Homo Sapiens’ brains are what set them apart from other primates. Humans have way larger brains as compared to other species that they evolved from. With every new knowledge that human gains, their brain develops a new wrinkle and grows.
A recent study shows that brain growth in humans is all dependent on one gene, ARHGAP11B. to prove this, scientists set out to administer this gene into a marmoset fetus. scientists expected their brains to grow, just like a human brain, and that was exactly what happened.
The brain developed and folded in the marmoset the same way it folds in a human. Moreover, neocortex increased in size along with the upper-layer neurons. These are the same neurons that are known to have increases in humans during an evolution.
A couple of tests were conducted on ferrets and mice earlier on by introducing ARHGAP11B in them. however, no such astonishing results were seen back then. This is partly because these species are not considered to be primates, that is, humans did not evolve from mice! Another reason for unexpected results could be the overexpression of the gene.
After this study, human evolution has further been clarified to scientists. Now they know that ARHGAP11B had played an important part in evolving Homo Sapiens from their predecessors.
It is possible to grow a marmoset with a human mind by administering this gene, but scientists are bound by ethics. They do not know the effects that this experiment could have on the mammal once it is brought to life and allowed to grow up. This is one of the reasons that the experiment was conducted on a fetus and not a newborn. the fetus was then delivered using C-section and observed. However, it was never allowed to live past the age of a fetus.
The study, “Human-specific ARHGAP11B increases size and folding of primate neocortex in the fetal marmoset”, was authored by Michael Heide, Christiane Haffner, Ayako Murayama, Yoko Kurotaki, Haruka Shinohara, Hideyuki Okano, Erika Sasaki, and Wieland B. Huttner