Thursday, March 7, 2013

Epigenetics Potluck

A study done by at doctor at the UNiversity of Massachusetts, shows that in humans, there small regions of the genome that are regulated in our neurons, that do not exist in other primates. Because the regulation is of human neurons, it is believed to account for much of our intellect and brain function. Aside from its function of increasing the ability of the human brain, it can also account for some diseases that occur only in humans such as Alzheimer's. The study focused on the specifics rather than the whole ( or as they called it the 'font' not the 'letters') of the DNA code which allowed them to observe if a gene was one that was present with a function or not in humans versus primates. The differences between whether the existing genomes were functioning or not, or their regulatory state, accounts for many difference between humans and primates and this this case, intellect. By mapping the epigenetics rather than sequencing genes, more discoveries can be made that are not as obvious because while genes may look the same, their function is what truly makes the difference.

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