People’s Big Brain Genes May Come From ‘Junk DNA’

People’s Big Brain Genes May Come From ‘Junk DNA’

People’s Big Brain Genes May Come From ‘Junk DNA’

Scientists once considered much of the human genome to be “junk” because large parts of its genetic code don’t make proteins, the complex molecules tasked with keeping cells running. In the meantime, however, it has been discovered that this so-called garbage DNS plays an important role in cells, and in a new study, researchers report that humans may actually have junk DNA to thank for our extraordinarily large brains.

The research, published Monday (January 2) in the journal Natural Ecology & Evolution (opens in new tab)suggests that the genes that made it possible human brains to grow large lobes, and complex information networks may originally have arisen from junk DNA. In other words, at some point the “junk” gained the ability to encode proteins, and these new proteins may have been crucial to the human brain evolution.

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