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Evolving a bigger brain with human DNA

Crucial DNA difference between humans and chimps boosts brain size in mice

Mouse Embryo
The human version of a called HARE5 turns on a gene important for (gene activity is stained blue), and causes a mouse embryo to grow a 12 percent larger brain by the end of pregnancy than an embryo injected with the chimpanzee version of HARE5.
Credit: Silver lab,


The work was supported by a research incubator grant from the , the (R01NS083897), and National Science Foundation (HOMIND BCS-08-27552).

CITATION: “Human-Chimpanzee Differences in a FZD8 Enhancer Alter Cell-Cycle Dynamics in the Developing Neocortex,” , Stephanie L. Skove, Jeremy Rouanet, Louis-Jan Pilaz, Tristan Bepler, Raluca Gordan, Gregory A. Wray, Debra L. Silver. Current Biology, February 19, 2015. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.01.041.

Duke University