Posts Tagged ‘Michael Gazzaniga’

My ‘HUMAN’ brain

A reconstruction of Australopithecus afarensis

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Having a great time reading Michael Gazzaniga‘s new book, “Human – the science behind what makes us unique” and thought I’d see to what extent his conclusions might square with genetic data on population history and natural selection etc. and also evaluate my 23andMe profile to see to what extent I’m carrying the latest greatest derived alleles (more human-ish) or the older clunkier ancestral alleles.

I’ll try and keep updating this post as I work my way through the book. Here goes:

Chapter 1: Are human brains unique ?
Big Brains and Big Ideas ? (p.10) – In this section discussing how brain size may or may not relate to function and specialization of function, there are a number of genetic factors which have been linked to brain development and natural selection. Most well reported [doi: 10.1126/science.1116815] are the A44871G and C45126A variations in the ASPM gene. My 23andMe profile shows a GG and CA at these sites (rs964201 and rs3762271 respectively). Apparently, the G-allele (rs964201) and the A-allele (rs3762271) are derived, so I’m feeling very unique having scored 3/4 in this first query!

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