubMed Central

    Wood, Bernard

    2010-01-01

    This contribution reviews the evidence that has resolved the branching structure of the higher primate part of the tree of life and the substantial body of fossil evidence for human evolution. It considers some of the problems faced by those who try to interpret the taxonomy and systematics of the human fossil record. How do you to tell an early human taxon from one in a closely related clade? How do you determine the number of taxa represented in the human clade? How can homoplasy be recognized and factored into attempts to recover phylogeny? PMID:20445105

  11. The evolution of the human genome.

    PubMed

    Simonti, Corinne N; Capra, John A

    2015-12-01

    Human genomes hold a record of the evolutionary forces that have shaped our species. Advances in DNA sequencing, functional genomics, and population genetic modeling have deepened our understanding of human demographic history, natural selection, and many other long-studied topics. These advances have also revealed many previously underappreciated factors that influence the evolution of the human genome, including functional modifications to DNA and histones, conserved 3D topological chromatin domains, structural variation, and heterogeneous mutation patterns along the genome. Using evolutionary theory as a lens to study these phenomena will lead to significant breakthroughs in understanding what makes us human and why we get sick.

  12. Human intelligence and brain networks

    PubMed Central

    Colom, Roberto; Karama, Sherif; Jung, Rex E.; Haier, Richard J.

    2010-01-01

    Intelligence can be defined as a general mental ability for reasoning, problem solving, and learning. Because of its general nature, intelligence integrates cognitive functions such as perception, attention, memory, language, or planning. On the basis of this definition, intelligence can be reliably measured by standardized tests with obtained scores predicting several broad social outcomes such as educational achievement, job performance, health, and longevity. A detailed understanding of the brain mechanisms underlying this general mental ability could provide significant individual and societal benefits. Structural and functional neuroimaging studies have generally supported a frontoparietal network relevant for intelligence. This same network has also been found to underlie cognitive functions related to perception, short-term memory storage, and language. The distributed nature of this network and its involvement in a wide range of cognitive functions fits well with the integrative nature of intelligence. A new key phase of research is beginning to investigate how functional networks relate to structural networks, with emphasis on how distributed brain areas communicate with each other. PMID:21319494

  13. REVISITING GLYCOGEN CONTENT IN THE HUMAN BRAIN

    PubMed Central

    Öz, Gülin; DiNuzzo, Mauro; Kumar, Anjali; Moheet, Amir; Seaquist, Elizabeth R.

    2015-01-01

    Glycogen provides an important glucose reservoir in the brain since the concentration of glucosyl units stored in glycogen is several fold higher than free glucose available in brain tissue. We have previously reported 3–4 µmol/g brain glycogen content using in vivo 13C magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) in conjunction with [1-13C]glucose administration in healthy humans, while higher levels were reported in the rodent brain. Due to the slow turnover of bulk brain glycogen in humans, complete turnover of the glycogen pool, estimated to take 3–5 days, was not observed in these prior studies. In an attempt to reach complete turnover and thereby steady state 13C labeling in glycogen, here we administered [1-13C]glucose to healthy volunteers for 80 hours. To eliminate any net glycogen synthesis during this period and thereby achieve an accurate estimate of glycogen concentration, volunteers were maintained at euglycemic blood glucose levels during [1-13C]glucose administration and 13C-glycogen levels in the occipital lobe were measured by 13C MRS approximately every 12 hours. Finally, we fitted the data with a biophysical model that was recently developed to take into account the tiered structure of the glycogen molecule and additionally incorporated blood glucose levels and isotopic enrichments as input function in the model. We obtained excellent fits of the model to the 13C-glycogen data, and glycogen content in the healthy human brain tissue was found to be 7.8 ± 0.3 µmol/g, a value substantially higher than previous estimates of glycogen content in the human brain. PMID:26202425

  14. Genomic divergence and brain evolution: How regulatory DNA influences development of the cerebral cortex

    PubMed Central

    Silver, Debra L.

    2015-01-01

    The cerebral cortex controls our most distinguishing higher cognitive functions. Human-specific gene expression differences are abundant in the cerebral cortex, yet we have only begun to understand how these variations impact brain function. This review discusses the current evidence linking non-coding regulatory DNA changes, including enhancers, with neocortical evolution. Functional interrogation using animal models reveals converging roles for our genome in key aspects of cortical development including progenitor cell cycle and neuronal signaling. New technologies, including iPS cells and organoids, offer potential alternatives to modeling evolutionary modifications in a relevant species context. Several diseases rooted in the cerebral cortex uniquely manifest in humans compared to other primates, thus highlighting the importance of understanding human brain differences. Future studies of regulatory loci, including those implicated in disease, will collectively help elucidate key cellular and genetic mechanisms underlying our distinguishing cognitive traits. PMID:26642006

  15. Genomic divergence and brain evolution: How regulatory DNA influences development of the cerebral cortex.

    PubMed

    Silver, Debra L

    2016-02-01

    The cerebral cortex controls our most distinguishing higher cognitive functions. Human-specific gene expression differences are abundant in the cerebral cortex, yet we have only begun to understand how these variations impact brain function. This review discusses the current evidence linking non-coding regulatory DNA changes, including enhancers, with neocortical evolution. Functional interrogation using animal models reveals converging roles for our genome in key aspects of cortical development including progenitor cell cycle and neuronal signaling. New technologies, including iPS cells and organoids, offer potential alternatives to modeling evolutionary modifications in a relevant species context. Several diseases rooted in the cerebral cortex uniquely manifest in humans compared to other primates, thus highlighting the importance of understanding human brain differences. Future studies of regulatory loci, including those implicated in disease, will collectively help elucidate key cellular and genetic mechanisms underlying our distinguishing cognitive traits. © 2015 WILEY Periodicals, Inc.

  16. The human genome and the human control of natural evolution.

    PubMed

    Sakamoto, H

    2001-10-01

    Recent advances in research on the Human Genome are provoking many critical problems in the global policy regarding the future status of human beings as well as in that of the whole life system on the earth, and consequently, these advances provoke the serious bioethical and philosophical questions. Firstly, how can we comprehend that we are going to have the complete technology to manipulate the system of the human genome and other non-human genomes? Though no science and technology can be complete, we will, I believe, take possession of an almost complete gene technology in the early stage of the next Century. Gene technology will soon fall into the hands of human beings instead of rendering in the province of God. Secondly, which gene technologies will we actually realize and utilize in the early stages of the 21st Century? Most probably, we will adopt these technologies to health care to treat some apparent bodily diseases, for instance, cancer, hemophilia, ADA deficiency, and so forth, and sooner or later we will adopt gene therapy to germ lines, which, in the long run, suggests the possibility of a future "artificial evolution" instead of the "natural evolution" of the past. Thirdly, how is the new concept of "artificial evolution" justified ethically? I believe this kind of manmade evolution is the only way for human beings to survive into the future global environment. There cannot be any serious ethical objection against the idea of artificial evolution. Fourthly, what is the background philosophy for the concept of "artificial evolution"? I will discuss the nature of modern European humanism with individual dignity and fundamental human rights which has led the philosophy of modern culture and modern society, and I will conclude by suggesting that we should abolish an essential part of modern humanism and newly devise some alternative philosophy to fit the new Millennium.

  17. Allomaternal care, life history and brain size evolution in mammals.

    PubMed

    Isler, Karin; van Schaik, Carel P

    2012-07-01

    Humans stand out among the apes by having both an extremely large brain and a relatively high reproductive output, which has been proposed to be a consequence of cooperative breeding. Here, we test for general correlates of allomaternal care in a broad sample of 445 mammal species, by examining life history traits, brain size, and different helping behaviors, such as provisioning, carrying, huddling or protecting the offspring and the mother. As predicted from an energetic-cost perspective, a positive correlation between brain size and the amount of help by non-mothers is found among mammalian clades as a whole and within most groups, especially carnivores, with the notable exception of primates. In the latter group, the presence of energy subsidies during breeding instead resulted in increased fertility, up to the extreme of twinning in callitrichids, as well as a more altricial state at birth. In conclusion, humans exhibit a combination of the pattern found in provisioning carnivores, and the enhanced fertility shown by cooperatively breeding primates. Our comparative results provide support for the notion that cooperative breeding allowed early humans to sidestep the generally existing trade-off between brain size and reproductive output, and suggest an alternative explanation to the controversial 'obstetrical dilemma'-argument for the relatively altricial state of human neonates at birth. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Using Human Evolution to Teach Evolutionary Theory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Besterman, Hugo; La Velle, Linda Baggott

    2007-01-01

    This paper discusses some traditional approaches to the teaching of evolutionary theory at pre-university level, criticising in particular some of the more commonly used models and exemplars. Curricular demands are described and an alternative approach is suggested, using the emerging story of human evolution. Recent discoveries help to illustrate…

  19. Using Human Evolution to Teach Evolutionary Theory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Besterman, Hugo; La Velle, Linda Baggott

    2007-01-01

    This paper discusses some traditional approaches to the teaching of evolutionary theory at pre-university level, criticising in particular some of the more commonly used models and exemplars. Curricular demands are described and an alternative approach is suggested, using the emerging story of human evolution. Recent discoveries help to illustrate…

  20. Magnetite pollution nanoparticles in the human brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maher, Barbara A.; Ahmed, Imad A. M.; Karloukovski, Vassil; MacLaren, Donald A.; Foulds, Penelope G.; Allsop, David; Mann, David M. A.; Torres-Jardón, Ricardo; Calderon-Garciduenas, Lilian

    2016-09-01

    Biologically formed nanoparticles of the strongly magnetic mineral, magnetite, were first detected in the human brain over 20 y ago [Kirschvink JL, Kobayashi-Kirschvink A, Woodford BJ (1992) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 89(16):7683-7687]. Magnetite can have potentially large impacts on the brain due to its unique combination of redox activity, surface charge, and strongly magnetic behavior. We used magnetic analyses and electron microscopy to identify the abundant presence in the brain of magnetite nanoparticles that are consistent with high-temperature formation, suggesting, therefore, an external, not internal, source. Comprising a separate nanoparticle population from the euhedral particles ascribed to endogenous sources, these brain magnetites are often found with other transition metal nanoparticles, and they display rounded crystal morphologies and fused surface textures, reflecting crystallization upon cooling from an initially heated, iron-bearing source material. Such high-temperature magnetite nanospheres are ubiquitous and abundant in airborne particulate matter pollution. They arise as combustion-derived, iron-rich particles, often associated with other transition metal particles, which condense and/or oxidize upon airborne release. Those magnetite pollutant particles which are <˜200 nm in diameter can enter the brain directly via the olfactory bulb. Their presence proves that externally sourced iron-bearing nanoparticles, rather than their soluble compounds, can be transported directly into the brain, where they may pose hazard to human health.

  1. Regional aerobic glycolysis in the human brain

    PubMed Central

    Vaishnavi, S. Neil; Vlassenko, Andrei G.; Rundle, Melissa M.; Snyder, Abraham Z.; Mintun, Mark A.; Raichle, Marcus E.

    2010-01-01

    Aerobic glycolysis is defined as glucose utilization in excess of that used for oxidative phosphorylation despite sufficient oxygen to completely metabolize glucose to carbon dioxide and water. Aerobic glycolysis is present in the normal human brain at rest and increases locally during increased neuronal activity; yet its many biological functions have received scant attention because of a prevailing energy-centric focus on the role of glucose as substrate for oxidative phosphorylation. As an initial step in redressing this neglect, we measured the regional distribution of aerobic glycolysis with positron emission tomography in 33 neurologically normal young adults at rest. We show that the distribution of aerobic glycolysis in the brain is differentially present in previously well-described functional areas. In particular, aerobic glycolysis is significantly elevated in medial and lateral parietal and prefrontal cortices. In contrast, the cerebellum and medial temporal lobes have levels of aerobic glycolysis significantly below the brain mean. The levels of aerobic glycolysis are not strictly related to the levels of brain energy metabolism. For example, sensory cortices exhibit high metabolic rates for glucose and oxygen consumption but low rates of aerobic glycolysis. These striking regional variations in aerobic glycolysis in the normal human brain provide an opportunity to explore how brain systems differentially use the diverse cell biology of glucose in support of their functional specializations in health and disease. PMID:20837536

  2. Magnetite pollution nanoparticles in the human brain

    PubMed Central

    Maher, Barbara A.; Karloukovski, Vassil; MacLaren, Donald A.; Foulds, Penelope G.; Allsop, David; Mann, David M. A.; Torres-Jardón, Ricardo; Calderon-Garciduenas, Lilian

    2016-01-01

    Biologically formed nanoparticles of the strongly magnetic mineral, magnetite, were first detected in the human brain over 20 y ago [Kirschvink JL, Kobayashi-Kirschvink A, Woodford BJ (1992) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 89(16):7683–7687]. Magnetite can have potentially large impacts on the brain due to its unique combination of redox activity, surface charge, and strongly magnetic behavior. We used magnetic analyses and electron microscopy to identify the abundant presence in the brain of magnetite nanoparticles that are consistent with high-temperature formation, suggesting, therefore, an external, not internal, source. Comprising a separate nanoparticle population from the euhedral particles ascribed to endogenous sources, these brain magnetites are often found with other transition metal nanoparticles, and they display rounded crystal morphologies and fused surface textures, reflecting crystallization upon cooling from an initially heated, iron-bearing source material. Such high-temperature magnetite nanospheres are ubiquitous and abundant in airborne particulate matter pollution. They arise as combustion-derived, iron-rich particles, often associated with other transition metal particles, which condense and/or oxidize upon airborne release. Those magnetite pollutant particles which are <∼200 nm in diameter can enter the brain directly via the olfactory bulb. Their presence proves that externally sourced iron-bearing nanoparticles, rather than their soluble compounds, can be transported directly into the brain, where they may pose hazard to human health. PMID:27601646

  3. Magnetite pollution nanoparticles in the human brain.

    PubMed

    Maher, Barbara A; Ahmed, Imad A M; Karloukovski, Vassil; MacLaren, Donald A; Foulds, Penelope G; Allsop, David; Mann, David M A; Torres-Jardón, Ricardo; Calderon-Garciduenas, Lilian

    2016-09-27

    Biologically formed nanoparticles of the strongly magnetic mineral, magnetite, were first detected in the human brain over 20 y ago [Kirschvink JL, Kobayashi-Kirschvink A, Woodford BJ (1992) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 89(16):7683-7687]. Magnetite can have potentially large impacts on the brain due to its unique combination of redox activity, surface charge, and strongly magnetic behavior. We used magnetic analyses and electron microscopy to identify the abundant presence in the brain of magnetite nanoparticles that are consistent with high-temperature formation, suggesting, therefore, an external, not internal, source. Comprising a separate nanoparticle population from the euhedral particles ascribed to endogenous sources, these brain magnetites are often found with other transition metal nanoparticles, and they display rounded crystal morphologies and fused surface textures, reflecting crystallization upon cooling from an initially heated, iron-bearing source material. Such high-temperature magnetite nanospheres are ubiquitous and abundant in airborne particulate matter pollution. They arise as combustion-derived, iron-rich particles, often associated with other transition metal particles, which condense and/or oxidize upon airborne release. Those magnetite pollutant particles which are <∼200 nm in diameter can enter the brain directly via the olfactory bulb. Their presence proves that externally sourced iron-bearing nanoparticles, rather than their soluble compounds, can be transported directly into the brain, where they may pose hazard to human health.

  4. Tree climbing and human evolution.

    PubMed

    Venkataraman, Vivek V; Kraft, Thomas S; Dominy, Nathaniel J

    2013-01-22

    Paleoanthropologists have long argued--often contentiously--about the climbing abilities of early hominins and whether a foot adapted to terrestrial bipedalism constrained regular access to trees. However, some modern humans climb tall trees routinely in pursuit of honey, fruit, and game, often without the aid of tools or support systems. Mortality and morbidity associated with facultative arboreality is expected to favor behaviors and anatomies that facilitate safe and efficient climbing. Here we show that Twa hunter-gatherers use extraordinary ankle dorsiflexion (>45°) during climbing, similar to the degree observed in wild chimpanzees. Although we did not detect a skeletal signature of dorsiflexion in museum specimens of climbing hunter-gatherers from the Ituri forest, we did find that climbing by the Twa is associated with longer fibers in the gastrocnemius muscle relative to those of neighboring, nonclimbing agriculturalists. This result suggests that a more excursive calf muscle facilitates climbing with a bipedally adapted ankle and foot by positioning the climber closer to the tree, and it might be among the mechanisms that allow hunter-gatherers to access the canopy safely. Given that we did not find a skeletal correlate for this observed behavior, our results imply that derived aspects of the hominin ankle associated with bipedalism remain compatible with vertical climbing and arboreal resource acquisition. Our findings challenge the persistent arboreal-terrestrial dichotomy that has informed behavioral reconstructions of fossil hominins and highlight the value of using modern humans as models for inferring the limits of hominin arboreality.

  5. Tree climbing and human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Venkataraman, Vivek V.; Kraft, Thomas S.; Dominy, Nathaniel J.

    2013-01-01

    Paleoanthropologists have long argued—often contentiously—about the climbing abilities of early hominins and whether a foot adapted to terrestrial bipedalism constrained regular access to trees. However, some modern humans climb tall trees routinely in pursuit of honey, fruit, and game, often without the aid of tools or support systems. Mortality and morbidity associated with facultative arboreality is expected to favor behaviors and anatomies that facilitate safe and efficient climbing. Here we show that Twa hunter–gatherers use extraordinary ankle dorsiflexion (>45°) during climbing, similar to the degree observed in wild chimpanzees. Although we did not detect a skeletal signature of dorsiflexion in museum specimens of climbing hunter–gatherers from the Ituri forest, we did find that climbing by the Twa is associated with longer fibers in the gastrocnemius muscle relative to those of neighboring, nonclimbing agriculturalists. This result suggests that a more excursive calf muscle facilitates climbing with a bipedally adapted ankle and foot by positioning the climber closer to the tree, and it might be among the mechanisms that allow hunter–gatherers to access the canopy safely. Given that we did not find a skeletal correlate for this observed behavior, our results imply that derived aspects of the hominin ankle associated with bipedalism remain compatible with vertical climbing and arboreal resource acquisition. Our findings challenge the persistent arboreal–terrestrial dichotomy that has informed behavioral reconstructions of fossil hominins and highlight the value of using modern humans as models for inferring the limits of hominin arboreality. PMID:23277565

  6. [From animal communication to the human language and cognition: evolution or revolution?].

    PubMed

    Chernigovskaia, T V

    2008-09-01

    The paper discusses the problem of language and cognitive specificity in humans as compared to other species. The main hypotheses of human evolution and the emergence of language seem to be well researched on genetic basis of higher functions. Cognitive abilities of other animals and their communication signals and the main views on basic principles of brain underlying these functions are described.

  7. Hemispherical map for the human brain cortex

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tosun, Duygu; Prince, Jerry L.

    2001-07-01

    Understanding the function of the human brain cortex is a primary goal in human brain mapping. Methods to unfold and flatten the cortical surface for visualization and measurement have been described in previous literature; but comparison across multiple subjects is still difficult because of the lack of a standard mapping technique. We describe a new approach that maps each hemisphere of the cortex to a portion of a sphere in a standard way, making comparison of anatomy and function across different subjects possible. Starting with a three-dimensional magnetic resonance image of the brain, the cortex is segmented and represented as a triangle mesh. Defining a cut around the corpus collosum identifies the left and right hemispheres. Together, the two hemispheres are mapped to the complex plane using a conformal mapping technique. A Mobius transformation, which is conformal, is used to transform the points on the complex plane so that a projective transformation maps each brain hemisphere onto a spherical segment comprising a sphere with a cap removed. We determined the best size of the spherical cap by minimizing the relative area distortion between hemispherical maps and original cortical surfaces. The relative area distortion between the hemispherical maps and the original cortical surfaces for fifteen human brains is analyzed.

  8. More genes underwent positive selection in chimpanzee evolution than in human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Bakewell, Margaret A.; Shi, Peng; Zhang, Jianzhi

    2007-01-01

    Observations of numerous dramatic and presumably adaptive phenotypic modifications during human evolution prompt the common belief that more genes have undergone positive Darwinian selection in the human lineage than in the chimpanzee lineage since their evolutionary divergence 6–7 million years ago. Here, we test this hypothesis by analyzing nearly 14,000 genes of humans and chimps. To ensure an accurate and unbiased comparison, we select a proper outgroup, avoid sequencing errors, and verify statistical methods. Our results show that the number of positively selected genes is substantially smaller in humans than in chimps, despite a generally higher nonsynonymous substitution rate in humans. These observations are explainable by the reduced efficacy of natural selection in humans because of their smaller long-term effective population size but refute the anthropocentric view that a grand enhancement in Darwinian selection underlies human origins. Although human and chimp positively selected genes have different molecular functions and participate in different biological processes, the differences do not ostensibly correspond to the widely assumed adaptations of these species, suggesting how little is currently known about which traits have been under positive selection. Our analysis of the identified positively selected genes lends support to the association between human Mendelian diseases and past adaptations but provides no evidence for either the chromosomal speciation hypothesis or the widespread brain-gene acceleration hypothesis of human origins. PMID:17449636

  9. Group selection, altruism, reinforcement, and throwing in human evolution.

    PubMed Central

    Darlington, P J

    1975-01-01

    Evolution of altruism by group selection involves sacrifice of some individuals, not to the "group as a whole," but to other individuals in the group. Deme-group selection may establish strictly altruistic genes in a population, but only under limited conditions, and perhaps never among vertebrates, among which apparently altruistic behaviors may always potentially benefit the altruists. Responsive-group selection is a more effective mode of evolution of altruism, conspicuous in man. Evolutionary reinforcement increases the force of selection of advantageous behaviors, including altruistic ones, by making them pleasant or rewarding. It is probably involved also in ecological habitat selection, and may be the source of many human emotions, including esthetic ones. Throwing (of stones and weapons) exemplifies both the possible importance of a difficult-to-measure evolutionary factor and the role of reinforcement; in human evolution throwing may have been decisive in food-getting and fighting, in shifting emphasis from brute force to skill, and in inducing evolution of a brain able to handle three-body geometric problems precisely and thus preadapted for more complex functions. PMID:1059164

  10. Structural brain correlates of human sleep oscillations.

    PubMed

    Saletin, Jared M; van der Helm, Els; Walker, Matthew P

    2013-12-01

    Sleep is strongly conserved within species, yet marked and perplexing inter-individual differences in sleep physiology are observed. Combining EEG sleep recordings and high-resolution structural brain imaging, here we demonstrate that the morphology of the human brain offers one explanatory factor of such inter-individual variability. Gray matter volume in interoceptive and exteroceptive cortices correlated with the expression of slower NREM sleep spindle frequencies, supporting their proposed role in sleep protection against conscious perception. Conversely, and consistent with an involvement in declarative memory processing, gray matter volume in bilateral hippocampus was associated with faster NREM sleep spindle frequencies. In contrast to spindles, gray matter volume in the homeostatic sleep-regulating center of the basal forebrain/hypothalamus, together with the medial prefrontal cortex, accounted for individual differences in NREM slow wave oscillations. Together, such findings indicate that the qualitative and quantitative expression of human sleep physiology is significantly related to anatomically specific differences in macroscopic brain structure.

  11. Recent acceleration of human adaptive evolution

    PubMed Central

    Hawks, John; Wang, Eric T.; Cochran, Gregory M.; Harpending, Henry C.; Moyzis, Robert K.

    2007-01-01

    Genomic surveys in humans identify a large amount of recent positive selection. Using the 3.9-million HapMap SNP dataset, we found that selection has accelerated greatly during the last 40,000 years. We tested the null hypothesis that the observed age distribution of recent positively selected linkage blocks is consistent with a constant rate of adaptive substitution during human evolution. We show that a constant rate high enough to explain the number of recently selected variants would predict (i) site heterozygosity at least 10-fold lower than is observed in humans, (ii) a strong relationship of heterozygosity and local recombination rate, which is not observed in humans, (iii) an implausibly high number of adaptive substitutions between humans and chimpanzees, and (iv) nearly 100 times the observed number of high-frequency linkage disequilibrium blocks. Larger populations generate more new selected mutations, and we show the consistency of the observed data with the historical pattern of human population growth. We consider human demographic growth to be linked with past changes in human cultures and ecologies. Both processes have contributed to the extraordinarily rapid recent genetic evolution of our species. PMID:18087044

  12. Diabetes: energetics, development and human evolution.

    PubMed

    Campbell, B C; Cajigal, A

    2001-07-01

    The recent emergence of the thrifty phenotype as an explanation for metabolic efficiency has brought evolutionary perspectives on diabetes, as represented by the thrifty genotype, under scrutiny. However, the logic of natural selection along with evidence from non-human primates supports the role for energetic constraints in the evolution of metabolic efficiency, particularly in skeletal muscle physiology. Environmental fluctuation during human evolution would have provided selective pressures for the development of efficient skeletal muscle starting prenatally and continuing throughout the lifespan. Such mechanisms including, glucose transporters, mitochondrial gene expression, leptin receptors and uncoupling proteins, should be present in all humans, though some living populations may exhibit particular 'thriftier' alleles. A focus on physical activity and the factors underlying efficient muscle physiology has implications for prevention of diabetes in both developing and developed societies. Copyright 2001 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.

  13. Neurosteroid metabolism in the human brain.

    PubMed

    Stoffel-Wagner, B

    2001-12-01

    This review summarizes the current knowledge of the biosynthesis of neurosteroids in the human brain, the enzymes mediating these reactions, their localization and the putative effects of neurosteroids. Molecular biological and biochemical studies have now firmly established the presence of the steroidogenic enzymes cytochrome P450 cholesterol side-chain cleavage (P450SCC), aromatase, 5alpha-reductase, 3alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase in human brain. The functions attributed to specific neurosteroids include modulation of gamma-aminobutyric acid A (GABAA), N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA), nicotinic, muscarinic, serotonin (5-HT3), kainate, glycine and sigma receptors, neuroprotection and induction of neurite outgrowth, dendritic spines and synaptogenesis. The first clinical investigations in humans produced evidence for an involvement of neuroactive steroids in conditions such as fatigue during pregnancy, premenstrual syndrome, post partum depression, catamenial epilepsy, depressive disorders and dementia disorders. Better knowledge of the biochemical pathways of neurosteroidogenesis and their actions on the brain seems to open new perspectives in the understanding of the physiology of the human brain as well as in the pharmacological treatment of its disturbances.

  14. MRI Technologies in Recent Human Brain Mapping

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sasaki, Yuka

    The recent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology and techniques used in human brain mapping are remarkable. They are getting, faster, stronger and better. The advanced MRI technologies and techniques include, but not to limited to, the magnetic resonance imaging at higher magnetic field strengths, diffusion tensor imaging, multimodal neuroimaging, and monkey functional MRI. In this article, these advanced MRI techniques are briefly overviewed.

  15. Intergenerational Neuroimaging of Human Brain Circuitry.

    PubMed

    Ho, Tiffany C; Sanders, Stephan J; Gotlib, Ian H; Hoeft, Fumiko

    2016-10-01

    Neuroscientists are increasingly using advanced neuroimaging methods to elucidate the intergenerational transmission of human brain circuitry. This new line of work promises to shed light on the ontogeny of complex behavioral traits, including psychiatric disorders, and possible mechanisms of transmission. Here we highlight recent intergenerational neuroimaging studies and provide recommendations for future work.

  16. 'What' and 'where' in the human brain.

    PubMed

    Ungerleider, L G; Haxby, J V

    1994-04-01

    Multiple visual areas in the cortex of nonhuman primates are organized into two hierarchically organized and functionally specialized processing pathways, a 'ventral stream' for object vision and a 'dorsal stream' for spatial vision. Recent findings from positron emission tomography activation studies have localized these pathways within the human brain, yielding insights into cortical hierarchies, specialization of function, and attentional mechanisms.

  17. Functional constraints in the evolution of brain circuits

    PubMed Central

    Bosman, Conrado A.; Aboitiz, Francisco

    2015-01-01

    Regardless of major anatomical and neurodevelopmental differences, the vertebrate isocortex shows a remarkably well-conserved organization. In the isocortex, reciprocal connections between excitatory and inhibitory neurons are distributed across multiple layers, encompassing modular, dynamical and recurrent functional networks during information processing. These dynamical brain networks are often organized in neuronal assemblies interacting through rhythmic phase relationships. Accordingly, these oscillatory interactions are observed across multiple brain scale levels, and they are associated with several sensory, motor, and cognitive processes. Most notably, oscillatory interactions are also found in the complete spectrum of vertebrates. Yet, it is unknown why this functional organization is so well conserved in evolution. In this perspective, we propose some ideas about how functional requirements of the isocortex can account for the evolutionary stability observed in microcircuits across vertebrates. We argue that isocortex architectures represent canonical microcircuits resulting from: (i) the early selection of neuronal architectures based on the oscillatory excitatory-inhibitory balance, which lead to the implementation of compartmentalized oscillations and (ii) the subsequent emergence of inferential coding strategies (predictive coding), which are able to expand computational capacities. We also argue that these functional constraints may be the result of several advantages that oscillatory activity contributes to brain network processes, such as information transmission and code reliability. In this manner, similarities in mesoscale brain circuitry and input-output organization between different vertebrate groups may reflect evolutionary constraints imposed by these functional requirements, which may or may not be traceable to a common ancestor. PMID:26388716

  18. A Bird’s Eye View of Human Language Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Berwick, Robert C.; Beckers, Gabriël J. L.; Okanoya, Kazuo; Bolhuis, Johan J.

    2012-01-01

    Comparative studies of linguistic faculties in animals pose an evolutionary paradox: language involves certain perceptual and motor abilities, but it is not clear that this serves as more than an input–output channel for the externalization of language proper. Strikingly, the capability for auditory–vocal learning is not shared with our closest relatives, the apes, but is present in such remotely related groups as songbirds and marine mammals. There is increasing evidence for behavioral, neural, and genetic similarities between speech acquisition and birdsong learning. At the same time, researchers have applied formal linguistic analysis to the vocalizations of both primates and songbirds. What have all these studies taught us about the evolution of language? Is the comparative study of an apparently species-specific trait like language feasible? We argue that comparative analysis remains an important method for the evolutionary reconstruction and causal analysis of the mechanisms underlying language. On the one hand, common descent has been important in the evolution of the brain, such that avian and mammalian brains may be largely homologous, particularly in the case of brain regions involved in auditory perception, vocalization, and auditory memory. On the other hand, there has been convergent evolution of the capacity for auditory–vocal learning, and possibly for structuring of external vocalizations, such that apes lack the abilities that are shared between songbirds and humans. However, significant limitations to this comparative analysis remain. While all birdsong may be classified in terms of a particularly simple kind of concatenation system, the regular languages, there is no compelling evidence to date that birdsong matches the characteristic syntactic complexity of human language, arising from the composition of smaller forms like words and phrases into larger ones. PMID:22518103

  19. Human-specific hypomethylation of CENPJ, a key brain size regulator.

    PubMed

    Shi, Lei; Lin, Qiang; Su, Bing

    2014-03-01

    Both the enlarged brain and concurrent highly developed cognitive skills are often seen as distinctive characteristics that set humans apart from other primates. Despite this obvious differentiation, the genetic mechanisms that underlie such human-specific traits are not clearly understood. In particular, whether epigenetic regulations may play a key role in human brain evolution remain elusive. In this study, we used bisulfite sequencing to compare the methylation patterns of four known genes that regulate brain size (ASPM, CDK5RAP2, CENPJ, and MCPH1) in the prefrontal cortex among several primate species spanning the major lineages of primates (i.e., humans, great apes, lesser apes, and Old World monkeys). The results showed a human-specific hypomethylation in the 5' UTR of CENPJ in the brain, where methylation levels among humans are only about one-third of those found among nonhuman primates. Similar methylation patterns were also detected in liver, kidney, and heart tissues, although the between-species differences were much less pronounced than those in the brain. Further in vitro methylation assays indicated that the methylation status of the CENPJ promoter could influence its expression. We also detected a large difference in CENPJ expression in the human and nonhuman primate brains of both adult individuals and throughout the major stages of fetal brain development. The hypomethylation and comparatively high expression of CENPJ in the central nervous system of humans suggest that a human-specific--and likely heritable--epigenetic modification likely occurred during human evolution, potentially leading to a much larger neural progenitor pool during human brain development, which may have eventually contributed to the dramatically enlarged brain and highly developed cognitive abilities associated with humans.

  20. Human brain evolution and the "Neuroevolutionary Time-depth Principle:" Implications for the Reclassification of fear-circuitry-related traits in DSM-V and for studying resilience to warzone-related posttraumatic stress disorder.

    PubMed

    Bracha, H Stefan

    2006-07-01

    The DSM-III, DSM-IV, DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10 have judiciously minimized discussion of etiologies to distance clinical psychiatry from Freudian psychoanalysis. With this goal mostly achieved, discussion of etiological factors should be reintroduced into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V). A research agenda for the DSM-V advocated the "development of a pathophysiologically based classification system". The author critically reviews the neuroevolutionary literature on stress-induced and fear circuitry disorders and related amygdala-driven, species-atypical fear behaviors of clinical severity in adult humans. Over 30 empirically testable/falsifiable predictions are presented. It is noted that in DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10, the classification of stress and fear circuitry disorders is neither mode-of-acquisition-based nor brain-evolution-based. For example, snake phobia (innate) and dog phobia (overconsolidational) are clustered together. Similarly, research on blood-injection-injury-type-specific phobia clusters two fears different in their innateness: 1) an arguably ontogenetic memory-trace-overconsolidation-based fear (hospital phobia) and 2) a hardwired (innate) fear of the sight of one's blood or a sharp object penetrating one's skin. Genetic architecture-charting of fear-circuitry-related traits has been challenging. Various, non-phenotype-based architectures can serve as targets for research. In this article, the author will propose one such alternative genetic architecture. This article was inspired by the following: A) Nesse's "Smoke-Detector Principle", B) the increasing suspicion that the "smooth" rather than "lumpy" distribution of complex psychiatric phenotypes (including fear-circuitry disorders) may in some cases be accounted for by oligogenic (and not necessarily polygenic) transmission, and C) insights from the initial sequence of the chimpanzee genome and comparison with the human genome by the Chimpanzee Sequencing

  1. Unraveling the evolution of uniquely human cognition

    PubMed Central

    MacLean, Evan L.

    2016-01-01

    A satisfactory account of human cognitive evolution will explain not only the psychological mechanisms that make our species unique, but also how, when, and why these traits evolved. To date, researchers have made substantial progress toward defining uniquely human aspects of cognition, but considerably less effort has been devoted to questions about the evolutionary processes through which these traits have arisen. In this article, I aim to link these complementary aims by synthesizing recent advances in our understanding of what makes human cognition unique, with theory and data regarding the processes of cognitive evolution. I review evidence that uniquely human cognition depends on synergism between both representational and motivational factors and is unlikely to be accounted for by changes to any singular cognitive system. I argue that, whereas no nonhuman animal possesses the full constellation of traits that define the human mind, homologies and analogies of critical aspects of human psychology can be found in diverse nonhuman taxa. I suggest that phylogenetic approaches to the study of animal cognition—which can address questions about the selective pressures and proximate mechanisms driving cognitive change—have the potential to yield important insights regarding the processes through which the human cognitive phenotype evolved. PMID:27274041

  2. Unraveling the evolution of uniquely human cognition.

    PubMed

    MacLean, Evan L

    2016-06-07

    A satisfactory account of human cognitive evolution will explain not only the psychological mechanisms that make our species unique, but also how, when, and why these traits evolved. To date, researchers have made substantial progress toward defining uniquely human aspects of cognition, but considerably less effort has been devoted to questions about the evolutionary processes through which these traits have arisen. In this article, I aim to link these complementary aims by synthesizing recent advances in our understanding of what makes human cognition unique, with theory and data regarding the processes of cognitive evolution. I review evidence that uniquely human cognition depends on synergism between both representational and motivational factors and is unlikely to be accounted for by changes to any singular cognitive system. I argue that, whereas no nonhuman animal possesses the full constellation of traits that define the human mind, homologies and analogies of critical aspects of human psychology can be found in diverse nonhuman taxa. I suggest that phylogenetic approaches to the study of animal cognition-which can address questions about the selective pressures and proximate mechanisms driving cognitive change-have the potential to yield important insights regarding the processes through which the human cognitive phenotype evolved.

  3. Dynamic landscapes in human evolution and dispersal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Devès, Maud; King, Geoffrey; Bailey, Geoffrey; Inglis, Robyn; Williams, Matthew; Winder, Isabelle

    2013-04-01

    Archaeological studies of human settlement in its wider landscape setting usually focus on climate change as the principal environmental driver of change in the physical features of the landscape, even on the long time scales of early human evolution. We emphasize that landscapes evolve dynamically due to an interplay of processes occurring over different timescales. Tectonic deformation, volcanism, sea level changes, by acting on the topography, the lithology and on the patterns of erosion-deposition in a given area, can moderate or amplify the influence of climate at the regional and local scale. These processes impose or alleviate physical barriers to movement, and modify the distribution and accessibility of plant and animal resources in ways critical to human ecological and evolutionary success (King and Bailey, JHE 2006; Bailey and King, Antiquity 2011, Winder et al. Antiquity in press). The DISPERSE project, an ERC-funded collaboration between the University of York and the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, aims to develop systematic methods for reconstructing landscapes associated with active tectonics, volcanism and sea level change at a variety of scales in order to study their potential impact on patterns of human evolution and dispersal. Examples are shown to illustrate the ways in which changes of significance to human settlement can occur at a range of geographical scales and on time scales that range from lifetimes to tens of millennia, creating and sustaining attractive conditions for human settlement and exercising powerful selective pressures on human development.

  4. Human astrocytes in the diseased brain.

    PubMed

    Dossi, Elena; Vasile, Flora; Rouach, Nathalie

    2017-02-13

    Astrocytes are key active elements of the brain that contribute to information processing. They not only provide neurons with metabolic and structural support, but also regulate neurogenesis and brain wiring. Furthermore, astrocytes modulate synaptic activity and plasticity in part by controlling the extracellular space volume, as well as ion and neurotransmitter homeostasis. These findings, together with the discovery that human astrocytes display contrasting characteristics with their rodent counterparts, point to a role for astrocytes in higher cognitive functions. Dysfunction of astrocytes can thereby induce major alterations in neuronal functions, contributing to the pathogenesis of several brain disorders. In this review we summarize the current knowledge on the structural and functional alterations occurring in astrocytes from the human brain in pathological conditions such as epilepsy, primary tumours, Alzheimer's disease, major depressive disorder and Down syndrome. Compelling evidence thus shows that dysregulations of astrocyte functions and interplay with neurons contribute to the development and progression of various neurological diseases. Targeting astrocytes is thus a promising alternative approach that could contribute to the development of novel and effective therapies to treat brain disorders.

  5. Imaging visual function of the human brain

    SciTech Connect

    Marg, E.

    1988-10-01

    Imaging of human brain structure and activity with particular reference to visual function is reviewed along with methods of obtaining the data including computed tomographic (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), and positron emission tomography (PET). The literature is reviewed and the potential for a new understanding of brain visual function is discussed. PET is reviewed from basic physical principles to the most recent visual brain findings with oxygen-15. It is shown that there is a potential for submillimeter localization of visual functions with sequentially different visual stimuli designed for the temporal separation of the responses. Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), a less expensive substitute for PET, is also discussed. MRS is covered from basic physical principles to the current state of the art of in vivo biochemical analysis. Future possible clinical applications are discussed. Improved understanding of the functional neural organization of vision and brain will open a window to maps and circuits of human brain function.119 references.

  6. Zika virus impairs growth in human neurospheres and brain organoids.

    PubMed

    Garcez, Patricia P; Loiola, Erick Correia; Madeiro da Costa, Rodrigo; Higa, Luiza M; Trindade, Pablo; Delvecchio, Rodrigo; Nascimento, Juliana Minardi; Brindeiro, Rodrigo; Tanuri, Amilcar; Rehen, Stevens K

    2016-05-13

    Since the emergence of Zika virus (ZIKV), reports of microcephaly have increased considerably in Brazil; however, causality between the viral epidemic and malformations in fetal brains needs further confirmation. We examined the effects of ZIKV infection in human neural stem cells growing as neurospheres and brain organoids. Using immunocytochemistry and electron microscopy, we showed that ZIKV targets human brain cells, reducing their viability and growth as neurospheres and brain organoids. These results suggest that ZIKV abrogates neurogenesis during human brain development.

  7. Epilepsy: Extreme Events in the Human Brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lehnertz, Klaus

    The analysis of Xevents arising in dynamical systems with many degrees of freedom represents a challenge for many scientific fields. This is especially true for the open, dissipative, and adaptive system known as the human brain. Due to its complex structure, its immense functionality, and — as in the case of epilepsy — due to the coexistence of normal and abnormal functions, the brain can be regarded as one of the most complex and fascinating systems in nature. Data gathered so far show that the epileptic process exhibits a high spatial and temporal variability. Small, specific, regions of the brain are responsible for the generation of focal epileptic seizures, and the amount of time a patient spends actually having seizures is only a small fraction of his/her lifetime. In between these Xevents large parts of the brain exhibit normal functioning. Since the occurrence of seizures usually can not be explained by exogenous factors, and since the brain recovers its normal state after a seizure in the majority of cases, this might indicate that endogenous nonlinear (deterministic and/or stochastic) properties are involved in the control of these Xevents. In fact, converging evidence now indicates that (particularly) nonlinear approaches to the analysis of brain activity allow us to define precursors which, provided sufficient sensitivity and specificity can be obtained, might lead to the development of patient-specific seizure anticipation and seizure prevention strategies.

  8. Individual differences in human brain development.

    PubMed

    Brown, Timothy T

    2017-01-01

    This article discusses recent scientific advances in the study of individual differences in human brain development. Focusing on structural neuroimaging measures of brain morphology and tissue properties, two kinds of variability are related and explored: differences across individuals of the same age and differences across age as a result of development. A recent multidimensional modeling study is explained, which was able to use brain measures to predict an individual's chronological age within about one year on average, in children, adolescents, and young adults between 3 and 20 years old. These findings reveal great regularity in the sequence of the aggregate brain state across different ages and phases of development, despite the pronounced individual differences people show on any single brain measure at any given age. Future research is suggested, incorporating additional measures of brain activity and function. WIREs Cogn Sci 2017, 8:e1389. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1389 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website. © 2016 The Authors. WIREs Cognitive Science published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  9. Native Mutant Huntingtin in Human Brain

    PubMed Central

    Sapp, Ellen; Valencia, Antonio; Li, Xueyi; Aronin, Neil; Kegel, Kimberly B.; Vonsattel, Jean-Paul; Young, Anne B.; Wexler, Nancy; DiFiglia, Marian

    2012-01-01

    Huntington disease (HD) is caused by polyglutamine expansion in the N terminus of huntingtin (htt). Analysis of human postmortem brain lysates by SDS-PAGE and Western blot reveals htt as full-length and fragmented. Here we used Blue Native PAGE (BNP) and Western blots to study native htt in human postmortem brain. Antisera against htt detected a single band broadly migrating at 575–850 kDa in control brain and at 650–885 kDa in heterozygous and Venezuelan homozygous HD brains. Anti-polyglutamine antisera detected full-length mutant htt in HD brain. There was little htt cleavage even if lysates were pretreated with trypsin, indicating a property of native htt to resist protease cleavage. A soluble mutant htt fragment of about 180 kDa was detected with anti-htt antibody Ab1 (htt-(1–17)) and increased when lysates were treated with denaturants (SDS, 8 m urea, DTT, or trypsin) before BNP. Wild-type htt was more resistant to denaturants. Based on migration of in vitro translated htt fragments, the 180-kDa segment terminated ≈htt 670–880 amino acids. If second dimension SDS-PAGE followed BNP, the 180-kDa mutant htt was absent, and 43–50 kDa htt fragments appeared. Brain lysates from two HD mouse models expressed native full-length htt; a mutant fragment formed if lysates were pretreated with 8 m urea + DTT. Native full-length mutant htt in embryonic HD140Q/140Q mouse primary neurons was intact during cell death and when cell lysates were exposed to denaturants before BNP. Thus, native mutant htt occurs in brain and primary neurons as a soluble full-length monomer. PMID:22375012

  10. Human freedom and the brain.

    PubMed

    Kornhuber, Hans Helmut

    2009-06-01

    Freedom of will does exist, it is self-leadership of man based on reason and ethos. Evidence comes from truth. Determinism cannot be proved since if you try, you mean to prove a truth; but there is no truth without freedom. By contrast for freedom there are many pieces of evidence e.g. science, arts, technology. Freedom utilizes creative abstract thinking with phantasy. Freedom is graded, limited, based on nature, but not developed without good will. We perceive reliably freedom by self-consciousness and in other persons as long as we are sober. Freedom needs intelligence, but is more, it is a creative and moral virtue. The basis for freedom is phylogenesis and culture, in the individual learning and experimenting. Factors in the becoming of freedom are not only genes and environment but also self-discipline. But the creativity of free will is dangerous. Man therefore needs morale. Drives and feelings become humanized, cultural interests are developed. There is a humane nobility from long good will.

  11. Sense of agency in the human brain.

    PubMed

    Haggard, Patrick

    2017-04-01

    In adult life, people normally know what they are doing. This experience of controlling one's own actions and, through them, the course of events in the outside world is called 'sense of agency'. It forms a central feature of human experience; however, the brain mechanisms that produce the sense of agency have only recently begun to be investigated systematically. This recent progress has been driven by the development of better measures of the experience of agency, improved design of cognitive and behavioural experiments, and a growing understanding of the brain circuits that generate this distinctive but elusive experience. The sense of agency is a mental and neural state of cardinal importance in human civilization, because it is frequently altered in psychopathology and because it underpins the concept of responsibility in human societies.

  12. Precision Functional Mapping of Individual Human Brains.

    PubMed

    Gordon, Evan M; Laumann, Timothy O; Gilmore, Adrian W; Newbold, Dillan J; Greene, Deanna J; Berg, Jeffrey J; Ortega, Mario; Hoyt-Drazen, Catherine; Gratton, Caterina; Sun, Haoxin; Hampton, Jacqueline M; Coalson, Rebecca S; Nguyen, Annie L; McDermott, Kathleen B; Shimony, Joshua S; Snyder, Abraham Z; Schlaggar, Bradley L; Petersen, Steven E; Nelson, Steven M; Dosenbach, Nico U F

    2017-08-16

    Human functional MRI (fMRI) research primarily focuses on analyzing data averaged across groups, which limits the detail, specificity, and clinical utility of fMRI resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) and task-activation maps. To push our understanding of functional brain organization to the level of individual humans, we assembled a novel MRI dataset containing 5 hr of RSFC data, 6 hr of task fMRI, multiple structural MRIs, and neuropsychological tests from each of ten adults. Using these data, we generated ten high-fidelity, individual-specific functional connectomes. This individual-connectome approach revealed several new types of spatial and organizational variability in brain networks, including unique network features and topologies that corresponded with structural and task-derived brain features. We are releasing this highly sampled, individual-focused dataset as a resource for neuroscientists, and we propose precision individual connectomics as a model for future work examining the organization of healthy and diseased individual human brains. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  13. Connectome imaging for mapping human brain pathways.

    PubMed

    Shi, Y; Toga, A W

    2017-09-01

    With the fast advance of connectome imaging techniques, we have the opportunity of mapping the human brain pathways in vivo at unprecedented resolution. In this article we review the current developments of diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the reconstruction of anatomical pathways in connectome studies. We first introduce the background of diffusion MRI with an emphasis on the technical advances and challenges in state-of-the-art multi-shell acquisition schemes used in the Human Connectome Project. Characterization of the microstructural environment in the human brain is discussed from the tensor model to the general fiber orientation distribution (FOD) models that can resolve crossing fibers in each voxel of the image. Using FOD-based tractography, we describe novel methods for fiber bundle reconstruction and graph-based connectivity analysis. Building upon these novel developments, there have already been successful applications of connectome imaging techniques in reconstructing challenging brain pathways. Examples including retinofugal and brainstem pathways will be reviewed. Finally, we discuss future directions in connectome imaging and its interaction with other aspects of brain imaging research.

  14. Connectome imaging for mapping human brain pathways

    PubMed Central

    Shi, Y; Toga, A W

    2017-01-01

    With the fast advance of connectome imaging techniques, we have the opportunity of mapping the human brain pathways in vivo at unprecedented resolution. In this article we review the current developments of diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the reconstruction of anatomical pathways in connectome studies. We first introduce the background of diffusion MRI with an emphasis on the technical advances and challenges in state-of-the-art multi-shell acquisition schemes used in the Human Connectome Project. Characterization of the microstructural environment in the human brain is discussed from the tensor model to the general fiber orientation distribution (FOD) models that can resolve crossing fibers in each voxel of the image. Using FOD-based tractography, we describe novel methods for fiber bundle reconstruction and graph-based connectivity analysis. Building upon these novel developments, there have already been successful applications of connectome imaging techniques in reconstructing challenging brain pathways. Examples including retinofugal and brainstem pathways will be reviewed. Finally, we discuss future directions in connectome imaging and its interaction with other aspects of brain imaging research. PMID:28461700

  15. The Human Brain Project and neuromorphic computing

    PubMed Central

    Calimera, Andrea; Macii, Enrico; Poncino, Massimo

    Summary Understanding how the brain manages billions of processing units connected via kilometers of fibers and trillions of synapses, while consuming a few tens of Watts could provide the key to a completely new category of hardware (neuromorphic computing systems). In order to achieve this, a paradigm shift for computing as a whole is needed, which will see it moving away from current “bit precise” computing models and towards new techniques that exploit the stochastic behavior of simple, reliable, very fast, low-power computing devices embedded in intensely recursive architectures. In this paper we summarize how these objectives will be pursued in the Human Brain Project. PMID:24139655

  16. Intermittent phase synchronization in human epileptic brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moskalenko, Olga I.; Koloskova, Anastasya D.; Zhuravlev, Maksim O.; Koronovskii, Alexey A.; Hramov, Alexander E.

    2017-03-01

    We found the intermittent phase synchronization in human epileptic brain. We show that the phases of the synchronous behavior are observed both during the epileptic seizures and in the fields of the background activity of the brain. We estimate the degree of intermittent phase synchronization in both considered cases and found that the epileptic seizures are characterized by the higher degree of synchronization in comparison with the fields of background activity. For estimation of synchronization degree the modification of the method for estimation of zero conditional Lyapunov exponent from time series proposed in [PRE 92 (2015) 012913] has been used.

  17. Magnetic source imaging of the human brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lu, Zhong L.; Williamson, Samuel J.; Kaufman, Lloyd

    1993-08-01

    The importance of neuromagnetic studies in basic research on sensory and cognitive functions is well recognized. Researchers are now exploiting more sophisticated paradigms as well as more sophisticated data analysis techniques to achieve new knowledge about the human brain. Our recent identification of characteristic time constants in human auditory cortex that well predict the behavioral lifetime of human auditory sensory memory, and developments and application of various procedures for the magnetic inverse problem have opened new areas of investigation and advanced the technical capability of MSI. With multi-disciplinary efforts from physicists, neural scientists, psychologists and physiologists, MSI is being established as an important modality for functional images.

  18. Quantitative genetic analysis of brain size variation in sticklebacks: support for the mosaic model of brain evolution

    PubMed Central

    Noreikiene, Kristina; Herczeg, Gábor; Gonda, Abigél; Balázs, Gergely; Husby, Arild; Merilä, Juha

    2015-01-01

    The mosaic model of brain evolution postulates that different brain regions are relatively free to evolve independently from each other. Such independent evolution is possible only if genetic correlations among the different brain regions are less than unity. We estimated heritabilities, evolvabilities and genetic correlations of relative size of the brain, and its different regions in the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). We found that heritabilities were low (average h2 = 0.24), suggesting a large plastic component to brain architecture. However, evolvabilities of different brain parts were moderate, suggesting the presence of additive genetic variance to sustain a response to selection in the long term. Genetic correlations among different brain regions were low (average rG = 0.40) and significantly less than unity. These results, along with those from analyses of phenotypic and genetic integration, indicate a high degree of independence between different brain regions, suggesting that responses to selection are unlikely to be severely constrained by genetic and phenotypic correlations. Hence, the results give strong support for the mosaic model of brain evolution. However, the genetic correlation between brain and body size was high (rG = 0.89), suggesting a constraint for independent evolution of brain and body size in sticklebacks. PMID:26108633

  19. Phospholipid biosynthetic enzymes in human brain.

    PubMed

    Ross, B M; Moszczynska, A; Blusztajn, J K; Sherwin, A; Lozano, A; Kish, S J

    1997-04-01

    Growing evidence suggests an involvement of brain membrane phospholipid metabolism in a variety of neurodegenerative and psychiatric conditions. This has prompted the use of drugs (e.g., CDPcholine) aimed at elevating the rate of neural membrane synthesis. However, no information is available regarding the human brain enzymes of phospholipid synthesis which these drugs affect. Thus, the objective of our study was to characterize the enzymes involved, in particular, whether differences existed in the relative affinity of substrates for the enzymes of phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) compared to those of phosphatidylcholine (PC) synthesis. The concentration of choline in rapidly frozen human brain biopsies ranged from 32-186 nmol/g tissue, a concentration similar to that determined previously for ethanolamine. Since human brain ethanolamine kinase possessed a much lower affinity for ethanolamine (Km = 460 microM) than choline kinase did for choline (Km = 17 microM), the activity of ethanolamine kinase in vivo may be more dependent on substrate availability than that of choline kinase. In addition, whereas ethanolamine kinase was inhibited by choline, and to a lesser extent by phosphocholine, choline kinase activity was unaffected by the presence of ethanolamine, or phosphoethanolamine, and only weakly inhibited by phosphocholine. Phosphoethanolamine cytidylyltransferase (PECT) and phosphocholine cytidylyltransferase (PCCT) also displayed dissimilar characteristics, with PECT and PCCT being located predominantly in the cytosolic and particulate fractions, respectively. Both PECT and PCCT exhibited a low affinity for CTP (Km approximately 1.2 mM), suggesting that the activities of these enzymes, and by implication, the rate of phospholipid synthesis, are highly dependent upon the cellular concentration of CTP. In conclusion our data indicate different regulatory properties of PE and PC synthesis in human brain, and suggest that the rate of PE synthesis may be more

  20. DNA Methylation: Insights into Human Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Sharp, Andrew J.; Marques-Bonet, Tomas

    2015-01-01

    A fundamental initiative for evolutionary biologists is to understand the molecular basis underlying phenotypic diversity. A long-standing hypothesis states that species-specific traits may be explained by differences in gene regulation rather than differences at the protein level. Over the past few years, evolutionary studies have shifted from mere sequence comparisons to integrative analyses in which gene regulation is key to understanding species evolution. DNA methylation is an important epigenetic modification involved in the regulation of numerous biological processes. Nevertheless, the evolution of the human methylome and the processes driving such changes are poorly understood. Here, we review the close interplay between Cytosine-phosphate-Guanine (CpG) methylation and the underlying genome sequence, as well as its evolutionary impact. We also summarize the latest advances in the field, revisiting the main literature on human and nonhuman primates. We hope to encourage the scientific community to address the many challenges posed by the field of comparative epigenomics. PMID:26658498

  1. Segmentation of human brain using structural MRI.

    PubMed

    Helms, Gunther

    2016-04-01

    Segmentation of human brain using structural MRI is a key step of processing in imaging neuroscience. The methods have undergone a rapid development in the past two decades and are now widely available. This non-technical review aims at providing an overview and basic understanding of the most common software. Starting with the basis of structural MRI contrast in brain and imaging protocols, the concepts of voxel-based and surface-based segmentation are discussed. Special emphasis is given to the typical contrast features and morphological constraints of cortical and sub-cortical grey matter. In addition to the use for voxel-based morphometry, basic applications in quantitative MRI, cortical thickness estimations, and atrophy measurements as well as assignment of cortical regions and deep brain nuclei are briefly discussed. Finally, some fields for clinical applications are given.

  2. An examination of cetacean brain structure with a novel hypothesis correlating thermogenesis to the evolution of a big brain.

    PubMed

    Manger, Paul R

    2006-05-01

    This review examines aspects of cetacean brain structure related to behaviour and evolution. Major considerations include cetacean brain-body allometry, structure of the cerebral cortex, the hippocampal formation, specialisations of the cetacean brain related to vocalisations and sleep phenomenology, paleoneurology, and brain-body allometry during cetacean evolution. These data are assimilated to demonstrate that there is no neural basis for the often-asserted high intellectual abilities of cetaceans. Despite this, the cetaceans do have volumetrically large brains. A novel hypothesis regarding the evolution of large brain size in cetaceans is put forward. It is shown that a combination of an unusually high number of glial cells and unihemispheric sleep phenomenology make the cetacean brain an efficient thermogenetic organ, which is needed to counteract heat loss to the water. It is demonstrated that water temperature is the major selection pressure driving an altered scaling of brain and body size and an increased actual brain size in cetaceans. A point in the evolutionary history of cetaceans is identified as the moment in which water temperature became a significant selection pressure in cetacean brain evolution. This occurred at the Archaeoceti - modern cetacean faunal transition. The size, structure and scaling of the cetacean brain continues to be shaped by water temperature in extant cetaceans. The alterations in cetacean brain structure, function and scaling, combined with the imperative of producing offspring that can withstand the rate of heat loss experienced in water, within the genetic confines of eutherian mammal reproductive constraints, provides an explanation for the evolution of the large size of the cetacean brain. These observations provide an alternative to the widely held belief of a correlation between brain size and intelligence in cetaceans.

  3. Infrasounds and biorhythms of the human brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Panuszka, Ryszard; Damijan, Zbigniew; Kasprzak, Cezary; McGlothlin, James

    2002-05-01

    Low Frequency Noise (LFN) and infrasound has begun a new public health hazard. Evaluations of annoyance of (LFN) on human occupational health were based on standards where reactions of human auditory system and vibrations of parts of human body were small. Significant sensitivity has been observed on the central nervous system from infrasonic waves especially below 10 Hz. Observed follow-up effects in the brain gives incentive to study the relationship between parameters of waves and reactions obtained of biorhythms (EEG) and heart action (EKG). New results show the impact of LFN on the electrical potentials of the brain are dependent on the pressure waves on the human body. Electrical activity of circulatory system was also affected. Signals recorded in industrial workplaces were duplicated by loudspeakers and used to record data from a typical LFN spectra with 5 and 7 Hz in a laboratory chamber. External noise, electromagnetic fields, temperature, dust, and other elements were controlled. Results show not only a follow-up effect in the brain but also a result similar to arrhythmia in the heart. Relaxations effects were observed of people impacted by waves generated from natural sources such as streams and waterfalls.

  4. The glia/neuron ratio: how it varies uniformly across brain structures and species and what that means for brain physiology and evolution.

    PubMed

    Herculano-Houzel, Suzana

    2014-09-01

    It is a widespread notion that the proportion of glial to neuronal cells in the brain increases with brain size, to the point that glial cells represent "about 90% of all cells in the human brain." This notion, however, is wrong on both counts: neither does the glia/neuron ratio increase uniformly with brain size, nor do glial cells represent the majority of cells in the human brain. This review examines the origin of interest in the glia/neuron ratio; the original evidence that led to the notion that it increases with brain size; the extent to which this concept can be applied to white matter and whole brains and the recent supporting evidence that the glia/neuron ratio does not increase with brain size, but rather, and in surprisingly uniform fashion, with decreasing neuronal density due to increasing average neuronal cell size, across brain structures and species. Variations in the glia/neuron ratio are proposed to be related not to the supposed larger metabolic cost of larger neurons (given that this cost is not found to vary with neuronal density), but simply to the large variation in neuronal sizes across brain structures and species in the face of less overall variation in glial cell sizes, with interesting implications for brain physiology. The emerging evidence that the glia/neuron ratio varies uniformly across the different brain structures of mammalian species that diverged as early as 90 million years ago in evolution highlights how fundamental for brain function must be the interaction between glial cells and neurons. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  5. LB1's virtual endocast, microcephaly, and hominin brain evolution.

    PubMed

    Falk, Dean; Hildebolt, Charles; Smith, Kirk; Morwood, M J; Sutikna, Thomas; Jatmiko; Wayhu Saptomo, E; Prior, Fred

    2009-11-01

    Earlier observations of the virtual endocast of LB1, the type specimen for Homo floresiensis, are reviewed, extended, and interpreted. Seven derived features of LB1's cerebral cortex are detailed: a caudally-positioned occipital lobe, lack of a rostrally-located lunate sulcus, a caudally-expanded temporal lobe, advanced morphology of the lateral prefrontal cortex, shape of the rostral prefrontal cortex, enlarged gyri in the frontopolar region, and an expanded orbitofrontal cortex. These features indicate that LB1's brain was globally reorganized despite its ape-sized cranial capacity (417cm(3)). Neurological reorganization may thus form the basis for the cognitive abilities attributed to H. floresiensis. Because of its tiny cranial capacity, some workers think that LB1 represents a Homo sapiens individual that was afflicted with microcephaly, or some other pathology, rather than a new species of hominin. We respond to concerns about our earlier study of microcephalics compared with normal individuals, and reaffirm that LB1 did not suffer from this pathology. The intense controversy about LB1 reflects an older continuing dispute about the relative evolutionary importance of brain size versus neurological reorganization. LB1 may help resolve this debate and illuminate constraints that governed hominin brain evolution.

  6. Brain-size evolution and sociality in Carnivora

    PubMed Central

    Finarelli, John A.; Flynn, John J.

    2009-01-01

    Increased encephalization, or larger brain volume relative to body mass, is a repeated theme in vertebrate evolution. Here we present an extensive sampling of relative brain sizes in fossil and extant taxa in the mammalian order Carnivora (cats, dogs, bears, weasels, and their relatives). By using Akaike Information Criterion model selection and endocranial volume and body mass data for 289 species (including 125 fossil taxa), we document clade-specific evolutionary transformations in encephalization allometries. These evolutionary transformations include multiple independent encephalization increases and decreases in addition to a remarkably static basal Carnivora allometry that characterizes much of the suborder Feliformia and some taxa in the suborder Caniformia across much of their evolutionary history, emphasizing that complex processes shaped the modern distribution of encephalization across Carnivora. This analysis also permits critical evaluation of the social brain hypothesis (SBH), which predicts a close association between sociality and increased encephalization. Previous analyses based on living species alone appeared to support the SBH with respect to Carnivora, but those results are entirely dependent on data from modern Canidae (dogs). Incorporation of fossil data further reveals that no association exists between sociality and encephalization across Carnivora and that support for sociality as a causal agent of encephalization increase disappears for this clade. PMID:19474299

  7. Intuition and logic in human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Campbell, Robert

    2012-01-01

    Modern science has come to be regarded as an exclusively objective endeavor employing explicit language that attempts to exclude subjective anthropomorphic biases. In doing so it has run the risk of becoming a purely materialistic bias itself, according no proper place to the human spirit or to intuitive insights that have guided the evolution of human cultures, even though this includes the guiding insights of the most important contributors to the sciences. Although this may have been necessary to exclude rampant superstition in the past, a summary overview of the historical evidence indicates a current pressing need to restore a proper balance. PMID:23181155

  8. Mechanical characterization of human brain tissue.

    PubMed

    Budday, S; Sommer, G; Birkl, C; Langkammer, C; Haybaeck, J; Kohnert, J; Bauer, M; Paulsen, F; Steinmann, P; Kuhl, E; Holzapfel, G A

    2017-01-15

    Mechanics are increasingly recognized to play an important role in modulating brain form and function. Computational simulations are a powerful tool to predict the mechanical behavior of the human brain in health and disease. The success of these simulations depends critically on the underlying constitutive model and on the reliable identification of its material parameters. Thus, there is an urgent need to thoroughly characterize the mechanical behavior of brain tissue and to identify mathematical models that capture the tissue response under arbitrary loading conditions. However, most constitutive models have only been calibrated for a single loading mode. Here, we perform a sequence of multiple loading modes on the same human brain specimen - simple shear in two orthogonal directions, compression, and tension - and characterize the loading-mode specific regional and directional behavior. We complement these three individual tests by combined multiaxial compression/tension-shear tests and discuss effects of conditioning and hysteresis. To explore to which extent the macrostructural response is a result of the underlying microstructural architecture, we supplement our biomechanical tests with diffusion tensor imaging and histology. We show that the heterogeneous microstructure leads to a regional but not directional dependence of the mechanical properties. Our experiments confirm that human brain tissue is nonlinear and viscoelastic, with a pronounced compression-tension asymmetry. Using our measurements, we compare the performance of five common constitutive models, neo-Hookean, Mooney-Rivlin, Demiray, Gent, and Ogden, and show that only the isotropic modified one-term Ogden model is capable of representing the hyperelastic behavior under combined shear, compression, and tension loadings: with a shear modulus of 0.4-1.4kPa and a negative nonlinearity parameter it captures the compression-tension asymmetry and the increase in shear stress under superimposed

  9. Nutrigenetics in the light of human evolution.

    PubMed

    Verginelli, Fabio; Aru, Federica; Battista, Pasquale; Mariani-Costantini, Renato

    2009-01-01

    Bio-cultural adaptations to new foods played a key role in human evolution. The fossil record and sequence differences between human and chimpanzee genes point to a major dietary shift at the stem of human evolution. The earliest representatives of the human lineage diverged from the ancestors of chimpanzees because of their better adaptation to hard and abrasive foods. Bipedalism and modifications of the hand, which allowed tool manufacture and use, impacted on dietary flexibility, facilitating access to foods of animal origin. This promoted major anatomic, physiologic and metabolic adaptations. Encephalization, which requires high-quality diet, characterizes the evolutionary sequence that, through the Homo ergaster/erectus stages, led to our species, Homo sapiens, which originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago. At the end of the Ice Age, climatic changes and human impact determined a major food crisis, which triggered the agricultural revolution. This affected nutrition and health, with rapid evolutionary adaptations through the selection of genetic variants that allowed better utilization of new foods, different in relation to geography and culture. Today population growth, globalization and economic pressure powerfully affect diets worldwide. We must take into account our evolutionary past to meet the present nutritional challenges.

  10. Environment and Climate of Early Human Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levin, Naomi E.

    2015-05-01

    Evaluating the relationships between climate, the environment, and human traits is a key part of human origins research because changes in Earth's atmosphere, oceans, landscapes, and ecosystems over the past 10 Myr shaped the selection pressures experienced by early humans. In Africa, these relationships have been influenced by a combination of high-latitude ice distributions, sea surface temperatures, and low-latitude orbital forcing that resulted in large oscillations in vegetation and moisture availability that were modulated by local basin dynamics. The importance of both climate and tectonics in shaping African landscapes means that integrated views of the ecological, environmental, and tectonic histories of a region are necessary in order to understand the relationships between climate and human evolution.

  11. Aging-associated changes in human brain.

    PubMed

    Mrak, R E; Griffin, S T; Graham, D I

    1997-12-01

    A wide variety of anatomic and histological alterations are common in brains of aged individuals. However, identification of intrinsic aging changes--as distinct from changes resulting from cumulative environmental insult--is problematic. Some degree of neuronal and volume loss would appear to be inevitable, but recent studies have suggested that the magnitudes of such changes are much less than previously thought, and studies of dendritic complexity in cognitively intact individuals suggest continuing neuronal plasticity into the eighth decade. A number of vascular changes become more frequent with age, many attributable to systemic conditions such as hypertension and atherosclerosis. Age-associated vascular changes not clearly linked to such conditions include hyaline arteriosclerotic changes with formation of arterial tortuosities in small intracranial vessels and the radiographic changes in deep cerebral white matter known as "leukoaraiosis." Aging is accompanied by increases in glial cell activation, in oxidative damage to proteins and lipids, in irreversible protein glycation, and in damage to DNA, and such changes may underlie in part the age-associated increasing incidence of "degenerative" conditions such as Alzheimer disease and Parkinson disease. A small number of histological changes appear to be universal in aged human brains. These include increasing numbers of corpora amylacea within astrocytic processes near blood-brain or cerebrospinal fluid-brain interfaces, accumulation of the "aging" pigment lipofuscin in all brain regions, and appearance of Alzheimer-type neurofibrillary tangles (but not necessarily amyloid plaques) in mesial temporal structures.

  12. Human brain disease recreated in mice

    SciTech Connect

    Marx, J.

    1990-12-14

    In the early 1980s, neurologist Stanley Prusiner suggested that scrapie, an apparently infectious degenerative brain disease of sheep, could be transmitted by prions, infectious particles made just of protein - and containing no nucleic acids. But prion research has come a long way since then. In 1985, the cloning of the gene encoding the prion protein proved that it does in fact exist. And the gene turned out to be widely expressed in the brains of higher organisms, a result suggesting that the prion protein has a normal brain function that can somehow be subverted, leading to brain degeneration. Then studies done during the past 2 years suggested that specific mutations in the prion gene might cause two similar human brain diseases, Gerstmann-Straeussler-Scheinker syndrome (GSS) and Creutzfelt-Jakob disease. Now, Prusiner's group at the University of California, San Francisco, has used genetic engineering techniques to recreate GSS by transplanting the mutated prion gene into mice. Not only will the animal model help neurobiologists answer the many remaining questions about prions and how they work, but it may also shed some light on other neurodegenerative diseases as well.

  13. Positive selection in ASPM is correlated with cerebral cortex evolution across primates but not with whole-brain size.

    PubMed

    Ali, Farhan; Meier, Rudolf

    2008-11-01

    The rapid increase of brain size is a key event in human evolution. Abnormal spindle-like microcephaly associated (ASPM) is discussed as a major candidate gene for explaining the exceptionally large brain in humans but ASPM's role remains controversial. Here we use codon-specific models and a comparative approach to test this candidate gene that was initially identified in Homo-chimp comparisons. We demonstrate that accelerated evolution of ASPM (omega = 4.7) at 16 amino acid sites occurred in 9 primate lineages with major changes in relative cerebral cortex size. However, ASPM's evolution is not correlated with major changes in relative whole-brain or cerebellum sizes. Our results suggest that a single candidate gene such as ASPM can influence a specific component of the brain across large clades through changes in a few amino acid sites. We furthermore illustrate the power of using continuous phenotypic variability across primates to rigorously test candidate genes that have been implicated in the evolution of key human traits.

  14. Imaging retinotopic maps in the human brain

    PubMed Central

    Wandell, Brian A.; Winawer, Jonathan

    2010-01-01

    A quarter-century ago visual neuroscientists had little information about the number and organization of retinotopic maps in human visual cortex. The advent of functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a non-invasive, spatially-resolved technique for measuring brain activity, provided a wealth of data about human retinotopic maps. Just as there are differences amongst nonhuman primate maps, the human maps have their own unique properties. Many human maps can be measured reliably in individual subjects during experimental sessions lasting less than an hour. The efficiency of the measurements and the relatively large amplitude of functional MRI signals in visual cortex make it possible to develop quantitative models of functional responses within specific maps in individual subjects. During this last quarter century, there has also been significant progress in measuring properties of the human brain at a range of length and time scales, including white matter pathways, macroscopic properties of gray and white matter, and cellular and molecular tissue properties. We hope the next twenty-five years will see a great deal of work that aims to integrate these data by modeling the network of visual signals. We don’t know what such theories will look like, but the characterization of human retinotopic maps from the last twenty-five years is likely to be an important part of future ideas about visual computations. PMID:20692278

  15. Evolving networks in the human epileptic brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lehnertz, Klaus; Ansmann, Gerrit; Bialonski, Stephan; Dickten, Henning; Geier, Christian; Porz, Stephan

    2014-01-01

    Network theory provides novel concepts that promise an improved characterization of interacting dynamical systems. Within this framework, evolving networks can be considered as being composed of nodes, representing systems, and of time-varying edges, representing interactions between these systems. This approach is highly attractive to further our understanding of the physiological and pathophysiological dynamics in human brain networks. Indeed, there is growing evidence that the epileptic process can be regarded as a large-scale network phenomenon. We here review methodologies for inferring networks from empirical time series and for a characterization of these evolving networks. We summarize recent findings derived from studies that investigate human epileptic brain networks evolving on timescales ranging from few seconds to weeks. We point to possible pitfalls and open issues, and discuss future perspectives.

  16. Relaxed genetic control of cortical organization in human brains compared with chimpanzees

    PubMed Central

    Gómez-Robles, Aida; Hopkins, William D.; Schapiro, Steven J.; Sherwood, Chet C.

    2015-01-01

    The study of hominin brain evolution has focused largely on the neocortical expansion and reorganization undergone by humans as inferred from the endocranial fossil record. Comparisons of modern human brains with those of chimpanzees provide an additional line of evidence to define key neural traits that have emerged in human evolution and that underlie our unique behavioral specializations. In an attempt to identify fundamental developmental differences, we have estimated the genetic bases of brain size and cortical organization in chimpanzees and humans by studying phenotypic similarities between individuals with known kinship relationships. We show that, although heritability for brain size and cortical organization is high in chimpanzees, cerebral cortical anatomy is substantially less genetically heritable than brain size in humans, indicating greater plasticity and increased environmental influence on neurodevelopment in our species. This relaxed genetic control on cortical organization is especially marked in association areas and likely is related to underlying microstructural changes in neural circuitry. A major result of increased plasticity is that the development of neural circuits that underlie behavior is shaped by the environmental, social, and cultural context more intensively in humans than in other primate species, thus providing an anatomical basis for behavioral and cognitive evolution. PMID:26627234

  17. Relaxed genetic control of cortical organization in human brains compared with chimpanzees.

    PubMed

    Gómez-Robles, Aida; Hopkins, William D; Schapiro, Steven J; Sherwood, Chet C

    2015-12-01

    The study of hominin brain evolution has focused largely on the neocortical expansion and reorganization undergone by humans as inferred from the endocranial fossil record. Comparisons of modern human brains with those of chimpanzees provide an additional line of evidence to define key neural traits that have emerged in human evolution and that underlie our unique behavioral specializations. In an attempt to identify fundamental developmental differences, we have estimated the genetic bases of brain size and cortical organization in chimpanzees and humans by studying phenotypic similarities between individuals with known kinship relationships. We show that, although heritability for brain size and cortical organization is high in chimpanzees, cerebral cortical anatomy is substantially less genetically heritable than brain size in humans, indicating greater plasticity and increased environmental influence on neurodevelopment in our species. This relaxed genetic control on cortical organization is especially marked in association areas and likely is related to underlying microstructural changes in neural circuitry. A major result of increased plasticity is that the development of neural circuits that underlie behavior is shaped by the environmental, social, and cultural context more intensively in humans than in other primate species, thus providing an anatomical basis for behavioral and cognitive evolution.

  18. Imaging Monoamine Oxidase in the Human Brain

    SciTech Connect

    Fowler, J. S.; Volkow, N. D.; Wang, G-J.; Logan, Jean

    1999-11-10

    Positron emission tomography (PET) studies mapping monoamine oxidase in the human brain have been used to measure the turnover rate for MAO B; to determine the minimum effective dose of a new MAO inhibitor drug lazabemide and to document MAO inhibition by cigarette smoke. These studies illustrate the power of PET and radiotracer chemistry to measure normal biochemical processes and to provide information on the effect of drug exposure on specific molecular targets.

  19. Evolution of brain-computer interfaces: going beyond classic motor physiology

    PubMed Central

    Leuthardt, Eric C.; Schalk, Gerwin; Roland, Jarod; Rouse, Adam; Moran, Daniel W.

    2010-01-01

    The notion that a computer can decode brain signals to infer the intentions of a human and then enact those intentions directly through a machine is becoming a realistic technical possibility. These types of devices are known as brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). The evolution of these neuroprosthetic technologies could have significant implications for patients with motor disabilities by enhancing their ability to interact and communicate with their environment. The cortical physiology most investigated and used for device control has been brain signals from the primary motor cortex. To date, this classic motor physiology has been an effective substrate for demonstrating the potential efficacy of BCI-based control. However, emerging research now stands to further enhance our understanding of the cortical physiology underpinning human intent and provide further signals for more complex brain-derived control. In this review, the authors report the current status of BCIs and detail the emerging research trends that stand to augment clinical applications in the future. PMID:19569892

  20. Brain structures in the sciences and humanities.

    PubMed

    Takeuchi, Hikaru; Taki, Yasuyuki; Sekiguchi, Atsushi; Nouchi, Rui; Kotozaki, Yuka; Nakagawa, Seishu; Miyauchi, Carlos Makoto; Iizuka, Kunio; Yokoyama, Ryoichi; Shinada, Takamitsu; Yamamoto, Yuki; Hanawa, Sugiko; Araki, Tsuyoshi; Hashizume, Hiroshi; Sassa, Yuko; Kawashima, Ryuta

    2015-11-01

    The areas of academic interest (sciences or humanities) and area of study have been known to be associated with a number of factors associated with autistic traits. However, despite the vast amount of literature on the psychological and physiological characteristics associated with faculty membership, brain structural characteristics associated with faculty membership have never been investigated directly. In this study, we used voxel-based morphometry to investigate differences in regional gray matter volume (rGMV)/regional white matter volume (rWMV) between science and humanities students to test our hypotheses that brain structures previously robustly shown to be altered in autistic subjects are related to differences in faculty membership. We examined 312 science students (225 males and 87 females) and 179 humanities students (105 males and 74 females). Whole-brain analyses of covariance revealed that after controlling for age, sex, and total intracranial volume, the science students had significantly larger rGMV in an anatomical cluster around the medial prefrontal cortex and the frontopolar area, whereas the humanities students had significantly larger rWMV in an anatomical cluster mainly concentrated around the right hippocampus. These anatomical structures have been linked to autism in previous studies and may mediate cognitive functions that characterize differences in faculty membership. The present results may support the ideas that autistic traits and characteristics of the science students compared with the humanities students share certain characteristics from neuroimaging perspectives. This study improves our understanding of differences in faculty membership which is the link among cognition, biological factors, disorders, and education (academia).

  1. Adult human brain cell culture for neuroscience research.

    PubMed

    Gibbons, Hannah M; Dragunow, Mike

    2010-06-01

    Studies of the brain have progressed enormously through the use of in vivo and in vitro non-human models. However, it is unlikely such studies alone will unravel the complexities of the human brain and so far no neuroprotective treatment developed in animals has worked in humans. In this review we discuss the use of adult human brain cell culture methods in brain research to unravel the biology of the normal and diseased human brain. The advantages of using adult human brain cells as tools to study human brain function from both historical and future perspectives are discussed. In particular, studies using dissociated cultures of adult human microglia, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and neurons are described and the applications of these types of study are evaluated. Alternative sources of human brain cells such as adult neural stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells and slice cultures of adult human brain tissue are also reviewed. These adult human brain cell culture methods could benefit basic research and more importantly, facilitate the translation of basic neuroscience research to the clinic for the treatment of brain disorders.

  2. Accelerated Recruitment of New Brain Development Genes into the Human Genome

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Yong E.; Landback, Patrick; Vibranovski, Maria D.; Long, Manyuan

    2011-01-01

    How the human brain evolved has attracted tremendous interests for decades. Motivated by case studies of primate-specific genes implicated in brain function, we examined whether or not the young genes, those emerging genome-wide in the lineages specific to the primates or rodents, showed distinct spatial and temporal patterns of transcription compared to old genes, which had existed before primate and rodent split. We found consistent patterns across different sources of expression data: there is a significantly larger proportion of young genes expressed in the fetal or infant brain of humans than in mouse, and more young genes in humans have expression biased toward early developing brains than old genes. Most of these young genes are expressed in the evolutionarily newest part of human brain, the neocortex. Remarkably, we also identified a number of human-specific genes which are expressed in the prefrontal cortex, which is implicated in complex cognitive behaviors. The young genes upregulated in the early developing human brain play diverse functional roles, with a significant enrichment of transcription factors. Genes originating from different mechanisms show a similar expression bias in the developing brain. Moreover, we found that the young genes upregulated in early brain development showed rapid protein evolution compared to old genes also expressed in the fetal brain. Strikingly, genes expressed in the neocortex arose soon after its morphological origin. These four lines of evidence suggest that positive selection for brain function may have contributed to the origination of young genes expressed in the developing brain. These data demonstrate a striking recruitment of new genes into the early development of the human brain. PMID:22028629

  3. Metabolism of steroids by human brain tumors.

    PubMed

    Weidenfeld, J; Schiller, H

    1984-01-01

    Hormonal steroids or their precursors can be metabolized in the CNS to products with altered hormonal activity. The importance of the intracerebral transformation of steroids has been demonstrated, particularly with regard to neuroendocrine regulation and sexual behavior. These studies were carried out on normal brain tissues, but the ability of neoplastic tissues of CNS origin to metabolize steroids is unknown. We investigated the in vitro metabolism of tritiated pregnenolone, testosterone, and estradiol-17 beta by homogenates of four brain tumors defined as astrocytomas. In three tumors of cortical origin, removed from adult patients, the only enzymic activity found was the conversion of estradiol to estrone. In one tumor of cerebellar origin removed from an 11-year-old boy, the following conversions were found: pregnenolone to progesterone, testosterone to either androstenedione or estradiol, and estradiol to estrone. These results demonstrate that human astrocytomas can transform steroids to compounds with modified hormonal activity. These compounds formed by the tumorous tissue can affect brain function, which may be of clinical significance. Furthermore, these results may add important parameters for biochemical characterization of neoplastic brain tissues.

  4. Rapid evolution of the human gut virome

    PubMed Central

    Minot, Samuel; Bryson, Alexandra; Chehoud, Christel; Wu, Gary D.; Lewis, James D.; Bushman, Frederic D.

    2013-01-01

    Humans are colonized by immense populations of viruses, which metagenomic analysis shows are mostly unique to each individual. To investigate the origin and evolution of the human gut virome, we analyzed the viral community of one adult individual over 2.5 y by extremely deep metagenomic sequencing (56 billion bases of purified viral sequence from 24 longitudinal fecal samples). After assembly, 478 well-determined contigs could be identified, which are inferred to correspond mostly to previously unstudied bacteriophage genomes. Fully 80% of these types persisted throughout the duration of the 2.5-y study, indicating long-term global stability. Mechanisms of base substitution, rates of accumulation, and the amount of variation varied among viral types. Temperate phages showed relatively lower mutation rates, consistent with replication by accurate bacterial DNA polymerases in the integrated prophage state. In contrast, Microviridae, which are lytic bacteriophages with single-stranded circular DNA genomes, showed high substitution rates (>10−5 per nucleotide each day), so that sequence divergence over the 2.5-y period studied approached values sufficient to distinguish new viral species. Longitudinal changes also were associated with diversity-generating retroelements and virus-encoded Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats arrays. We infer that the extreme interpersonal diversity of human gut viruses derives from two sources, persistence of a small portion of the global virome within the gut of each individual and rapid evolution of some long-term virome members. PMID:23836644

  5. Culture and the evolution of human cooperation

    PubMed Central

    Boyd, Robert; Richerson, Peter J.

    2009-01-01

    The scale of human cooperation is an evolutionary puzzle. All of the available evidence suggests that the societies of our Pliocene ancestors were like those of other social primates, and this means that human psychology has changed in ways that support larger, more cooperative societies that characterize modern humans. In this paper, we argue that cultural adaptation is a key factor in these changes. Over the last million years or so, people evolved the ability to learn from each other, creating the possibility of cumulative, cultural evolution. Rapid cultural adaptation also leads to persistent differences between local social groups, and then competition between groups leads to the spread of behaviours that enhance their competitive ability. Then, in such culturally evolved cooperative social environments, natural selection within groups favoured genes that gave rise to new, more pro-social motives. Moral systems enforced by systems of sanctions and rewards increased the reproductive success of individuals who functioned well in such environments, and this in turn led to the evolution of other regarding motives like empathy and social emotions like shame. PMID:19805434

  6. Culture and the evolution of human cooperation.

    PubMed

    Boyd, Robert; Richerson, Peter J

    2009-11-12

    The scale of human cooperation is an evolutionary puzzle. All of the available evidence suggests that the societies of our Pliocene ancestors were like those of other social primates, and this means that human psychology has changed in ways that support larger, more cooperative societies that characterize modern humans. In this paper, we argue that cultural adaptation is a key factor in these changes. Over the last million years or so, people evolved the ability to learn from each other, creating the possibility of cumulative, cultural evolution. Rapid cultural adaptation also leads to persistent differences between local social groups, and then competition between groups leads to the spread of behaviours that enhance their competitive ability. Then, in such culturally evolved cooperative social environments, natural selection within groups favoured genes that gave rise to new, more pro-social motives. Moral systems enforced by systems of sanctions and rewards increased the reproductive success of individuals who functioned well in such environments, and this in turn led to the evolution of other regarding motives like empathy and social emotions like shame.

  7. Human prefrontal cortex: evolution, development, and pathology.

    PubMed

    Teffer, Kate; Semendeferi, Katerina

    2012-01-01

    The prefrontal cortex is critical to many cognitive abilities that are considered particularly human, and forms a large part of a neural system crucial for normal socio-emotional and executive functioning in humans and other primates. In this chapter, we survey the literature regarding prefrontal development and pathology in humans as well as comparative studies of the region in humans and closely related primate species. The prefrontal cortex matures later in development than more caudal regions, and some of its neuronal subpopulations exhibit more complex dendritic arborizations. Comparative work suggests that the human prefrontal cortex differs from that of closely related primate species less in relative size than it does in organization. Specific reorganizational events in neural circuitry may have taken place either as a consequence of adjusting to increases in size or as adaptive responses to specific selection pressures. Living in complex environments has been recognized as a considerable factor in the evolution of primate cognition. Normal frontal lobe development and function are also compromised in several neurological and psychiatric disorders. A phylogenetically recent reorganization of frontal cortical circuitry may have been critical to the emergence of human-specific executive and social-emotional functions, and developmental pathology in these same systems underlies many psychiatric and neurological disorders, including autism and schizophrenia.

  8. Deconstructing Anger in the Human Brain.

    PubMed

    Gilam, Gadi; Hendler, Talma

    2017-01-01

    Anger may be caused by a wide variety of triggers, and though it has negative consequences on health and well-being, it is also crucial in motivating to take action and approach rather than avoid a confrontation. While anger is considered a survival response inherent in all living creatures, humans are endowed with the mental flexibility that enables them to control and regulate their anger, and adapt it to socially accepted norms. Indeed, a profound interpersonal nature is apparent in most events which evoke anger among humans. Since anger consists of physiological, cognitive, subjective, and behavioral components, it is a contextualized multidimensional construct that poses theoretical and operational difficulties in defining it as a single psychobiological phenomenon. Although most neuroimaging studies have neglected the multidimensionality of anger and thus resulted in brain activations dispersed across the entire brain, there seems to be several reoccurring neural circuits subserving the subjective experience of human anger. Nevertheless, to capture the large variety in the forms and fashions in which anger is experienced, expressed, and regulated, and thus to better portray the related underlying neural substrates, neurobehavioral investigations of human anger should aim to further embed realistic social interactions within their anger induction paradigms.

  9. Structural Brain Correlates of Human Sleep Oscillations

    PubMed Central

    Saletin, Jared M.; van der Helm, Els; Walker, Matthew P.

    2014-01-01

    Sleep is strongly conserved within species, yet marked and perplexing inter-individual differences in sleep physiology are observed. Combining EEG sleep recordings and high-resolution structural brain imaging, here we demonstrate that the morphology of the human brain offers one explanatory factor of such inter-individual variability. Grey matter volume in interoceptive and exteroceptive cortices correlated with the expression of slower NREM sleep spindle frequencies, supporting their proposed role in sleep protection against conscious perception. Conversely, and consistent with an involvement in declarative memory processing, grey matter volume in bilateral hippocampus was associated with faster NREM sleep spindle frequencies. In contrast to spindles, grey matter volume in the homeostatic sleep-regulating center of the basal forebrain/hypothalamus, together with the medial prefrontal cortex, accounted for individual differences in NREM slow wave oscillations. Together, such findings indicate that the qualitative and quantitative expression of human sleep physiology is significantly related to anatomically specific differences in macroscopic brain structure. PMID:23770411

  10. Trends in the evolution of life, brains and intelligence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rospars, Jean-Pierre

    2013-07-01

    The f I term of Drake's equation - the fraction of life-bearing planets on which `intelligent' life evolved - has been the subject of much debate in the last few decades. Several leading evolutionary biologists have endorsed the thesis that the probability of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe is vanishingly small. A discussion of this thesis is proposed here that focuses on a key issue in the debate: the existence of evolutionary trends, often presented as trends towards higher complexity, and their possible significance. The present state of knowledge on trends is reviewed. Measurements of quantitative variables that describe important features of the evolution of living organisms - their hierarchical organization, size and biodiversity - and of brains - their overall size, the number and size of their components - in relation to their cognitive abilities, provide reliable evidence of the reality and generality of evolutionary trends. Properties of trends are inferred and frequent misinterpretations (including an excessive stress on mere `complexity') that prevent the objective assessment of trends are considered. Finally, several arguments against the repeatability of evolution to intelligence are discussed. It is concluded that no compelling argument exists for an exceedingly small probability f I. More research is needed before this wide-ranging negative conclusion is accepted.

  11. [Scientific schools: traditions, dogmas, progress in the study of the brain evolution].

    PubMed

    Belekhova, M G

    2008-09-01

    The role of traditions, revision of dogmatic concepts, and emergence of novel theories in the investigations of the vertebrate brain evolution on the bases of modern neuroscientific data represent the objective of the present paper. Problems of homology, encephalization, recapitulation, dissolution, and the significance of their revision for understanding the brain evolution are considered. Arguments for equal importance in studying consequences of both phylogenetic and divergent adaptive evolution are presented. Comparative study of functional mechanisms is suggested as a perspective trend of the evolutionary physiology. It will be a valuable tool both for understanding the brain evolution and for applied investigations in neurobiology and medicine.

  12. Reconstructing phylogenies and phenotypes: a molecular view of human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Bradley, Brenda J

    2008-01-01

    This review broadly summarizes how molecular biology has contributed to our understanding of human evolution. Molecular anthropology began in the 1960s with immunological comparisons indicating that African apes and humans were closely related and, indeed, shared a common ancestor as recently as 5 million years ago. Although initially dismissed, this finding has proven robust and numerous lines of molecular evidence now firmly place the human-ape divergence at 4–8 Ma. Resolving the trichotomy among humans, chimpanzees and gorillas took a few more decades. Despite the readily apparent physical similarities shared by African apes to the exclusion of modern humans (body hair, knuckle-walking, thin tooth enamel), the molecular support for a human–chimpanzee clade is now overwhelming. More recently, whole genome sequencing and gene mapping have shifted the focus of molecular anthropology from phylogenetic analyses to phenotypic reconstruction and functional genomics. We are starting to identify the genetic basis of the morphological, physiological and behavioural traits that distinguish modern humans from apes and apes from other primates. Most notably, recent comparative genomic analyses strongly indicate that the marked differences between modern humans and chimpanzees are likely due more to changes in gene regulation than to modifications of the genes themselves, an idea first proposed over 30 years ago. Almost weekly, press releases describe newly identified genes and regulatory elements that seem to have undergone strong positive selection along the human lineage. Loci involved in speech (e.g. FOXP2), brain development (e.g. ASPM), and skull musculature (e.g. MYH16) have been of particular interest, but some surprising candidate loci (e.g. those involved in auditory capabilities) have emerged as well. Exciting new research avenues, such as the Neanderthal Genome Project, promise that molecular analyses will continue to provide novel insights about our evolution

  13. Mathematical logic in the human brain: semantics.

    PubMed

    Friedrich, Roland M; Friederici, Angela D

    2013-01-01

    As a higher cognitive function in humans, mathematics is supported by parietal and prefrontal brain regions. Here, we give an integrative account of the role of the different brain systems in processing the semantics of mathematical logic from the perspective of macroscopic polysynaptic networks. By comparing algebraic and arithmetic expressions of identical underlying structure, we show how the different subparts of a fronto-parietal network are modulated by the semantic domain, over which the mathematical formulae are interpreted. Within this network, the prefrontal cortex represents a system that hosts three major components, namely, control, arithmetic-logic, and short-term memory. This prefrontal system operates on data fed to it by two other systems: a premotor-parietal top-down system that updates and transforms (external) data into an internal format, and a hippocampal bottom-up system that either detects novel information or serves as an access device to memory for previously acquired knowledge.

  14. Mathematical Logic in the Human Brain: Semantics

    PubMed Central

    Friedrich, Roland M.; Friederici, Angela D.

    2013-01-01

    As a higher cognitive function in humans, mathematics is supported by parietal and prefrontal brain regions. Here, we give an integrative account of the role of the different brain systems in processing the semantics of mathematical logic from the perspective of macroscopic polysynaptic networks. By comparing algebraic and arithmetic expressions of identical underlying structure, we show how the different subparts of a fronto-parietal network are modulated by the semantic domain, over which the mathematical formulae are interpreted. Within this network, the prefrontal cortex represents a system that hosts three major components, namely, control, arithmetic-logic, and short-term memory. This prefrontal system operates on data fed to it by two other systems: a premotor-parietal top-down system that updates and transforms (external) data into an internal format, and a hippocampal bottom-up system that either detects novel information or serves as an access device to memory for previously acquired knowledge. PMID:23301101

  15. Visualization of monoamine oxidase in human brain

    SciTech Connect

    Fowler, J.S.; Volkow, N.D.; Wang, G.J.; Pappas, N.; Shea, C.; MacGregor, R.R.; Logan, J.

    1996-12-31

    Monoamine oxidase is a flavin enzyme which exists in two subtypes, MAO A and MAO B. In human brain MAO B predominates and is largely compartmentalized in cell bodies of serotonergic neurons and glia. Regional distribution of MAO B was determined by positron computed tomography with volunteers after the administration of deuterium substituted [11C]L-deprenyl. The basal ganglia and thalamus exhibited the greatest concentrations of MAO B with intermediate levels in the frontal cortex and cingulate gyrus while lowest levels were observed in the parietal and temporal cortices and cerebellum. We observed that brain MAO B increases with are in health normal subjects, however the increases were generally smaller than those revealed with post-mortem studies.

  16. Genetic Differences Between Humans and Great Apes -- Implications for the Evolution of Humans

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Varki, Ajit

    2004-06-01

    At the level of individual protein sequences, humans are 97-100% identical to the great apes, our closest evolutionary relatives. The evolution of humans (and of human intelligence) from a common ancestor with the chimpanzee and bonobo involved many steps, influenced by interactions amongst factors of genetic, developmental, ecological, microbial, climatic, behavioral, cultural and social origin. The genetic factors can be approached by direct comparisons of human and great ape genomes, genes and gene products, and by elucidating biochemical and biological consequences of any differences found. We have discovered multiple genetic and biochemical differences between humans and great apes, particularly with respect to a family of cell surface molecules called sialic acids, as well as in the metabolism of thyroid hormones. The hormone differences have potential consequences for human brain development. The differences in sialic acid biology have multiple implications for the human condition, ranging from susceptibility or resistance to microbial pathogens, effects on endogenous receptors in the immune system, and potential effects on placental signaling, expression of oncofetal antigens in cancers, consequences of dietary intake of animal foods, and development of the mammalian brain.

  17. Genetic Differences Between Great Apes and Humans: Implications for Human Evolution

    SciTech Connect

    Varki, Ajit

    2004-03-17

    When considering protein sequences, humans are 99-100% identical to chimpanzees and bonobos, our closest evolutionary relatives. The evolution of humans (and the unique features of our species) from a common ancestor with these great apes involved many steps, influenced by interactions amongst factors of genetic, developmental, ecological, microbial, climatic, behavioral, cultural and social origin. The genetic factors can be approached by direct comparisons of human and great ape genomes, genes and gene products, and by elucidating biochemical and biological consequences of the differences. We have discovered multiple genetic and biochemical differences between humans and great apes, particularly in relationship to a family of cell surface molecules called sialic acids. These differences have implications for the human condition, ranging from susceptibility or resistance to microbial pathogens; effects on endogenous receptors in the immune system; potential effects on placental signaling; the expression of oncofetal antigens in cancers; consequences of dietary intake of animal foods; and the development of the mammalian brain. This talk will provide an overview of these and other genetic differences between humans and great apes, with attention to differences potentially relevant to the evolution of humans.

  18. Human identity and the evolution of societies.

    PubMed

    Moffett, Mark W

    2013-09-01

    Human societies are examined as distinct and coherent groups. This trait is most parsimoniously considered a deeply rooted part of our ancestry rather than a recent cultural invention. Our species is the only vertebrate with society memberships of significantly more than 200. We accomplish this by using society-specific labels to identify members, in what I call an anonymous society. I propose that the human brain has evolved to permit not only the close relationships described by the social brain hypothesis, but also, at little mental cost, the anonymous societies within which such alliances are built. The human compulsion to discover or invent labels to "mark" group memberships may originally have been expressed in hominins as vocally learned greetings only slightly different in function from chimpanzee pant hoots (now known to be society-specific). The weight of evidence suggests that at some point, conceivably early in the hominin line, the distinct groups composed of several bands that were typical of our ancestors came to be distinguished by their members on the basis of multiple labels that were socially acquired in this way, the earliest of which would leave no trace in the archaeological record. Often overlooked as research subjects, these sizable fission-fusion communities, in recent egalitarian hunter-gatherers sometimes 2,000 strong, should consistently be accorded the status of societies, in the same sense that this word is used to describe tribes, chiefdoms, and other cultures arising later in our history. The capacity of hunter-gatherer societies to grow sufficiently populous that not all members necessarily recognize one another would make the transition to larger agricultural societies straightforward. Humans differ from chimpanzees in that societal labels are essential to the maintenance of societies and the processes giving birth to new ones. I propose that anonymous societies of all kinds can expand only so far as their labels can remain

  19. Can a few non-coding mutations make a human brain?

    PubMed

    Franchini, Lucía F; Pollard, Katherine S

    2015-10-01

    The recent finding that the human version of a neurodevelopmental enhancer of the Wnt receptor Frizzled 8 (FZD8) gene alters neural progenitor cell cycle timing and brain size is a step forward to understanding human brain evolution. The human brain is distinctive in terms of its cognitive abilities as well as its susceptibility to neurological disease. Identifying which of the millions of genomic changes that occurred during human evolution led to these and other uniquely human traits is extremely challenging. Recent studies have demonstrated that many of the fastest evolving regions of the human genome function as gene regulatory enhancers during embryonic development and that the human-specific mutations in them might alter expression patterns. However, elucidating molecular and cellular effects of sequence or expression pattern changes is a major obstacle to discovering the genetic bases of the evolution of our species. There is much work to do before human-specific genetic and genomic changes are linked to complex human traits.

  20. Loss of Brain Aerobic Glycolysis in Normal Human Aging.

    PubMed

    Goyal, Manu S; Vlassenko, Andrei G; Blazey, Tyler M; Su, Yi; Couture, Lars E; Durbin, Tony J; Bateman, Randall J; Benzinger, Tammie L-S; Morris, John C; Raichle, Marcus E

    2017-08-01

    The normal aging human brain experiences global decreases in metabolism, but whether this affects the topography of brain metabolism is unknown. Here we describe PET-based measurements of brain glucose uptake, oxygen utilization, and blood flow in cognitively normal adults from 20 to 82 years of age. Age-related decreases in brain glucose uptake exceed that of oxygen use, resulting in loss of brain aerobic glycolysis (AG). Whereas the topographies of total brain glucose uptake, oxygen utilization, and blood flow remain largely stable with age, brain AG topography changes significantly. Brain regions with high AG in young adults show the greatest change, as do regions with prolonged developmental transcriptional features (i.e., neoteny). The normal aging human brain thus undergoes characteristic metabolic changes, largely driven by global loss and topographic changes in brain AG. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. The proteome of human brain microdialysate

    PubMed Central

    Maurer, Martin H; Berger, Christian; Wolf, Margit; Fütterer, Carsten D; Feldmann, Robert E; Schwab, Stefan; Kuschinsky, Wolfgang

    2003-01-01

    Background Cerebral microdialysis has been established as a monitoring tool in neurocritically ill patients suffering from severe stroke. The technique allows to sample small molecules in the brain tissue for subsequent biochemical analysis. In this study, we investigated the proteomic profile of human cerebral microdialysate and if the identified proteins might be useful predictors for disease characteristics in stroke for tissue at risk in the contralateral hemisphere. We analysed cerebral protein expression in microdialysate from three stroke patients sampled from the hemisphere contralateral to the lesion. Using a proteomic approach based on two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and subsequent mass spectrometry, we created a protein map for the global protein expression pattern of human microdialyste. Results We found an average of 158 ± 24 (N = 18) protein spots in the human cerebral microdialysate and could identify 95 spots, representing 27 individual proteins. Most of these have been detected in human cerebrospinal fluid before, but 10 additional proteins mainly of cerebral intracellular origin were identified exclusively in the microdialysate. Conclusions The 10 proteins found exclusively in human cerebral microdialysate, but not in cerebrospinal fluid, indicate the possibility to monitor the progression of the disease towards deterioration. The correlation of protein composition in the human cerebral microdialysate with the patients' clinical condition and results of cerebral imaging may be a useful approach to future applications for neurological stroke diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. PMID:14675487

  2. For 'Preemies,' Human Touch May Be a Brain Booster

    MedlinePlus

    ... html For 'Preemies,' Human Touch May Be a Brain Booster Diminished response seen in premature infants who ... 16, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Underscoring the link between brain development and touch, new research suggests premature babies ...

  3. Evolution of human emotion: a view through fear.

    PubMed

    LeDoux, Joseph E

    2012-01-01

    Basic tendencies to detect and respond to significant events are present in the simplest single cell organisms and persist throughout all invertebrates and vertebrates. Within vertebrates, the overall brain plan is highly conserved, though differences in size and complexity also exist. The forebrain differs the most between mammals and other vertebrates. The classic notion that the evolution of mammals led to radical changes such that new forebrain structures (limbic system and neocortex) were added has not held up nor has the idea that so-called limbic areas are primarily involved in emotion. Modern efforts have focused on specific emotion systems, like the fear or defense system, rather than on the search for a general purpose emotion systems. Such studies have found that fear circuits are conserved in mammals, including humans. Animal work has been especially successful in determining how the brain detects and responds to danger. Caution should be exercised when attempting to discuss other aspects of emotion, namely subjective feelings, in animals since there are no scientific ways of verifying and measuring such states except in humans. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. Molecular biology of the human brain

    SciTech Connect

    Jones, E.G.

    1988-01-01

    This book examines new methods of molecular biology that are providing valuable insights into the human brain, the genes that govern its assembly and function, and the many genetic defects that cause neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, Cri du Chat syndrome, Huntington's disease, and bipolar depression disorder. In addition, the book reviews techniques in molecular neurobiological research, including the use of affinity reagents, chimeric receptors, and site-directed mutagenesis in localizing the ion channel and cholinergic binding site, and the application of somatic cell genetics in isolating specific chromosomes or chromosomal segments.

  5. Fast Optical Imaging of Human Brain Function

    PubMed Central

    Gratton, Gabriele; Fabiani, Monica

    2010-01-01

    Great advancements in brain imaging during the last few decades have opened a large number of new possibilities for neuroscientists. The most dominant methodologies (electrophysiological and magnetic resonance-based methods) emphasize temporal and spatial information, respectively. However, theorizing about brain function has recently emphasized the importance of rapid (within 100 ms or so) interactions between different elements of complex neuronal networks. Fast optical imaging, and in particular the event-related optical signal (EROS, a technology that has emerged over the last 15 years) may provide descriptions of localized (to sub-cm level) brain activity with a temporal resolution of less than 100 ms. The main limitations of EROS are its limited penetration, which allows us to image cortical structures not deeper than 3 cm from the surface of the head, and its low signal-to-noise ratio. Advantages include the fact that EROS is compatible with most other imaging methods, including electrophysiological, magnetic resonance, and trans-cranial magnetic stimulation techniques, with which can be recorded concurrently. In this paper we present a summary of the research that has been conducted so far on fast optical imaging, including evidence for the possibility of recording neuronal signals with this method, the properties of the signals, and various examples of applications to the study of human cognitive neuroscience. Extant issues, controversies, and possible future developments are also discussed. PMID:20631845

  6. Mouse Genetic Models of Human Brain Disorders

    PubMed Central

    Leung, Celeste; Jia, Zhengping

    2016-01-01

    Over the past three decades, genetic manipulations in mice have been used in neuroscience as a major approach to investigate the in vivo function of genes and their alterations. In particular, gene targeting techniques using embryonic stem cells have revolutionized the field of mammalian genetics and have been at the forefront in the generation of numerous mouse models of human brain disorders. In this review, we will first examine childhood developmental disorders such as autism, intellectual disability, Fragile X syndrome, and Williams-Beuren syndrome. We will then explore psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and lastly, neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. We will outline the creation of these mouse models that range from single gene deletions, subtle point mutations to multi-gene manipulations, and discuss the key behavioral phenotypes of these mice. Ultimately, the analysis of the models outlined in this review will enhance our understanding of the in vivo role and underlying mechanisms of disease-related genes in both normal brain function and brain disorders, and provide potential therapeutic targets and strategies to prevent and treat these diseases. PMID:27047540

  7. Determination of manganese in human brain samples.

    PubMed

    Tracqui, A; Tayot, J; Kintz, P; Alves, G; Bosque, M A; Mangin, P

    1995-12-29

    A method is presented for the determination of manganese (Mn) in human tissue samples (especially brain) by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrophometry (GFAAS). After complete digestion by a mixture of concentrated nitric acid (HNO3)/concentrated perchloric acid (HClO4) (50:50, v/v), the samples are assayed on a Perkin-Elmer 5100 PC apparatus, equipped with transversal graphite tubes and a Mn-specific hollow cathode lamp. The furnace conditions are as follows (for each step: temperature (degree C)/ramp (s)/duration (s)) dry 120/1/40; char 1200/5/10; atomization 2250/0/4; pyrolysis 2400/1/1. Zeeman correction is employed. The method is linear over the range 0.05 to 5.00 micrograms/g wet tissue, and the limit of detection for Mn is about 0.01 microgram/g wet tissue. This simple and rapid method may be of value for the post-mortem assessment of Mn accumulation in brain structures due to occupational or iatrogenic exposure. An application is presented in which elevated levels of Mn were determined in the brain samples of a 63-year-old female deceased after long-term total parenteral nutrition involving Mn supplementation.

  8. On the nature and evolution of the neural bases of human language

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lieberman, Philip

    2002-01-01

    The traditional theory equating the brain bases of language with Broca's and Wernicke's neocortical areas is wrong. Neural circuits linking activity in anatomically segregated populations of neurons in subcortical structures and the neocortex throughout the human brain regulate complex behaviors such as walking, talking, and comprehending the meaning of sentences. When we hear or read a word, neural structures involved in the perception or real-world associations of the word are activated as well as posterior cortical regions adjacent to Wernicke's area. Many areas of the neocortex and subcortical structures support the cortical-striatal-cortical circuits that confer complex syntactic ability, speech production, and a large vocabulary. However, many of these structures also form part of the neural circuits regulating other aspects of behavior. For example, the basal ganglia, which regulate motor control, are also crucial elements in the circuits that confer human linguistic ability and abstract reasoning. The cerebellum, traditionally associated with motor control, is active in motor learning. The basal ganglia are also key elements in reward-based learning. Data from studies of Broca's aphasia, Parkinson's disease, hypoxia, focal brain damage, and a genetically transmitted brain anomaly (the putative "language gene," family KE), and from comparative studies of the brains and behavior of other species, demonstrate that the basal ganglia sequence the discrete elements that constitute a complete motor act, syntactic process, or thought process. Imaging studies of intact human subjects and electrophysiologic and tracer studies of the brains and behavior of other species confirm these findings. As Dobzansky put it, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution" (cited in Mayr, 1982). That applies with as much force to the human brain and the neural bases of language as it does to the human foot or jaw. The converse follows: the mark of evolution on

  9. On the nature and evolution of the neural bases of human language

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lieberman, Philip

    2002-01-01

    The traditional theory equating the brain bases of language with Broca's and Wernicke's neocortical areas is wrong. Neural circuits linking activity in anatomically segregated populations of neurons in subcortical structures and the neocortex throughout the human brain regulate complex behaviors such as walking, talking, and comprehending the meaning of sentences. When we hear or read a word, neural structures involved in the perception or real-world associations of the word are activated as well as posterior cortical regions adjacent to Wernicke's area. Many areas of the neocortex and subcortical structures support the cortical-striatal-cortical circuits that confer complex syntactic ability, speech production, and a large vocabulary. However, many of these structures also form part of the neural circuits regulating other aspects of behavior. For example, the basal ganglia, which regulate motor control, are also crucial elements in the circuits that confer human linguistic ability and abstract reasoning. The cerebellum, traditionally associated with motor control, is active in motor learning. The basal ganglia are also key elements in reward-based learning. Data from studies of Broca's aphasia, Parkinson's disease, hypoxia, focal brain damage, and a genetically transmitted brain anomaly (the putative "language gene," family KE), and from comparative studies of the brains and behavior of other species, demonstrate that the basal ganglia sequence the discrete elements that constitute a complete motor act, syntactic process, or thought process. Imaging studies of intact human subjects and electrophysiologic and tracer studies of the brains and behavior of other species confirm these findings. As Dobzansky put it, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution" (cited in Mayr, 1982). That applies with as much force to the human brain and the neural bases of language as it does to the human foot or jaw. The converse follows: the mark of evolution on

  10. Human brain lesion-deficit inference remapped.

    PubMed

    Mah, Yee-Haur; Husain, Masud; Rees, Geraint; Nachev, Parashkev

    2014-09-01

    Our knowledge of the anatomical organization of the human brain in health and disease draws heavily on the study of patients with focal brain lesions. Historically the first method of mapping brain function, it is still potentially the most powerful, establishing the necessity of any putative neural substrate for a given function or deficit. Great inferential power, however, carries a crucial vulnerability: without stronger alternatives any consistent error cannot be easily detected. A hitherto unexamined source of such error is the structure of the high-dimensional distribution of patterns of focal damage, especially in ischaemic injury-the commonest aetiology in lesion-deficit studies-where the anatomy is naturally shaped by the architecture of the vascular tree. This distribution is so complex that analysis of lesion data sets of conventional size cannot illuminate its structure, leaving us in the dark about the presence or absence of such error. To examine this crucial question we assembled the largest known set of focal brain lesions (n = 581), derived from unselected patients with acute ischaemic injury (mean age = 62.3 years, standard deviation = 17.8, male:female ratio = 0.547), visualized with diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging, and processed with validated automated lesion segmentation routines. High-dimensional analysis of this data revealed a hidden bias within the multivariate patterns of damage that will consistently distort lesion-deficit maps, displacing inferred critical regions from their true locations, in a manner opaque to replication. Quantifying the size of this mislocalization demonstrates that past lesion-deficit relationships estimated with conventional inferential methodology are likely to be significantly displaced, by a magnitude dependent on the unknown underlying lesion-deficit relationship itself. Past studies therefore cannot be retrospectively corrected, except by new knowledge that would render them redundant

  11. The evolution of human artistic creativity.

    PubMed

    Morriss-Kay, Gillian M

    2010-02-01

    Creating visual art is one of the defining characteristics of the human species, but the paucity of archaeological evidence means that we have limited information on the origin and evolution of this aspect of human culture. The components of art include colour, pattern and the reproduction of visual likeness. The 2D and 3D art forms that were created by Upper Palaeolithic Europeans at least 30,000 years ago are conceptually equivalent to those created in recent centuries, indicating that human cognition and symbolling activity, as well as anatomy, were fully modern by that time. The origins of art are therefore much more ancient and lie within Africa, before worldwide human dispersal. The earliest known evidence of 'artistic behaviour' is of human body decoration, including skin colouring with ochre and the use of beads, although both may have had functional origins. Zig-zag and criss-cross patterns, nested curves and parallel lines are the earliest known patterns to have been created separately from the body; their similarity to entopic phenomena (involuntary products of the visual system) suggests a physiological origin. 3D art may have begun with human likeness recognition in natural objects, which were modified to enhance that likeness; some 2D art has also clearly been influenced by suggestive features of an uneven surface. The creation of images from the imagination, or 'the mind's eye', required a seminal evolutionary change in the neural structures underpinning perception; this change would have had a survival advantage in both tool-making and hunting. Analysis of early tool-making techniques suggests that creating 3D objects (sculptures and reliefs) involves their cognitive deconstruction into a series of surfaces, a principle that could have been applied to early sculpture. The cognitive ability to create art separate from the body must have originated in Africa but the practice may have begun at different times in genetically and culturally distinct

  12. The evolution of human artistic creativity

    PubMed Central

    Morriss-Kay, Gillian M

    2010-01-01

    Creating visual art is one of the defining characteristics of the human species, but the paucity of archaeological evidence means that we have limited information on the origin and evolution of this aspect of human culture. The components of art include colour, pattern and the reproduction of visual likeness. The 2D and 3D art forms that were created by Upper Palaeolithic Europeans at least 30 000 years ago are conceptually equivalent to those created in recent centuries, indicating that human cognition and symbolling activity, as well as anatomy, were fully modern by that time. The origins of art are therefore much more ancient and lie within Africa, before worldwide human dispersal. The earliest known evidence of ‘artistic behaviour’ is of human body decoration, including skin colouring with ochre and the use of beads, although both may have had functional origins. Zig-zag and criss-cross patterns, nested curves and parallel lines are the earliest known patterns to have been created separately from the body; their similarity to entopic phenomena (involuntary products of the visual system) suggests a physiological origin. 3D art may have begun with human likeness recognition in natural objects, which were modified to enhance that likeness; some 2D art has also clearly been influenced by suggestive features of an uneven surface. The creation of images from the imagination, or ‘the mind’s eye’, required a seminal evolutionary change in the neural structures underpinning perception; this change would have had a survival advantage in both tool-making and hunting. Analysis of early tool-making techniques suggests that creating 3D objects (sculptures and reliefs) involves their cognitive deconstruction into a series of surfaces, a principle that could have been applied to early sculpture. The cognitive ability to create art separate from the body must have originated in Africa but the practice may have begun at different times in genetically and culturally

  13. Both noncoding and protein-coding RNAs contribute to gene expression evolution in the primate brain.

    PubMed

    Babbitt, Courtney C; Fedrigo, Olivier; Pfefferle, Adam D; Boyle, Alan P; Horvath, Julie E; Furey, Terrence S; Wray, Gregory A

    2010-01-18

    Despite striking differences in cognition and behavior between humans and our closest primate relatives, several studies have found little evidence for adaptive change in protein-coding regions of genes expressed primarily in the brain. Instead, changes in gene expression may underlie many cognitive and behavioral differences. Here, we used digital gene expression: tag profiling (here called Tag-Seq, also called DGE:tag profiling) to assess changes in global transcript abundance in the frontal cortex of the brains of 3 humans, 3 chimpanzees, and 3 rhesus macaques. A substantial fraction of transcripts we identified as differentially transcribed among species were not assayed in previous studies based on microarrays. Differentially expressed tags within coding regions are enriched for gene functions involved in synaptic transmission, transport, oxidative phosphorylation, and lipid metabolism. Importantly, because Tag-Seq technology provides strand-specific information about all polyadenlyated transcripts, we were able to assay expression in noncoding intragenic regions, including both sense and antisense noncoding transcripts (relative to nearby genes). We find that many noncoding transcripts are conserved in both location and expression level between species, suggesting a possible functional role. Lastly, we examined the overlap between differential gene expression and signatures of positive selection within putative promoter regions, a sign that these differences represent adaptations during human evolution. Comparative approaches may provide important insights into genes responsible for differences in cognitive functions between humans and nonhuman primates, as well as highlighting new candidate genes for studies investigating neurological disorders.

  14. Postmortem anatomy from cryosectioned whole human brain.

    PubMed

    Toga, A W; Ambach, K; Quinn, B; Hutchin, M; Burton, J S

    1994-10-01

    A system of histologic and digital processing protocols are presented for the acquisition of high-resolution digital imagery from postmortem cryosectioned whole human brain and head for computer-based 3-dimensional (3D) representation and visualization. We designed and evaluated several protocols for optimal preparation of frozen specimens including fixation, decalcification, cryoprotection, freezing and sectioning procedures. High-resolution (1024(2) pixel) serial images were captured directly from the cryoplaned blockface using an integrated color digital camera and fiber optic illumination system mounted over a modified cryomacrotome. Specimens frozen and sectioned with the cranium intact preserved brain spatial relationships and anatomic bony landmarks. Color preservation was superior in unfixed tissue heads were incompatible with decalcification and cryoprotection procedures and section collection from such specimens was complicated by bone fragmentation. Collection of 1024(2) images from whole brain resulted in a spatial resolution of 200 microns/pixel in a 1-3 Gbyte data space. Even higher 3D spatial resolution was possible by primary image capture of selected regions such as hippocampus or brain stem. Discrete registration errors were corrected using image processing strategies such as cross-correlative and other algorithmic approaches. Data sets were amenable to resampling in multiple planes as well as scaling and transpositioning into standard coordinate systems. These methods enable quantitative measurements for comparison between subjects and to published atlas data. These techniques allow visualization and measurement at resolutions far higher than those available through other imaging technologies and provide greatly enhanced contrast for delineation of neuroanatomic structures, pathways, and subregions.

  15. Synaptosomal lactate dehydrogenase isoenzyme composition is shifted toward aerobic forms in primate brain evolution.

    PubMed

    Duka, Tetyana; Anderson, Sarah M; Collins, Zachary; Raghanti, Mary Ann; Ely, John J; Hof, Patrick R; Wildman, Derek E; Goodman, Morris; Grossman, Lawrence I; Sherwood, Chet C

    2014-01-01

    With the evolution of a relatively large brain size in haplorhine primates (i.e. tarsiers, monkeys, apes, and humans), there have been associated changes in the molecular machinery that delivers energy to the neocortex. Here we investigated variation in lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) expression and isoenzyme composition of the neocortex and striatum in primates using quantitative Western blotting and isoenzyme analysis of total homogenates and synaptosomal fractions. Analysis of isoform expression revealed that LDH in synaptosomal fractions from both forebrain regions shifted towards a predominance of the heart-type, aerobic isoform LDH-B among haplorhines as compared to strepsirrhines (i.e. lorises and lemurs), while in the total homogenate of the neocortex and striatum there was no significant difference in LDH isoenzyme composition between the primate suborders. The largest increase occurred in synapse-associated LDH-B expression in the neocortex, with an especially remarkable elevation in the ratio of LDH-B/LDH-A in humans. The phylogenetic variation in the ratio of LDH-B/LDH-A was correlated with species-typical brain mass but not the encephalization quotient. A significant LDH-B increase in the subneuronal fraction from haplorhine neocortex and striatum suggests a relatively higher rate of aerobic glycolysis that is linked to synaptosomal mitochondrial metabolism. Our results indicate that there is a differential composition of LDH isoenzymes and metabolism in synaptic terminals that evolved in primates to meet increased energy requirements in association with brain enlargement.

  16. SYNAPTOSOMAL LACTATE DEHYDROGENASE ISOENZYME COMPOSITION IS SHIFTED TOWARD AEROBIC FORMS IN PRIMATE BRAIN EVOLUTION

    PubMed Central

    Duka, Tetyana; Anderson, Sarah M.; Collins, Zachary; Raghanti, Mary Ann; Ely, John J.; Hof, Patrick R.; Wildman, Derek E.; Goodman, Morris; Grossman, Lawrence I.; Sherwood, Chet C.

    2014-01-01

    With the evolution of a relatively large brain size in haplorhine primates (i.e., tarsiers, monkeys, apes and humans), there have been associated changes in the molecular machinery that delivers energy to the neocortex. Here we investigated variation in lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) expression and isoenzyme composition of the neocortex and striatum in primates using quantitative Western blotting and isoenzyme analysis of total homogenates and synaptosomal fractions. Analysis of isoform expression revealed that LDH in the synaptosomal fraction from both forebrain regions shifted towards a predominance of the heart-type, aerobic isoforms, LDHB, among haplorhines as compared to strepsirrhines (i.e., lorises and lemurs), while in total homogenate of neocortex and striatum there was no significant difference in the LDH isoenzyme composition between the primate suborders. The largest increase occurred in synapse-associated LDH-B expression in the neocortex, displaying an especially remarkable elevation in the ratio of LDH-B to LDH-A in humans. The phylogenetic variation in LDH-B to LDH-A ratio was correlated with species typical brain mass, but not encephalization quotient. A significant LDHB increase in the sub-neuronal fraction from haplorhine neocortex and striatum suggests a relatively higher rate of aerobic glycolysis that is linked to synaptosomal mitochondrial metabolism. Our results indicate that there is differential composition of LDH isoenzymes and metabolism in synaptic terminals that evolved in primates to meet increased energy requirements in association with brain enlargement. PMID:24686273

  17. Evolution and development of brain sensory organs in molgulid ascidians.

    PubMed

    Jeffery, William R

    2004-01-01

    The ascidian tadpole larva has two brain sensory organs containing melanocytes: the otolith, a gravity receptor, and the ocellus, part of a photoreceptor. One or both of these sensory organs are absent in molgulid ascidians. We show here that developmental changes leading to the loss of sensory pigment cells occur by different mechanisms in closely related molgulid species. Sensory pigment cells are formed through a bilateral determination pathway in which two or more precursor cells are specified as an equivalence group on each side of the embryo. The precursor cells subsequently converge at the midline after neurulation and undergo cell interactions that decide the fates of the otolith and ocellus. Molgula occidentalis and M. oculata, which exhibit a tadpole larva with an otolith but lacking an ocellus, have conserved the bilateral pigment cell determination pathway. Programmed cell death (PCD) is superimposed on this pathway late in development to eliminate the ocellus precursor and supernumerary pigment cells, which do not differentiate into either an otolith or ocellus. In contrast to molgulids with tadpole larvae, no pigment cell precursors are specified on either side of the M. occulta embryo, which forms a tailless (anural) larva lacking both sensory organs, suggesting that the bilateral pigment cell determination pathway has been lost. The bilateral pigment cell determination pathway and superimposed PCD can be restored in hybrids obtained by fertilizing M. occulta eggs with M. oculata sperm, indicating control by a zygotic process. We conclude that PCD plays an important role in the evolution and development of brain sensory organs in molgulid ascidians.

  18. Polygamy and the evolution of human longevity.

    PubMed

    Strehler, B L

    1979-02-01

    An alternative to previous explanations of the rapid increase in man's longevity and intelligence during the several million years of his recent evolution from pre-hominid, clearly shorter-lived and less intelligent, primate ancestors is presented. The general thesis is that a very greatly accelerated rate of incorporation of favorable genes or gene combinations can be achieved in surprisingly few generations among social animals provided that dominant males become the patriarchs of many descendents by virtue of their partial or complete monopoly on available females. The conclusion is that man probably differs from his ancesters of 0.5 to 5 million years ago by many thousands of genes (both structural and regulatory) rather than the dozens or few hundreds that have been postulated on the basis of more classical treatments of selection pressures, gene frequency changes and mutation rates. The concepts developed here formally apply only to two alternative alleles, rather than to groups of genes which segregate independently, or to characters determined by multiple alleles. The appropriate mathematical treatment of the latter real situation is not readily visualized; nor is account taken of the likelihood that different tribes of pre-humans developed different specializations via the above mechanisms which were then (later) combined into an emerging human stock through matings between members of different tribes. The very great variability both in longevity and in intelligence between different races of animals such as dogs, which have been the objects of deliberate genetic selection by humans for particular heritable traits, may parallel our own recent history, even though the selection mechanism (deliberate human selection vs. polygamous dominance) is quite different in the two cases. The onset of civilizations consisting of amalgums between smaller, previously competing tribes, together with the humanitarian responsibilities to each other we share as a species

  19. The shape of the human language-ready brain

    PubMed Central

    Boeckx, Cedric; Benítez-Burraco, Antonio

    2014-01-01

    Our core hypothesis is that the emergence of our species-specific language-ready brain ought to be understood in light of the developmental changes expressed at the levels of brain morphology and neural connectivity that occurred in our species after the split from Neanderthals–Denisovans and that gave us a more globular braincase configuration. In addition to changes at the cortical level, we hypothesize that the anatomical shift that led to globularity also entailed significant changes at the subcortical level. We claim that the functional consequences of such changes must also be taken into account to gain a fuller understanding of our linguistic capacity. Here we focus on the thalamus, which we argue is central to language and human cognition, as it modulates fronto-parietal activity. With this new neurobiological perspective in place, we examine its possible molecular basis. We construct a candidate gene set whose members are involved in the development and connectivity of the thalamus, in the evolution of the human head, and are known to give rise to language-associated cognitive disorders. We submit that the new gene candidate set opens up new windows into our understanding of the genetic basis of our linguistic capacity. Thus, our hypothesis aims at generating new testing grounds concerning core aspects of language ontogeny and phylogeny. PMID:24772099

  20. The shape of the human language-ready brain.

    PubMed

    Boeckx, Cedric; Benítez-Burraco, Antonio

    2014-01-01

    Our core hypothesis is that the emergence of our species-specific language-ready brain ought to be understood in light of the developmental changes expressed at the levels of brain morphology and neural connectivity that occurred in our species after the split from Neanderthals-Denisovans and that gave us a more globular braincase configuration. In addition to changes at the cortical level, we hypothesize that the anatomical shift that led to globularity also entailed significant changes at the subcortical level. We claim that the functional consequences of such changes must also be taken into account to gain a fuller understanding of our linguistic capacity. Here we focus on the thalamus, which we argue is central to language and human cognition, as it modulates fronto-parietal activity. With this new neurobiological perspective in place, we examine its possible molecular basis. We construct a candidate gene set whose members are involved in the development and connectivity of the thalamus, in the evolution of the human head, and are known to give rise to language-associated cognitive disorders. We submit that the new gene candidate set opens up new windows into our understanding of the genetic basis of our linguistic capacity. Thus, our hypothesis aims at generating new testing grounds concerning core aspects of language ontogeny and phylogeny.

  1. Evolution of sexually dimorphic longevity in humans

    PubMed Central

    Gems, David

    2014-01-01

    Why do humans live longer than other higher primates? Why do women live longer than men? What is the significance of the menopause? Answers to these questions may be sought by reference to the mechanisms by which human aging might have evolved. Here, an evolutionary hypothesis is presented that could answer all three questions, based on the following suppositions. First, that the evolution of increased human longevity was driven by increased late-life reproduction by men in polygynous primordial societies. Second, that the lack of a corresponding increase in female reproductive lifespan reflects evolutionary constraint on late-life oocyte production. Third, that antagonistic pleiotropy acting on androgen-generated secondary sexual characteristics in men increased reproductive success earlier in life, but shortened lifespan. That the gender gap in aging is attributable to androgens appears more likely given a recent report of exceptional longevity in eunuchs. Yet androgen depletion therapy, now used to treat prostatic hyperplasia, appears to accelerate other aspects of aging (e.g. cardiovascular disease). One possibility is that low levels of androgens throughout life reduces aging rate, but late-life androgen depletion does not. PMID:24566422

  2. Can a few non‐coding mutations make a human brain?

    PubMed Central

    Franchini, Lucía F.

    2015-01-01

    The recent finding that the human version of a neurodevelopmental enhancer of the Wnt receptor Frizzled 8 (FZD8) gene alters neural progenitor cell cycle timing and brain size is a step forward to understanding human brain evolution. The human brain is distinctive in terms of its cognitive abilities as well as its susceptibility to neurological disease. Identifying which of the millions of genomic changes that occurred during human evolution led to these and other uniquely human traits is extremely challenging. Recent studies have demonstrated that many of the fastest evolving regions of the human genome function as gene regulatory enhancers during embryonic development and that the human‐specific mutations in them might alter expression patterns. However, elucidating molecular and cellular effects of sequence or expression pattern changes is a major obstacle to discovering the genetic bases of the evolution of our species. There is much work to do before human‐specific genetic and genomic changes are linked to complex human traits. Also watch the Video Abstract. PMID:26350501

  3. A Theory of Marks and Mind: The Effect of Notational Systems on Hominid Brain Evolution and Child Development with an Emphasis on Exchanges between Mothers and Children

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sheridan, Susan Rich

    2005-01-01

    A model of human language requires a theory of meaningful marks. Humans are the only species who use marks to think. A theory of marks identifies children's scribbles as significant behavior, while hypothesizing the importance of notational systems to hominid brain evolution. By recognizing the importance of children's scribbles and drawings in…

  4. Patterns of differences in brain morphology in humans as compared to extant apes

    PubMed Central

    Aldridge, Kristina

    2010-01-01

    Although human evolution is characterized by a vast increase in brain size, it is not clear whether or not certain regions of the brain are enlarged disproportionately in humans, or how this enlargement relates to differences in overall neural morphology. The aim of this study is to determine whether or not there are specific suites of features that distinguish the morphology of the human brain from that of apes. The study sample consists of whole brain, in vivo magnetic resonance images (MRIs) of anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) and five ape species (gibbons, orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos). Twenty-nine 3D landmarks, including surface and internal features of the brain were located on 3D MRI reconstructions of each individual using MEASURE software. Landmark coordinate data were scaled for differences in size and analyzed using Euclidean Distance Matrix Analysis (EDMA) to statistically compare the brains of each non-human ape species to the human sample. Results of analyses show both a pattern of brain morphology that is consistently different between all apes and humans, as well as patterns that differ among species. Further, both the consistent and species-specific patterns include cortical and subcortical features. The pattern that remains consistent across species indicates a morphological reorganization of 1) relationships between cortical and subcortical frontal structures, 2) expansion of the temporal lobe and location of the amygdala, and 3) expansion of the anterior parietal region. Additionally, results demonstrate that, although there is a pattern of morphology that uniquely defines the human brain, there are also patterns that uniquely differentiate human morphology from the morphology of each non-human ape species, indicating that reorganization of neural morphology occurred at the evolutionary divergence of each of these groups. PMID:21056456

  5. The evolution of brain surgery on awake patients.

    PubMed

    Surbeck, Werner; Hildebrandt, Gerhard; Duffau, Hugues

    2015-01-01

    In the early days of modern neurological surgery, the inconveniences and potential dangers of general anesthesia by chloroform and ether using the so-called "open-drop technique" led to the quest for alternative methods of anesthesia. Besides preventing the feared side effects, the introduction of regional anesthesia revealed another decisive advantage over general anesthesia in neurosurgery: While intraoperative direct cortical stimulation under general anesthesia could only delineate the motor area (by evocation of contralateral muscular contraction), now, the awake patients were able to report sensations elicited by this method. These properties advanced regional anesthesia to the regimen of choice for cranial surgeries in the first half of the 20th century. While technical advances and new drugs led to a progressive return to general anesthesia for neurosurgical procedures, the use of regional anesthesia for epilepsy surgery has only decreased in recent decades. Meanwhile, awake craniotomies regained popularity in oncologically motivated surgeries, especially in craniotomies for diffuse low-grade gliomas. Intraoperative mapping of brain functions using electrical stimulation in awake patients enables not only for increased tumor removal while preserving the functional status of the patients but also opens a window to cognitive neuroscience. Observations during such interventions and their correlation with both pre - and postoperative neuropsychological examinations and functional neuroimaging is progressively leading to new insights into the complex functional anatomy of the human brain. Furthermore, it broadens our knowledge on cerebral network reorganization in the presence of disease-with implications for all disciplines of clinical neuroscience.

  6. [Neuroethics: Ethical Endowments of Human Brain].

    PubMed

    López Moratalla, Natalia

    2015-01-01

    The neurobiological processes underlying moral judgement have been the focus of Neuroethics. Neurosciences demonstrate which cerebral areas are active and inactive whilst people decide how to act when facing a moral dilemma; in this way we know the correlation between determined cerebral areas and our human acts. We can explain how the ″ethical endowments″ of each person, common to all human beings, is ″embedded″ in the dynamic of cerebral flows. Of central interest is whether emotions play a causal role in moral judgement, and, in parallel, how emotion related areas of the brain contribute to moral judgement. The outcome of man's natural inclinations is on one hand linked to instinctive systems of animal survival and to basic emotions, and on the other, to the life of each individual human uninhibited by automatism of the biological laws, because he is governed by the laws of freedom. The capacity to formulate an ethical judgement is an innate asset of the human mind.

  7. Evolution of oxytocin pathways in the brain of vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Knobloch, H. Sophie; Grinevich, Valery

    2014-01-01

    The central oxytocin system transformed tremendously during the evolution, thereby adapting to the expanding properties of species. In more basal vertebrates (paraphyletic taxon Anamnia, which includes agnathans, fish and amphibians), magnocellular neurosecretory neurons producing homologs of oxytocin reside in the wall of the third ventricle of the hypothalamus composing a single hypothalamic structure, the preoptic nucleus. This nucleus further diverged in advanced vertebrates (monophyletic taxon Amniota, which includes reptiles, birds, and mammals) into the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei with accessory nuclei (AN) between them. The individual magnocellular neurons underwent a process of transformation from primitive uni- or bipolar neurons into highly differentiated neurons. Due to these microanatomical and cytological changes, the ancient release modes of oxytocin into the cerebrospinal fluid were largely replaced by vascular release. However, the most fascinating feature of the progressive transformations of the oxytocin system has been the expansion of oxytocin axonal projections to forebrain regions. In the present review we provide a background on these evolutionary advancements. Furthermore, we draw attention to the non-synaptic axonal release in small and defined brain regions with the aim to clearly distinguish this way of oxytocin action from the classical synaptic transmission on one side and from dendritic release followed by a global diffusion on the other side. Finally, we will summarize the effects of oxytocin and its homologs on pro-social reproductive behaviors in representatives of the phylogenetic tree and will propose anatomically plausible pathways of oxytocin release contributing to these behaviors in basal vertebrates and amniots. PMID:24592219

  8. SEARCHING HUMAN BRAIN FOR MECHANISMS OF PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS

    PubMed Central

    Berretta, Sabina; Heckers, Stephan; Benes, Francine M.

    2014-01-01

    In the past 25 years, research on the human brain has been providing a clear path toward understanding the pathophysiology of psychiatric illnesses. The successes that have been accrued are matched by significant difficulties identifying and controlling a large number of potential confounding variables. By systematically and effectively accounting for unwanted variance in data from imaging and postmortem human brain studies, meaningful and reliable information regarding the pathophysiology of human brain disorders can be obtained. This perspective paper focuses on postmortem investigations to discuss some of the most challenging sources of variance, including diagnosis, comorbidity, substance abuse and pharmacological treatment, which confound investigations of human brain. PMID:25458567

  9. Inter-species activity correlations reveal functional correspondences between monkey and human brain areas

    PubMed Central

    Mantini, Dante; Hasson, Uri; Betti, Viviana; Perrucci, Mauro G.; Romani, Gian Luca; Corbetta, Maurizio; Orban, Guy A.; Vanduffel, Wim

    2012-01-01

    Evolution-driven functional changes in the primate brain are typically assessed by aligning monkey and human activation maps using cortical surface expansion models. These models use putative homologous areas as registration landmarks, assuming they are functionally correspondent. In cases where functional changes have occurred in an area, this assumption prohibits to reveal whether other areas may have assumed lost functions. Here we describe a method to examine functional correspondences across species. Without making spatial assumptions, we assess similarities in sensory-driven functional magnetic resonance imaging responses between monkey (Macaca mulatta) and human brain areas by means of temporal correlation. Using natural vision data, we reveal regions for which functional processing has shifted to topologically divergent locations during evolution. We conclude that substantial evolution-driven functional reorganizations have occurred, not always consistent with cortical expansion processes. This novel framework for evaluating changes in functional architecture is crucial to building more accurate evolutionary models. PMID:22306809

  10. Interspecies activity correlations reveal functional correspondence between monkey and human brain areas.

    PubMed

    Mantini, Dante; Hasson, Uri; Betti, Viviana; Perrucci, Mauro G; Romani, Gian Luca; Corbetta, Maurizio; Orban, Guy A; Vanduffel, Wim

    2012-02-05

    Evolution-driven functional changes in the primate brain are typically assessed by aligning monkey and human activation maps using cortical surface expansion models. These models use putative homologous areas as registration landmarks, assuming they are functionally correspondent. For cases in which functional changes have occurred in an area, this assumption prohibits to reveal whether other areas may have assumed lost functions. Here we describe a method to examine functional correspondences across species. Without making spatial assumptions, we assessed similarities in sensory-driven functional magnetic resonance imaging responses between monkey (Macaca mulatta) and human brain areas by temporal correlation. Using natural vision data, we revealed regions for which functional processing has shifted to topologically divergent locations during evolution. We conclude that substantial evolution-driven functional reorganizations have occurred, not always consistent with cortical expansion processes. This framework for evaluating changes in functional architecture is crucial to building more accurate evolutionary models.

  11. The Human Brain in Numbers: A Linearly Scaled-up Primate Brain

    PubMed Central

    Herculano-Houzel, Suzana

    2009-01-01

    The human brain has often been viewed as outstanding among mammalian brains: the most cognitively able, the largest-than-expected from body size, endowed with an overdeveloped cerebral cortex that represents over 80% of brain mass, and purportedly containing 100 billion neurons and 10× more glial cells. Such uniqueness was seemingly necessary to justify the superior cognitive abilities of humans over larger-brained mammals such as elephants and whales. However, our recent studies using a novel method to determine the cellular composition of the brain of humans and other primates as well as of rodents and insectivores show that, since different cellular scaling rules apply to the brains within these orders, brain size can no longer be considered a proxy for the number of neurons in the brain. These studies also showed that the human brain is not exceptional in its cellular composition, as it was found to contain as many neuronal and non-neuronal cells as would be expected of a primate brain of its size. Additionally, the so-called overdeveloped human cerebral cortex holds only 19% of all brain neurons, a fraction that is similar to that found in other mammals. In what regards absolute numbers of neurons, however, the human brain does have two advantages compared to other mammalian brains: compared to rodents, and probably to whales and elephants as well, it is built according to the very economical, space-saving scaling rules that apply to other primates; and, among economically built primate brains, it is the largest, hence containing the most neurons. These findings argue in favor of a view of cognitive abilities that is centered on absolute numbers of neurons, rather than on body size or encephalization, and call for a re-examination of several concepts related to the exceptionality of the human brain. PMID:19915731

  12. Rapid evolution of the cerebellum in humans and other great apes.

    PubMed

    Barton, Robert A; Venditti, Chris

    2014-10-20

    Humans' unique cognitive abilities are usually attributed to a greatly expanded neocortex, which has been described as "the crowning achievement of evolution and the biological substrate of human mental prowess". The human cerebellum, however, contains four times more neurons than the neocortex and is attracting increasing attention for its wide range of cognitive functions. Using a method for detecting evolutionary rate changes along the branches of phylogenetic trees, we show that the cerebellum underwent rapid size increase throughout the evolution of apes, including humans, expanding significantly faster than predicted by the change in neocortex size. As a result, humans and other apes deviated significantly from the general evolutionary trend for neocortex and cerebellum to change in tandem, having significantly larger cerebella relative to neocortex size than other anthropoid primates. These results suggest that cerebellar specialization was a far more important component of human brain evolution than hitherto recognized and that technical intelligence was likely to have been at least as important as social intelligence in human cognitive evolution. Given the role of the cerebellum in sensory-motor control and in learning complex action sequences, cerebellar specialization is likely to have underpinned the evolution of humans' advanced technological capacities, which in turn may have been a preadaptation for language. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Scaling of brain metabolism with a fixed energy budget per neuron: implications for neuronal activity, plasticity and evolution.

    PubMed

    Herculano-Houzel, Suzana

    2011-03-01

    It is usually considered that larger brains have larger neurons, which consume more energy individually, and are therefore accompanied by a larger number of glial cells per neuron. These notions, however, have never been tested. Based on glucose and oxygen metabolic rates in awake animals and their recently determined numbers of neurons, here I show that, contrary to the expected, the estimated glucose use per neuron is remarkably constant, varying only by 40% across the six species of rodents and primates (including humans). The estimated average glucose use per neuron does not correlate with neuronal density in any structure. This suggests that the energy budget of the whole brain per neuron is fixed across species and brain sizes, such that total glucose use by the brain as a whole, by the cerebral cortex and also by the cerebellum alone are linear functions of the number of neurons in the structures across the species (although the average glucose consumption per neuron is at least 10× higher in the cerebral cortex than in the cerebellum). These results indicate that the apparently remarkable use in humans of 20% of the whole body energy budget by a brain that represents only 2% of body mass is explained simply by its large number of neurons. Because synaptic activity is considered the major determinant of metabolic cost, a conserved energy budget per neuron has several profound implications for synaptic homeostasis and the regulation of firing rates, synaptic plasticity, brain imaging, pathologies, and for brain scaling in evolution.

  14. Scaling of Brain Metabolism with a Fixed Energy Budget per Neuron: Implications for Neuronal Activity, Plasticity and Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Herculano-Houzel, Suzana

    2011-01-01

    It is usually considered that larger brains have larger neurons, which consume more energy individually, and are therefore accompanied by a larger number of glial cells per neuron. These notions, however, have never been tested. Based on glucose and oxygen metabolic rates in awake animals and their recently determined numbers of neurons, here I show that, contrary to the expected, the estimated glucose use per neuron is remarkably constant, varying only by 40% across the six species of rodents and primates (including humans). The estimated average glucose use per neuron does not correlate with neuronal density in any structure. This suggests that the energy budget of the whole brain per neuron is fixed across species and brain sizes, such that total glucose use by the brain as a whole, by the cerebral cortex and also by the cerebellum alone are linear functions of the number of neurons in the structures across the species (although the average glucose consumption per neuron is at least 10× higher in the cerebral cortex than in the cerebellum). These results indicate that the apparently remarkable use in humans of 20% of the whole body energy budget by a brain that represents only 2% of body mass is explained simply by its large number of neurons. Because synaptic activity is considered the major determinant of metabolic cost, a conserved energy budget per neuron has several profound implications for synaptic homeostasis and the regulation of firing rates, synaptic plasticity, brain imaging, pathologies, and for brain scaling in evolution. PMID:21390261

  15. Left Brain to Right Brain: Notes from the Human Laboratory.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Baumli, Francis

    1982-01-01

    Examines the implications of the left brain-right brain theory on communications styles in male-female relationships. The author contends that women tend to use the vagueness of their emotional responses manipulatively. Men need to apply rational approaches to increase clarity in communication. (AM)

  16. Third brain ventricle deformation analysis using fractional differentiation and evolution strategy in brain cine-MRI

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nakib, Amir; Aiboud, Fazia; Hodel, Jerome; Siarry, Patrick; Decq, Philippe

    2010-03-01

    In this paper, we present an original method to evaluate the deformations in the third cerebral ventricle on a brain cine- MR imaging. First, a segmentation process, based on a fractional differentiation method, is directly applied on a 2D+t dataset to detect the contours of the region of interest (i.e. lamina terminalis). Then, the successive segmented contours are matched using a procedure of global alignment, followed by a morphing process, based on the Covariance Matrix Adaptation Evolution Strategy (CMAES). Finally, local measurements of deformations are derived from the previously determined matched contours. The validation step is realized by comparing our results with the measurements achieved on the same patients by an expert.

  17. [Sexual differentiation of the human brain].

    PubMed

    Kula, K; Słowikowska-Hilczer, J

    2000-01-01

    Normal human development requires the compatibility between genetic sex (sex chromosomes), sex of gonades (tests or ovaries), genitalia (external and internal sex organs), somatic features (body characteristics) and psychic sex. The psychic sex, called frequently gender, consist of gender identity (self-estimation), gender role (objective estimation) and sexual orientation (hetero- or homosexual). It was believed that the psychic gender depends only on socio-environmental influences such as rearing, learning and individual choice. Although, the process of sexual differentiation of human brain is not completely elucidated, it has became recently evident that endogenous hormones more then socio-environmental factors influence gender differences. Experimental studies on animals revealed that transient action of sex steroids during perinatal period of life is crucial for the dymorphism of sexual behavior (male or female) in adulthood. It seems, that also in the human male neonates testosterone produced by testes perinatally takes the main role in the irreversible masculinization of the brain i.e. creation of the differences vs. female brain. The evaluation of patients with disturbances of sexual differentiation of external genitalia (the lack of the testosterone transformation into 5-alpha dihydrotestosterone in peripheral tissues of men or the inborn excess of androgens in women with the congenital adrenal hyperplasia) has served as a useful clinical model for understanding factors, affecting the formation of gender. In these individuals the formal sex established according to genetic sex and somatic sex may be incompatible with gender identity and role. However, it has been found that the female gender identity is most frequently associated with the presence of ovaries or the lack of gonads (gonadal dysgenesis), while the male gender identity appear most frequently in the presence of testicular tissue irrespective of female or hermaphrodite (intersex) phenotype. In

  18. Listeriolysin O mediates cytotoxicity against human brain microvascular

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Penetration of the brain microvascular endothelial layer is one of the routes L. monocytogenes use to breach the blood-brain barrier. Because host factors in the blood severely limit direct invasion of human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMECs) by L. monocytogenes, alternative mechanisms m...

  19. The Human Brain Project: social and ethical challenges.

    PubMed

    Rose, Nikolas

    2014-06-18

    Focusing on the Human Brain Project, I discuss some social and ethical challenges raised by such programs of research: the possibility of a unified knowledge of "the brain," balancing privacy and the public good, dilemmas of "dual use," brain-computer interfaces, and "responsible research and innovation" in governance of emerging technologies.

  20. Dynamic analysis of the human brain with complex cerebral sulci.

    PubMed

    Tseng, Jung-Ge; Huang, Bo-Wun; Ou, Yi-Wen; Yen, Ke-Tien; Wu, Yi-Te

    2016-07-03

    The brain is one of the most vulnerable organs inside the human body. Head accidents often appear in daily life and are easy to cause different level of brain damage inside the skull. Once the brain suffered intense locomotive impact, external injuries, falls, or other accidents, it will result in different degrees of concussion. This study employs finite element analysis to compare the dynamic characteristics between the geometric models of an assumed simple brain tissue and a brain tissue with complex cerebral sulci. It is aimed to understand the free vibration of the internal brain tissue and then to protect the brain from injury caused by external influences. Reverse engineering method is used for a Classic 5-Part Brain (C18) model produced by 3B Scientific Corporation. 3D optical scanner is employed to scan the human brain structure model with complex cerebral sulci and imported into 3D graphics software to construct a solid brain model to simulate the real complex brain tissue. Obtaining the normal mode analysis by inputting the material properties of the true human brain into finite element analysis software, and then to compare the simplified and the complex of brain models.

  1. Insights into human evolution from ancient and contemporary microbiome studies

    PubMed Central

    Schnorr, Stephanie L; Sankaranarayanan, Krithivasan; Lewis, Cecil M; Warinner, Christina

    2017-01-01

    Over the past decade, human microbiome research has energized the study of human evolution through a complete shift in our understanding of what it means to be human. The microbiome plays a pivotal role in human biology, performing key functions in digestion, mood and behavior, development and immunity, and a range of acute and chronic diseases. It is therefore critical to understand its evolution and changing ecology through time. Here we review recent findings on the microbiota of diverse human populations, non-human primates, and past human populations and discuss the implications of this research in formulating a deeper evolutionary understanding of the human holobiont. PMID:27507098

  2. "Mitochondrial Eve", "Y Chromosome Adam", testosterone, and human evolution.

    PubMed

    Howard, James Michael

    2002-01-01

    I suggest primate evolution began as a consequence of increased testosterone in males which increased aggression and sexuality, therefore, reproduction and success. With time, negative effects of excessive testosterone reduced spermatogenesis and started a decline of the group. Approximately 30-40 million years ago, the gene DAZ (Deleted in AZoospermia) appeared on the Y chromosome, increased spermatogenesis, and rescued the early primates from extinction. (Note: DAZ is considered by some to specifically, positively affect spermatogenesis; others suggest it has no effect on spermatogenesis.) Hominid evolution continued with increasing testosterone. The advent of increased testosterone in females of Homo erectus (or Homo ergaster) increased the female-to-male body size ratio, and eventually produced another era of excessive testosterone. Excessive testosterone caused a reduction in population size (bottleneck) that produced the "Mitochondrial Eve" (ME) mechanism. (Only certain females continued during the bottleneck to transmit their mitochondrial DNA.) That is, the ME mechanism culminated, again, in excessive testosterone and reduced spermatogenesis in the hominid line. Approximately 50,000 to 200,000 years ago, a "doubling" of the DAZ gene occurred on the Y chromosome in hominid males which rescued the hominid line with increased spermatogenesis in certain males. This produced the "Y Chromosome Adam" event. The doubling of DAZ allowed further increases in testosterone in hominids that resulted in the increased size and development of the brain. Modern humans periodically fluctuate between the positive and negative consequences of increased levels of testosterone, currently identifiable as the secular trend, increased infections, and reduced spermatogenesis.

  3. The human brain produces fructose from glucose

    PubMed Central

    Hwang, Janice J.; Jiang, Lihong; Hamza, Muhammad; Dai, Feng; Cline, Gary; Rothman, Douglas L.; Mason, Graeme; Sherwin, Robert S.

    2017-01-01

    Fructose has been implicated in the pathogenesis of obesity and type 2 diabetes. In contrast to glucose, CNS delivery of fructose in rodents promotes feeding behavior. However, because circulating plasma fructose levels are exceedingly low, it remains unclear to what extent fructose crosses the blood-brain barrier to exert CNS effects. To determine whether fructose can be endogenously generated from glucose via the polyol pathway (glucose → sorbitol → fructose) in human brain, 8 healthy subjects (4 women/4 men; age, 28.8 ± 6.2 years; BMI, 23.4 ± 2.6; HbA1C, 4.9% ± 0.2%) underwent 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy scanning to measure intracerebral glucose and fructose levels during a 4-hour hyperglycemic clamp (plasma glucose, 220 mg/dl). Using mixed-effects regression model analysis, intracerebral glucose rose significantly over time and differed from baseline at 20 to 230 minutes. Intracerebral fructose levels also rose over time, differing from baseline at 30 to 230 minutes. The changes in intracerebral fructose were related to changes in intracerebral glucose but not to plasma fructose levels. Our findings suggest that the polyol pathway contributes to endogenous CNS production of fructose and that the effects of fructose in the CNS may extend beyond its direct dietary consumption. PMID:28239653

  4. Spread of epileptic activity in human brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Milton, John

    1997-03-01

    For many patients with medically refractory epilepsy surgical resection of the site of seizure onset (epileptic focus) offers the best hope for cure. Determination of the nature of seizure propagation should lead to improved methods for locating the epileptic focus (and hence reduce patient morbidity) and possibly to new treatment modalities directed at blocking seizure spread. Theoretical studies of neural networks emphasize the role of traveling waves for the propagation of activity. However, the nature of seizure propagation in human brain remains poorly characterized. The spread of epileptic activity in patients undergoing presurgical evaluation for epilepsy surgery was measured by placing subdural grids of electrodes (interelectrode spacings of 3-10 mm) over the frontal and temporal lobes. The exact location of each electrode relative to the surface of the brain was determined using 3--D MRI imaging techniques. Thus it is possible to monitor the spread of epileptic activity in both space and time. The observations are discussed in light of models for seizure propagation.

  5. Area Prostriata in the Human Brain.

    PubMed

    Mikellidou, Kyriaki; Kurzawski, Jan W; Frijia, Francesca; Montanaro, Domenico; Greco, Vincenzo; Burr, David C; Morrone, Maria Concetta

    2017-10-09

    Area prostriata is a cortical area at the fundus of the calcarine sulcus, described anatomically in humans [1-5] and other primates [6-9]. It is lightly myelinated and lacks the clearly defined six-layer structure evident throughout the cerebral cortex, with a thinner layer 4 and thicker layer 2 [10], characteristic of limbic cortex [11]. In the marmoset and rhesus monkey, area prostriata has cortical connections with MT+ [12], the cingulate motor cortex [8], the auditory cortex [13], the orbitofrontal cortex, and the frontal polar cortices [14]. Here we use functional magnetic resonance together with a wide-field projection system to study its functional properties in humans. With population receptive field mapping [15], we show that area prostriata has a complete representation of the visual field, clearly distinct from the adjacent area V1. As in the marmoset, the caudal-dorsal border of human prostriata-abutting V1-represents the far peripheral visual field, with eccentricities decreasing toward its rostral boundary. Area prostriata responds strongly to very fast motion, greater than 500°/s. The functional properties of area prostriata suggest that it may serve to alert the brain quickly to fast visual events, particularly in the peripheral visual field. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. mRNA Transcriptomics of Galectins Unveils Heterogeneous Organization in Mouse and Human Brain

    PubMed Central

    John, Sebastian; Mishra, Rashmi

    2016-01-01

    Background: Galectins, a family of non-classically secreted, β-galactoside binding proteins is involved in several brain disorders; however, no systematic knowledge on the normal neuroanatomical distribution and functions of galectins exits. Hence, the major purpose of this study was to understand spatial distribution and predict functions of galectins in brain and also compare the degree of conservation vs. divergence between mouse and human species. The latter objective was required to determine the relevance and appropriateness of studying galectins in mouse brain which may ultimately enable us to extrapolate the findings to human brain physiology and pathologies. Results: In order to fill this crucial gap in our understanding of brain galectins, we analyzed the in situ hybridization and microarray data of adult mouse and human brain respectively, from the Allen Brain Atlas, to resolve each galectin-subtype’s spatial distribution across brain distinct cytoarchitecture. Next, transcription factors (TFs) that may regulate galectins were identified using TRANSFAC software and the list obtained was further curated to sort TFs on their confirmed transcript expression in the adult brain. Galectin-TF cluster analysis, gene-ontology annotations and co-expression networks were then extrapolated to predict distinct functional relevance of each galectin in the neuronal processes. Data shows that galectins have highly heterogeneous expression within and across brain sub-structures and are predicted to be the crucial targets of brain enriched TFs. Lgals9 had maximal spatial distribution across mouse brain with inferred predominant roles in neurogenesis while LGALS1 was ubiquitously expressed in human. Limbic region associated with learning, memory and emotions and substantia nigra associated with motor movements showed strikingly high expression of LGALS1 and LGALS8 in human vs. mouse brain. The overall expression profile of galectin-8 was most preserved across both these

  7. mRNA Transcriptomics of Galectins Unveils Heterogeneous Organization in Mouse and Human Brain.

    PubMed

    John, Sebastian; Mishra, Rashmi

    2016-01-01

    Background: Galectins, a family of non-classically secreted, β-galactoside binding proteins is involved in several brain disorders; however, no systematic knowledge on the normal neuroanatomical distribution and functions of galectins exits. Hence, the major purpose of this study was to understand spatial distribution and predict functions of galectins in brain and also compare the degree of conservation vs. divergence between mouse and human species. The latter objective was required to determine the relevance and appropriateness of studying galectins in mouse brain which may ultimately enable us to extrapolate the findings to human brain physiology and pathologies. Results: In order to fill this crucial gap in our understanding of brain galectins, we analyzed the in situ hybridization and microarray data of adult mouse and human brain respectively, from the Allen Brain Atlas, to resolve each galectin-subtype's spatial distribution across brain distinct cytoarchitecture. Next, transcription factors (TFs) that may regulate galectins were identified using TRANSFAC software and the list obtained was further curated to sort TFs on their confirmed transcript expression in the adult brain. Galectin-TF cluster analysis, gene-ontology annotations and co-expression networks were then extrapolated to predict distinct functional relevance of each galectin in the neuronal processes. Data shows that galectins have highly heterogeneous expression within and across brain sub-structures and are predicted to be the crucial targets of brain enriched TFs. Lgals9 had maximal spatial distribution across mouse brain with inferred predominant roles in neurogenesis while LGALS1 was ubiquitously expressed in human. Limbic region associated with learning, memory and emotions and substantia nigra associated with motor movements showed strikingly high expression of LGALS1 and LGALS8 in human vs. mouse brain. The overall expression profile of galectin-8 was most preserved across both these

  8. Differential developmental trajectories of magnetic susceptibility in human brain gray and white matter over the lifespan.

    PubMed

    Li, Wei; Wu, Bing; Batrachenko, Anastasia; Bancroft-Wu, Vivian; Morey, Rajendra A; Shashi, Vandana; Langkammer, Christian; De Bellis, Michael D; Ropele, Stefan; Song, Allen W; Liu, Chunlei

    2014-06-01

    As indicated by several recent studies, magnetic susceptibility of the brain is influenced mainly by myelin in the white matter and by iron deposits in the deep nuclei. Myelination and iron deposition in the brain evolve both spatially and temporally. This evolution reflects an important characteristic of normal brain development and ageing. In this study, we assessed the changes of regional susceptibility in the human brain in vivo by examining the developmental and ageing process from 1 to 83 years of age. The evolution of magnetic susceptibility over this lifespan was found to display differential trajectories between the gray and the white matter. In both cortical and subcortical white matter, an initial decrease followed by a subsequent increase in magnetic susceptibility was observed, which could be fitted by a Poisson curve. In the gray matter, including the cortical gray matter and the iron-rich deep nuclei, magnetic susceptibility displayed a monotonic increase that can be described by an exponential growth. The rate of change varied according to functional and anatomical regions of the brain. For the brain nuclei, the age-related changes of susceptibility were in good agreement with the findings from R2* measurement. Our results suggest that magnetic susceptibility may provide valuable information regarding the spatial and temporal patterns of brain myelination and iron deposition during brain maturation and ageing. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  9. Diffusion tensor spectroscopy (DTS) of human brain.

    PubMed

    Ellegood, Jacob; Hanstock, Chris C; Beaulieu, Christian

    2006-01-01

    The diffusion tensor of N-acetyl aspartate (NAA), creatine and phosphocreatine (tCr), and choline (Cho) was measured at 3T using a diffusion weighted STEAM (1)H-MRS sequence in the healthy human brain in 6 distinct regions (4 white matter and 2 cortical gray matter). The Trace/3 apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) of each metabolite was significantly greater in white matter than gray matter. The Trace/3 ADC values of tCr and Cho were found to be significantly greater than NAA in white matter, whereas all 3 metabolites had similar Trace/3 ADC in cortical gray matter. Fractional anisotropy (FA) values for all 3 metabolites were consistent with water FA values in the 4 white matter regions; however, metabolite FA values were found to be higher than expected in the cortical gray matter. The principal diffusion direction derived for NAA was in good agreement with expected anatomic tract directions in the white matter.

  10. Cristobalite and Hematite Particles in Human Brain.

    PubMed

    Kopani, Martin; Kopaniova, A; Trnka, M; Caplovicova, M; Rychly, B; Jakubovsky, J

    2016-11-01

    Foreign substances get into the internal environment of living bodies and accumulate in various organs. Cristobalite and hematite particles in the glial cells of pons cerebri of human brain with diagnosis of Behhet disease with scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive microanalysis (EDX), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) with diffraction were identified. SEM with EDX revealed the matter of irregular micrometer-sized particles sometimes forming polyhedrons with fibrilar or stratified structure. It was found in some particles Ti, Fe, and Zn. Some particles contained Cu. TEM and electron diffraction showed particles of cristobalite and hematite. The presence of the particles can be a result of environmental effect, disruption of normal metabolism, and transformation of physiologically iron-ferrihydrite into more stable form-hematite. From the size of particles can be drawn the long-term accumulation of elements in glial cells.

  11. Cerebral Organoids Recapitulate Epigenomic Signatures of the Human Fetal Brain

    PubMed Central

    Luo, Chongyuan; Lancaster, Madeline A.; Castanon, Rosa; Nery, Joseph R.; Knoblich, Juergen A.; Ecker, Joseph R.

    2017-01-01

    Summary Organoids derived from human pluripotent stem cells recapitulate the early three-dimensional organization of the human brain, but whether they establish the epigenomic and transcriptional programs essential for brain development is unknown. We compared epigenomic and regulatory features in cerebral organoids and human fetal brain, using genome-wide, base resolution DNA methylome and transcriptome sequencing. Transcriptomic dynamics in organoids faithfully modeled gene expression trajectories in early-to-mid human fetal brains. We found that early non-CG methylation accumulation at super-enhancers in both fetal brain and organoids marks forthcoming transcriptional repression in the fully developed brain. Demethylated regions (74% of 35,627) identified during organoid differentiation overlapped with fetal brain regulatory elements. Interestingly, pericentromeric repeats showed widespread demethylation in multiple types of in vitro human neural differentiation models but not in fetal brain. Our study reveals that organoids recapitulate many epigenomic features of mid-fetal human brain and also identified novel non-CG methylation signatures of brain development. PMID:28009303

  12. Understanding the Evolution of Mammalian Brain Structures; the Need for a (New) Cerebrotype Approach

    PubMed Central

    Willemet, Romain

    2012-01-01

    The mammalian brain varies in size by a factor of 100,000 and is composed of anatomically and functionally distinct structures. Theoretically, the manner in which brain composition can evolve is limited, ranging from highly modular (“mosaic evolution”) to coordinated changes in brain structure size (“concerted evolution”) or anything between these two extremes. There is a debate about the relative importance of these distinct evolutionary trends. It is shown here that the presence of taxa-specific allometric relationships between brain structures makes a taxa-specific approach obligatory. In some taxa, the evolution of the size of brain structures follows a unique, coordinated pattern, which, in addition to other characteristics at different anatomical levels, defines what has been called here a “taxon cerebrotype”. In other taxa, no clear pattern is found, reflecting heterogeneity of the species’ lifestyles. These results suggest that the evolution of brain size and composition depends on the complex interplay between selection pressures and constraints that have changed constantly during mammalian evolution. Therefore the variability in brain composition between species should not be considered as deviations from the normal, concerted mammalian trend, but in taxa and species-specific versions of the mammalian brain. Because it forms homogenous groups of species within this complex “space” of constraints and selection pressures, the cerebrotype approach developed here could constitute an adequate level of analysis for evo-devo studies, and by extension, for a wide range of disciplines related to brain evolution. PMID:24962772

  13. Fire, Lava Flows, and Human Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Medler, M. J.

    2015-12-01

    Richard Wrangham and others argue that cooked food has been obligate for our ancestors since the time of Homo erectus. This hypothesis provides a particularly compelling explanation for the smaller mouths and teeth, shorter intestines, and larger brains that separate us from other hominins. However, natural ignitions are infrequent and it is unclear how earlier hominins may have adapted to cooked food and fire before they developed the necessary intelligence to make or control fire. To address this conundrum, we present cartographical evidence that the massive and long lasting lava flows in the African Rift could have provided our ancestors with episodic access to heat and fire as the front edges of these flows formed ephemeral pockets of heat and ignition and other geothermal features. For the last several million years major lava flows have been infilling the African Rift. After major eruptions there were likely more slowly advancing lava fronts creating small areas with very specific adaptive pressures and opportunities for small isolated groups of hominins. Some of these episodes of isolation may have extended for millennia allowing these groups of early hominins to develop the adaptations Wrangham links to fire and cooked food. To examine the potential veracity of this proposal, we developed a series of maps that overlay the locations of prominent hominin dig sites with contemporaneous lava flows. These maps indicate that many important developments in hominin evolution were occurring in rough spatial and temporal proximity to active lava flows. These maps indicate it is worth considering that over the last several million years small isolated populations of hominins may have experienced unique adaptive conditions while living near the front edges of these slowly advancing lava flows.

  14. Moment-to-moment brain signal variability: A next frontier in human brain mapping?

    PubMed Central

    Garrett, Douglas D.; Samanez-Larkin, Gregory R.; MacDonald, Stuart W.S.; Lindenberger, Ulman; McIntosh, Anthony R.; Grady, Cheryl L.

    2013-01-01

    Neuroscientists have long observed that brain activity is naturally variable from moment-to-moment, but neuroimaging research has largely ignored the potential importance of this phenomenon. An emerging research focus on within-person brain signal variability is providing novel insights, and offering highly predictive, complementary, and even orthogonal views of brain function in relation to human life-span development, cognitive performance, and various clinical conditions. As a result, brain signal variability is evolving as a bona fide signal of interest, and should no longer be dismissed as meaningless noise when mapping the human brain. PMID:23458776

  15. [Human brain resource--experience at the Brain Research Institute,University of Niigata].

    PubMed

    Kakita, Akiyoshi; Takahashi, Hitoshi

    2010-10-01

    Through 40 years of neuropathological practice,the Brain Research Institute, University of Niigata (BRI-Niigata), Japan has accumulated extensive human brain resource,including fresh-frozen brain slices,for scientific research. Over 30,000 slices obtained from consecutive autopsies have been systematically stored in 25 deep freezers. Establishment of effective networks between brain banks and institutional collections in Japan is essential for promoting scientific activities that require human brain resource. We at the BRI-Niigata are eager to contribute to the establishment of such networks.

  16. Moment-to-moment brain signal variability: a next frontier in human brain mapping?

    PubMed

    Garrett, Douglas D; Samanez-Larkin, Gregory R; MacDonald, Stuart W S; Lindenberger, Ulman; McIntosh, Anthony R; Grady, Cheryl L

    2013-05-01

    Neuroscientists have long observed that brain activity is naturally variable from moment-to-moment, but neuroimaging research has largely ignored the potential importance of this phenomenon. An emerging research focus on within-person brain signal variability is providing novel insights, and offering highly predictive, complementary, and even orthogonal views of brain function in relation to human lifespan development, cognitive performance, and various clinical conditions. As a result, brain signal variability is evolving as a bona fide signal of interest, and should no longer be dismissed as meaningless noise when mapping the human brain.

  17. Human effects on estuarine shoreline decadal evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rilo, A.; Freire, P.; Ceia, R.; Mendes, R. N.; Catalão, J.; Taborda, R.

    2012-04-01

    Due to their sheltered conditions and natural resources, estuaries were always attractive to human activities (industrial, agriculture, residential and recreation). Consequently, the complex interactions between anthropogenic and natural drivers increase estuarine shoreline vulnerability to climate changes impacts. The environmental sustainability of these systems depends on a fragile balance between societal development and natural values that can be further disturbed by climate change effects. This challenging task for scientific community, managers and stakeholders can only be accomplished with interdisplinary approaches. In this context, it seems clear that estuarine management plans should incorporate the concept of change into the planning of policy decisions since these natural dynamic areas are often under human pressure and are recognized as sensitive to climate change effects. Therefore, the knowledge about historical evolution of estuarine shoreline is important to provide new insights on the spatial and temporal dimensions of estuarine change. This paper aims to present and discuss shoreline changes due to human intervention in Tagus estuary, located on the west coast of Portugal. Detailed margins cartography, in a 550m fringe (drawn inland from the highest astronomical tide line), was performed based on 2007 orthophotos (spatial resolution of 0.5 m) analysis. Several classification categories were considered, as urbanized areas, industrial, port and airport facilities, agriculture spaces, green areas and natural zones. The estuarine bed (area bellow the highest astronomical tide line) was also mapped (including human occupation, natural habitats, morpho-sedimentary units) based on the geographic information above and LANSAT 7 TM+ images using image processing techniques. Aerial photographs dated from 1944, 1946, 1948, 1955 and 1958 were analyzed for a set of pilot zones in order to fully understand the decadal shoreline change. Estuarine bed presents

  18. Brain to music to brain!

    PubMed

    Azizi, S Ausim

    2009-07-31

    It has been implicitly understood that culture and music as collective products of human brain in turn influence the brain itself. Now, imaging and anatomical data add substance to this notion. The impact of playing piano on the brain of musicians and its possible effects on cultural and neurological evolution are briefly discussed.

  19. Broca's region: linking human brain functional connectivity data and non-human primate tracing anatomy studies.

    PubMed

    Kelly, Clare; Uddin, Lucina Q; Shehzad, Zarrar; Margulies, Daniel S; Castellanos, F Xavier; Milham, Michael P; Petrides, Michael

    2010-08-01

    Brodmann areas 6, 44 and 45 in the ventrolateral frontal cortex of the left hemisphere of the human brain constitute the anterior language production zone. The anatomical connectivity of these areas with parietal and temporal cortical regions was recently examined in an autoradiographic tract-tracing study in the macaque monkey. Studies suggest strong correspondence between human resting state functional connectivity (RSFC) based on functional magnetic resonance imaging data and experimentally demonstrated anatomical connections in non-human primates. Accordingly, we hypothesized that areas 6, 44 and 45 of the human brain would exhibit patterns of RSFC consistent with patterns of anatomical connectivity observed in the macaque. In a primary analysis, we examined the RSFC associated with regions-of-interest placed in ventrolateral frontal areas 6, 44 and 45, on the basis of local sulcal and gyral anatomy. We validated the results of the primary hypothesis-driven analysis with a data-driven partitioning of ventrolateral frontal cortex into regions exhibiting distinct RSFC patterns, using a spectral clustering algorithm. The RSFC of ventrolateral frontal areas 6, 44 and 45 was consistent with patterns of anatomical connectivity shown in the macaque. We observed a striking dissociation between RSFC for the ventral part of area 6 that is involved in orofacial motor control and RSFC associated with Broca's region (areas 44 and 45). These findings indicate rich and differential RSFC patterns for the ventrolateral frontal areas controlling language production, consistent with known anatomical connectivity in the macaque brain, and suggest conservation of connectivity during the evolution of the primate brain.

  20. Neurodevelopmental LincRNA Microsyteny Conservation and Mammalian Brain Size Evolution.

    PubMed

    Lewitus, Eric; Huttner, Wieland B

    2015-01-01

    The mammalian neocortex has undergone repeated selection for increases and decreases in size and complexity, often over relatively short evolutionary time. But because probing developmental mechanisms across many species is experimentally unfeasible, it is unknown whether convergent morphologies in distantly related species are regulated by conserved developmental programs. In this work, we have taken advantage of the abundance of available mammalian genomes to find evidence of selection on genomic regions putatively regulating neurogenesis in large- versus small-brained species. Using published fetal human RNA-seq data, we show that the gene-neighborhood (i.e., microsynteny) of long intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) implicated in cortical development is differentially conserved in large-brained species, lending support to the hypothesis that lincRNAs regulating neurogenesis are selectively lost in small-brained species. We provide evidence that this is not a phenomenon attributable to lincRNA expressed in all tissue types and is therefore likely to represent an adaptive function in the evolution of neurogenesis. A strong correlation between transcription factor-adjacency and lincRNA sequence conservation reinforces this conclusion.

  1. Significance of epigenetics for understanding brain development, brain evolution and behaviour.

    PubMed

    Keverne, E B

    2014-04-04

    Two major environmental developments have occurred in mammalian evolution which have impacted on the genetic and epigenetic regulation of brain development. The first of these was viviparity and development of the placenta which placed a considerable burden of time and energy investment on the matriline, and which resulted in essential hypothalamic modifications. Maternal feeding, maternal care, parturition, milk letdown and the suspension of fertility and sexual behaviour are all determined by the maternal hypothalamus and have evolved to meet foetal needs under the influence of placental hormones. Viviparity itself provided a new environmental variable for selection pressures to operate via the co-existence over three generations of matrilineal genomes (mother, developing offspring and developing oocytes) in one individual. Also of importance for the matriline has been the evolution of epigenetic marks (imprint control regions) which are heritable and undergo reprogramming primarily in the oocyte to regulate imprinted gene expression according to parent of origin. Imprinting of autosomal genes has played a significant role in mammalian evolutionary development, particularly that of the hypothalamus and placenta. Indeed, many imprinted genes that are co-expressed in the placenta and hypothalamus play an important role in the co-adapted functioning of these organs. Thus the action and interaction of two genomes (maternal and foetal) have provided a template for transgenerational selection pressures to operate in shaping the mothering capabilities of each subsequent generation. The advanced aspects of neocortical brain evolution in primates have emancipated much of behaviour from the determining effects of hormonal action. Thus in large brain primates, most of the sexual behaviour is not reproductive hormone dependent and maternal care can and does occur outside the context of pregnancy and parturition. The neocortex has evolved to be adaptable and while the adapted

  2. The effect of brain size evolution on feeding propensity, digestive efficiency, and juvenile growth.

    PubMed

    Kotrschal, Alexander; Corral-Lopez, Alberto; Szidat, Sönke; Kolm, Niclas

    2015-11-01

    One key hypothesis in the study of brain size evolution is the expensive tissue hypothesis; the idea that increased investment into the brain should be compensated by decreased investment into other costly organs, for instance the gut. Although the hypothesis is supported by both comparative and experimental evidence, little is known about the potential changes in energetic requirements or digestive traits following such evolutionary shifts in brain and gut size. Organisms may meet the greater metabolic requirements of larger brains despite smaller guts via increased food intake or better digestion. But increased investment in the brain may also hamper somatic growth. To test these hypotheses we here used guppy (Poecilia reticulata) brain size selection lines with a pronounced negative association between brain and gut size and investigated feeding propensity, digestive efficiency (DE), and juvenile growth rate. We did not find any difference in feeding propensity or DE between large- and small-brained individuals. Instead, we found that large-brained females had slower growth during the first 10 weeks after birth. Our study provides experimental support that investment into larger brains at the expense of gut tissue carries costs that are not necessarily compensated by a more efficient digestive system. © 2015 The Author(s). Evolution published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  3. Human brain glial cells synthesize thrombospondin.

    PubMed Central

    Asch, A S; Leung, L L; Shapiro, J; Nachman, R L

    1986-01-01

    Thrombospondin, a 450-kDa multinodular glycoprotein with lectin-type activity, is found in human platelets, endothelial cells, fibroblasts, smooth muscle cells, monocytes, and granular pneumocytes. Thrombospondin interacts with heparin, fibrinogen, fibronectin, collagen, histidine-rich glycoprotein, and plasminogen. Recently, thrombospondin synthesis by smooth muscle cells has been reported to be augmented by platelet-derived growth factor. We present evidence that thrombospondin is present within and synthesized by astrocytic neuroglial cells. Heparin-Sepharose affinity chromatography of material derived from a human brain homogenate yielded a protein that, when reduced, had an apparent size of 180 kDa and comigrated with reduced platelet thrombospondin on NaDodSO4/PAGE. Immunoblot analysis with monospecific anti-thrombospondin confirmed the presence of immunoreactive thrombospondin. Indirect immunofluorescence of cultured human glial cells indicated the presence of thrombospondin. Metabolic labeling of glial cell cultures with [35S]methionine followed by immunoprecipitation with monospecific anti-thrombospondin revealed synthesis of a 18