Neanderthals' Brains Evolved Differently Than Those of Modern Humans
Modern humans' brain stem cells are more accurate in how their chromosomes are distributed to the daughter cells
About one hundred amino acids, the building blocks of proteins in cells and tissues, changed in modern humans when their ancestors diverged from those of Neanderthals and Denisovans, their Asian relatives. This shift extended to practically all modern people. These alterations' biological relevance is mainly unknown.
However, three proteins that are essential in the distribution of chromosomes, the genetic information carriers, to the two daughter cells during cell division, underwent six of those amino acid alterations. In a new paper in Science Advances1, researchers first introduced the modern human variations in mice in order to examine the importance of these six modifications for neocortex development. Mice were used as a model for the contemporary human brain's development because they differed at only six amino acid sites from Neanderthals.
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