文章來源:未知 文章作者:meng 發布時間:2009-11-12 02:50 字體: [ ]  進入論壇

If humans are genetically3 related to chimps5(黑猩猩), why did our brains develop the innate6(天生的,固有的) ability for language and speech while theirs did not? Scientists suspect that part of the answer to the mystery lies in a gene1 called FOXP2. When mutated, FOXP2 can disrupt speech and language in humans. Now, a UCLA/Emory study reveals major differences between how the human and chimp4 versions of FOXP2 work, perhaps explaining why language is unique to humans.

Published Nov. 11 in the online edition of the journal Nature, the findings provide insight into the evolution of the human brain and may point to possible drug targets for human disorders7 characterized by speech disruption(分裂,破壞), such as autism(孤獨癥,自閉癥) and schizophrenia(精神分裂癥).

"Earlier research suggests that the amino-acid(胺酸) composition of human FOXP2 changed rapidly around the same time that language emerged in modern humans," said Dr. Daniel Geschwind, Gordon and Virginia MacDonald Distinguished8 Chair in Human Genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "Ours is the first study to examine the effect of these amino-acid substitutions(置換的) in FOXP2 in human cells.

"We showed that the human and chimp versions of FOXP2 not only look different but function differently too," said Geschwind, who is currently a visiting professor at the Institute of Psychiatry9 at King's College London. "Our findings may shed light on(照亮,闡明) why human brains are born with the circuitry for speech and language and chimp brains are not."

FOXP2 switches other genes10 on and off. Geschwind's lab scoured11 the genome to determine which genes are targeted by human FOXP2. The team used a combination of human cells, human tissue and post-mortem brain tissue from chimps that died of natural causes.

The chimp brain dissections were performed in the laboratory of coauthor Todd Preuss, associate research professor of neuroscience at Emory University's Yerkes National Primate12 Research Center.

The scientists focused on gene expression — the process by which a gene's DNA13 sequence is converted into cellular14 proteins.

To their surprise, the researchers discovered that the human and chimp forms of FOXP2 produce different effects on gene targets in the human cell lines.

"We found that a significant number of the newly identified targets are expressed differently in human and chimpanzee brains," Geschwind said. "This suggests that FOXP2 drives these genes to behave differently in the two species."

The research demonstrates that mutations believed to be important to FOXP2's evolution in humans change how the gene functions, resulting in different gene targets being switched on or off in human and chimp brains.

"Genetic2 changes between the human and chimp species hold the clues for how our brains developed their capacity for language," said first author Genevieve Konopka, a postdoctoral fellow in neurology(神經病學) at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "By pinpointing15 the genes influenced by FOXP2, we have identified a new set of tools for studying how human speech could be regulated at the molecular16 level."

The discovery will provide insight into the evolution of humans' ability to learn through the use of higher cognitive17 skills(小孩智育訓練), such as perception(認識,觀念), intuition(直覺) and reasoning.

"This study demonstrates how critical chimps and macaques(恒河猴) are for studying humans," noted18 Preuss. "They open a window into understanding how we evolved into who we are today."

Because speech problems are common to both autism and schizophrenia, the new molecular pathways will also shed light on how these disorders disturb the brain's ability to process language.


1 gene WgKxx     
  • A single gene may have many effects.單一基因可能具有很多種效應。
  • The targeting of gene therapy has been paid close attention.其中基因治療的靶向性是值得密切關注的問題之一。
2 genetic PgIxp     
  • It's very difficult to treat genetic diseases.遺傳性疾病治療起來很困難。
  • Each daughter cell can receive a full complement of the genetic information.每個子細胞可以收到遺傳信息的一個完全補償物。
3 genetically Lgixo     
  • All the bees in the colony are genetically related. 同一群體的蜜蜂都有親緣關系。
  • Genetically modified foods have already arrived on American dinner tables. 經基因改造加工過的食物已端上了美國人的餐桌。 來自英漢非文學 - 生命科學 - 基因與食物
4 chimp WXGza     
  • In fact,the color of gorilla and chimp are light-color.其實大猩猩和黑猩猩的膚色是較為淺的。
  • The chimp is the champ.猩猩是冠軍。
5 chimps 2a09048610e52de775e2fe426c063f06     
(非洲)黑猩猩( chimp的名詞復數 )
  • Chimps are too scarce, and too nearly human, to be routinely slaughtered for spare parts. 黑猩猩又太少,也太接近于人類,不可以作為人器官備用件說殺就殺。 來自英漢非文學 - 生命科學 - 醫學的第四次革命
  • And as nonprimates, they provoke fewer ethical and safety-related concerns than chimps or baboons. 而且作為非靈長類,就不會產生像用黑猩猩或狒狒那樣的倫理和安全方面的顧慮。 來自英漢非文學 - 生命科學 - 醫學的第四次革命
6 innate xbxzC     
  • You obviously have an innate talent for music.你顯然有天生的音樂才能。
  • Correct ideas are not innate in the mind.人的正確思想不是自己頭腦中固有的。
7 disorders 6e49dcafe3638183c823d3aa5b12b010     
n.混亂( disorder的名詞復數 );凌亂;騷亂;(身心、機能)失調
  • Reports of anorexia and other eating disorders are on the increase. 據報告,厭食癥和其他飲食方面的功能紊亂發生率正在不斷增長。 來自《簡明英漢詞典》
  • The announcement led to violent civil disorders. 這項宣布引起劇烈的騷亂。 來自《簡明英漢詞典》
8 distinguished wu9z3v     
  • Elephants are distinguished from other animals by their long noses.大象以其長長的鼻子顯示出與其他動物的不同。
  • A banquet was given in honor of the distinguished guests.宴會是為了向貴賓們致敬而舉行的。
9 psychiatry g0Jze     
  • The study appeared in the Amercian science Journal of Psychiatry.這個研究發表在美國精神病學的雜志上。
  • A physician is someone who specializes in psychiatry.精神病專家是專門從事精神病治療的人。
10 genes 01914f8eac35d7e14afa065217edd8c0     
n.基因( gene的名詞復數 )
  • You have good genes from your parents, so you should live a long time. 你從父母那兒獲得優良的基因,所以能夠活得很長。 來自《簡明英漢詞典》
  • Differences will help to reveal the functions of the genes. 它們間的差異將會幫助我們揭開基因多種功能。 來自英漢非文學 - 生命科學 - 生物技術的世紀
11 scoured ed55d3b2cb4a5db1e4eb0ed55b922516     
走遍(某地)搜尋(人或物)( scour的過去式和過去分詞 ); (用力)刷; 擦凈; 擦亮
  • We scoured the area for somewhere to pitch our tent. 我們四處查看,想找一個搭帳篷的地方。
  • The torrents scoured out a channel down the hill side. 急流沿著山腰沖刷出一條水溝。
12 primate A1YzI     
  • 14 percent of primate species are highly endangered.14%的靈長類物種處于高度瀕危狀態。
  • The woolly spider monkey is the largest primate in the Americas.絨毛蛛猴是美洲最大的靈長類動物。
13 DNA 4u3z1l     
(縮)deoxyribonucleic acid 脫氧核糖核酸
  • DNA is stored in the nucleus of a cell.脫氧核糖核酸儲存于細胞的細胞核里。
  • Gene mutations are alterations in the DNA code.基因突變是指DNA密碼的改變。
14 cellular aU1yo     
  • She has a cellular telephone in her car.她的汽車里有一部無線通訊電話機。
  • Many people use cellular materials as sensitive elements in hygrometers.很多人用蜂窩狀的材料作為測量溫度的傳感元件。
15 pinpointing 0feaf9de6fb06f40e50c160d8a3f811c     
準確地找出或描述( pinpoint的現在分詞 ); 為…準確定位
  • The difficulty of pinpointing primitive and derived characters remains. 要正確地指出原始性狀和次生性狀仍然感到困難。
  • Pinpointing the true source of power in Japan is a notoriously slippery task. 要準確指出日本真正的權力來源,是一項非常困難的任務。
16 molecular mE9xh     
  • The research will provide direct insight into molecular mechanisms.這項研究將使人能夠直接地了解分子的機理。
  • For the pressure to become zero, molecular bombardment must cease.當壓強趨近于零時,分子的碰撞就停止了。
17 cognitive Uqwz0     
  • As children grow older,their cognitive processes become sharper.孩子們越長越大,他們的認知過程變得更為敏銳。
  • The cognitive psychologist is like the tinker who wants to know how a clock works.認知心理學者倒很像一個需要通曉鐘表如何運轉的鐘表修理匠。
18 noted 5n4zXc     
  • The local hotel is noted for its good table.當地的那家酒店以餐食精美而著稱。
  • Jim is noted for arriving late for work.吉姆上班遲到出了名。
TAG標簽: brain language chimp
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