Diversity of microRNAs in human and chimpanzee brain

BPRC - 1. Diversity of microRNAs in human and chimpanzee brain

A comparison between genetic material of the human and chimpanzee brain.

Man and chimpanzee evolved from the same ancestor, an ape-like creature living in Africa approximately five million years ago. During evolution the differences between man and chimpanzee increased. One remarkable difference is the volume of the brain as man developed bigger brains. Many different man-like species appeared during evolution but all but one disappeared, the species we belong to: Homo sapiens sapiens. The DNA sequences of modern man and chimpanzee have 98.6% similarity.

Recently micro-RNA’s were discovered. These are very small RNA’s that people previously thought were non-functional. In fact these micro-RNA’s function as control elements and affect the activity of many genes. A recent study of micro-RNA’s in the brain of man and chimpanzee shows that within the species new variations emerge. Concluding evolution remains an ongoing process.

This study was performed in close collaboration with the Hubrecht Laboratory-KNAW, Utrecht, The Netherlands.