I, for one, welcome our new uplifted rodent overlords

The Gene That Made Us Human:

Bruce Lahn, a biomedical researcher at the University of Chicago, has found the first clear indication of the genetic changes that led to the rapid expansion of our brain.

Lahn found that the ASPM gene in humans has undergone 15 important mutations since we last shared a common ancestor with chimpanzees, about 5 million years ago. [...] It seems to control how many times cells in the cerebral cortex can divide, which controls how much space there is for neurons. A variant of the gene that allowed additional cell divisions, Lahn surmises, gave some hominids the additional neural infrastructure that eventually let them develop abstract reasoning and language skills.

In future experiments, Lahn will insert the human ASPM gene into mice to see what affect it has on brain development.

Flowers for Algernon!
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8 Responses:

  1. ronbar says:

    Reminds me of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Humans thought dolphins were the smartest creatures on Earth, but they were actually only the second smartest. The smartest creatures on the planet were actually extra-dimensional creatures that were constantly doing scientific experiments on the humans by running around in mazes, pulling levers, and eating cheese set out in traps to see how the humans would react. It was quite amusing that the hairless apes thought they were the ones running the experiments. After all, the apes still thought digital watches were a pretty neat idea.

    • wsxyz says:

      After all, the apes still thought digital watches were a pretty neat idea.

      It seems we've evolved past that stage and are running neck and neck with the dolphins now.
      Thank you, Swatch, for saving our species!

  2. 33mhz says:

    Pinky! Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

  3. wsxyz says:

    Sounds great!

    After being forced to watch The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe about a million times in elementary school, I always wanted to meet a talking beaver.

  4. Poor Algernon must be spinning in his shallow grave somewhere out there in the Daniel Keyes' universe.

  5. spike says:

    Every time I saw purportedly "smart guy" Cliff Robertson shilling for AT&T in a TV commercial, all I could think about was Charly.

  6. ysabel says:

    'Flowers' is exactly what I was thinking as I was reading this.

    GOMH.

  7. merovingian says:

    Has NIMH made any statements yet?