Did a Copying Mistake Build Man’s Brain? | LiveScience
A copyediting error appears to be responsible for critical features of the human brain that distinguish us from our closest primate kin, new research finds.
When tested out in mice, researchers found this “error” caused the rodents’ brain cells to move into place faster and enabled more connections between brain cells.
When any cell divides, it first copies its entire genome. During this process, it can make errors. The cell usually fixes errors in the DNA. But when they aren’t fixed, they become permanent changes called mutations, which are sometimes hurtful and sometimes helpful, though usually innocuous.
One type of error is duplication, when the DNA-copying machinery accidentally copies a section of the genome twice. The second copy can be changed in future copies — gaining mutations or losing parts.