Turns out that our DNA went full retarded about 3.5 million years ago and we ended up gaining the power of intelligence. According to researchers, when any cell divides, it first copies its entire genome. While the genome is being copied, the process often times causes errors that are later on fixed in the DNA reproduction, however, if the errors don’t get fixed they become permanent changes – we call them Mutations – sometimes these changes can hurt us, other times they can greatly help us out.
The researchers intentionally caused this “error” on small lab mice, and it caused their brains to move into place faster and helped their brain create more connections – which means they become “smarter”.
According to the researchers, the error is in the duplication of genomes, when a genome is copied twice, it increases our brain functions. They found that many of the duplicates in the human body play an important role in the developing brain.
“There are approximately 30 genes that were selectively duplicated in humans,” study researcher Franck Polleux, of The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., said in a statement “These are some of our most recent genomic innovations.” An extra copy of a gene gives evolution something to work with: Like modeling clay, this gene isn’t essential like the original copy, so changes can be made to it without damaging the resulting organism.
According to them, this is where we differentiate from our primates, I’m sure there are other things involved but intelligence is the most noticeable one, and our DNA “Fails” may hold all the secrets.
“We may have been looking at the wrong types of mutations to explain human and great ape differences,” study researcher Evan Eichler, of the University of Washington, said in a statement. “These episodic and large duplication events could have allowed for radical — potentially Earth-shattering — changes in brain development and brain function.” [Live Science]