Transcriptional neoteny in the human brain

Somel, Mehmet
Yan, Zheng
Lorenc, Anna
Guo, Song
Giger, Thomas
Kelso, Janet
Nickel, Birgit
Dannemann, Michael
Bahn, Sabine
Webster, Maree J.
Weickert, Cynthia S.
Lachmann, Michael
Paeaebo, Svante
Khaitovich, Philipp
In development, timing is of the utmost importance, and the timing of developmental processes often changes as organisms evolve. In human evolution, developmental retardation, or neoteny, has been proposed as a possible mechanism that contributed to the rise of many human-specific features, including an increase in brain size and the emergence of human-specific cognitive traits. We analyzed mRNA expression in the prefrontal cortex of humans, chimpanzees, and rhesus macaques to determine whether human-specific neotenic changes are present at the gene expression level. We show that the brain transcriptome is dramatically remodeled during postnatal development and that developmental changes in the human brain are indeed delayed relative to other primates. This delay is not uniform across the human transcriptome but affects a specific subset of genes that play a potential role in neural development.


MicroRNA-Driven Developmental Remodeling in the Brain Distinguishes Humans from Other Primates
Somel, Mehmet; Tang, Lin; Yan, Zheng; Hu, Haiyang; Guo, Song; Jiang, Xi; Zhang, Xiaoyu; Xu, Guohua; Xie, Gangcai; Li, Na; Hu, Yuhui; Chen, Wei; Paeaebo, Svante; Khaitovich, Philipp (2011-12-01)
While multiple studies have reported the accelerated evolution of brain gene expression in the human lineage, the mechanisms underlying such changes are unknown. Here, we address this issue from a developmental perspective, by analyzing mRNA and microRNA (miRNA) expression in two brain regions within macaques, chimpanzees, and humans throughout their lifespan. We find that constitutive gene expression divergence (species differences independent of age) is comparable between humans and chimpanzees. However, ...
Expression Analysis of TaNAC69-1 and TtNAMB-2, Wheat NAC Family Transcription Factor Genes Under Abiotic Stress Conditions in Durum Wheat (Triticum turgidum)
Baloglu, Mehmet Cengiz; Oz, Mehmet Tufan; Öktem, Hüseyin Avni; Yücel, Ayşe Meral (2012-10-01)
NAC-type plant-specific transcription factor genes encode proteins that play important roles in abiotic stress responses, as well as regulation of plant development. In the current study, expression profiles of wheat NAC-type transcription factor genes, TaNAC69-1 and TtNAMB-2, were examined under drought, salt, cold, and heat stress conditions in wheat. Based on reverse transcription quantitative PCR results, TaNAC69-1 was strongly expressed under drought, salinity, and high-temperature stress conditions. C...
Transcriptional and physiological responses to drought stress in Populus nigra L.
Yıldırım, Kubilay; Kaya, Zeki; Temel, Fatih; Department of Biotechnology (2013)
In the current study, we investigated a number of drought related physio-biochemical processes and transcriptional comparisons at different stages of water availability to understand adaptation and response mechanisms of the black poplar (Populus nigra L.). Therefore, a well-watered, successive drought and post drought recovery periods were applied to black poplar clones. According to their drought response, the most sensitive (N.03.368.A) and resistant (N.62.191) black poplar clones were selected for micro...
Molecular footprint of Medawar's mutation accumulation process in mammalian aging
Turan, Zeliha Gozde; Parvizi, Poorya; Donertas, Handan Melike; Tung, Jenny; Khaitovich, Philipp; Somel, Mehmet (2019-08-01)
Medawar's mutation accumulation hypothesis explains aging by the declining force of natural selection with age: Slightly deleterious germline mutations expressed in old age can drift to fixation and thereby lead to aging-related phenotypes. Although widely cited, empirical evidence for this hypothesis has remained limited. Here, we test one of its predictions that genes relatively highly expressed in old adults should be under weaker purifying selection than genes relatively highly expressed in young adults...
A Humanized Version of Foxp2 Affects Cortico-Basal Ganglia Circuits in Mice
Enard, Wolfgang; et. al. (2009-05-29)
It has been proposed that two amino acid substitutions in the transcription factor FOXP2 have been positively selected during human evolution due to effects on aspects of speech and language. Here, we introduce these substitutions into the endogenous Foxp2 gene of mice. Although these mice are generally healthy, they have qualitatively different ultrasonic vocalizations, decreased exploratory behavior and decreased dopamine concentrations in the brain suggesting that the humanized Foxp2 allele affects basal...
Citation Formats
M. Somel et al., “Transcriptional neoteny in the human brain,” PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, pp. 5743–5748, 2009, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: