The researchers from the University of Otago have found more about the gene that separates the humans and the great apes, also known as primates, from the other mammals. Dr. Adam O’Neill executed the study as a part of his Ph.D. program. It was conducted under the supervision of Prof. Stephen Robertson, which has proven that PLEKHG6 gene is responsible for the development of the brain in a different pattern in the primates in comparison to other mammals. Dr. Adam O’Neill stated the gene can be considered as one of the factors that has transformed a portion of the primates into the human from the neurological aspect.
Prof. Stephen Robertson stated that the primary aim for this investigation was to find the fact that has made the brains of the human more complicated and better functioning than the other animals. He stated that the identification of the gene was a tough call as there are countless genes with multiple features. Therefore, the team executed the study on a group of children who are affected with a particular malformation of the brain called periventricular nodular heterotopia. The group found these children have a sabotaged genomic element. This had the features similar to that of the primate.
Prof. Stephen Robertson also mentioned that if any child has this condition, a set of neuron fails to take up the rightful position, resulting in multiple symptoms that include epilepsy and late development.
After the first milestone in the research was completed, the team of Dr. O’Neil collaborated with Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Germany to test the points that single the primates from other mammals. In the endeavor to single out the gene, the researchers have identified other interesting facts of the human brain. Prof Robertson mentioned that the stem cells responsible for the difference were known for a long time but the particular gene was unknown, which is now clear.