What is HAR1 and what is its function in the brain?

HAR1 is part of two overlapping genes. One of those genes, called HAR1F, is active in special nerve cells, called Cajal-Retzius neurons, that appear early in embryonic development and play a critical role in the formation of the layered structure of the human cerebral cortex.

What kind of DNA is HAR1?

Human accelerated region 1 (HAR1) is a short DNA region identified recently to have evolved the most rapidly among highly constrained regions since the divergence from our common ancestor with chimpanzee. It is transcribed as part of a noncoding RNA specifically expressed in the developing human neocortex.

What is the Language Gene?

Foxp2 is one of several genes that scientists believe may have contributed to the development of these linguistic skills. The gene was first identified in a group of family members who had severe difficulties in speaking and understanding speech, and who were found to carry a mutated version of the Foxp2 gene.

How many letters make human different for chimps?

HAR1 has only two changes in its 118 letters of DNA code between chimpanzees and chickens. But in the roughly five million years since we shared an ancestor with the chimpanzees, 18 of the 118 letters that make up HAR1 in the human genome have changed.

What was the last evolutionary change in humans?

Blue eyes. Blue eyes are another recent-evolved trait and scientists have determined it came from a mutation in a single ancestor 6,000-10,000 years ago. The mutation affected the OCA2 gene, which codes the protein necessary for producing melanin, which gives our skin, hair and eyes their color.

How much of our genes make us human?

A humbling truth emerged: our DNA blueprints are nearly 99 percent identical to theirs. That is, of the three billion letters that make up the human genome, only 15 million of them—less than 1 percent—have changed in the six million years or so since the human and chimp lineages diverged.

What does the FOXP2 gene control?

The FOXP2 gene provides instructions for making a protein called forkhead box P2. This protein is a transcription factor, which means that it controls the activity of other genes. It attaches (binds) to the DNA of these genes through a region known as a forkhead domain.

Is language in our DNA?

It is accepted as a scientific fact that the prerequisite for the unique human aptitude for language and speech must be in the DNA of Homo sapiens.

What does HAR1 stand for?

In molecular biology, Human accelerated region 1 (highly accelerated region 1, HAR1) is a segment of the human genome found on the long arm of chromosome 20. It is a Human accelerated region.

Where is HAR1 found in the brain?

In adult humans, it is found throughout the cerebellum and forebrain; it is also found in the testes. There is evidence that HAR1 is repressed by REST in individuals with Huntington’s disease, perhaps contributing to the neurodegeneration associated with the disease.

Where is the HAR1F gene located on the chromosome?

HAR1 is a 106-base pair stretch found on the long arm of chromosome 20 overlapping with part of the RNA genes HAR1F and HAR1R. HAR1F is active in the developing human brain. The HAR1 sequence is found (and conserved) in chickens and chimpanzees but is not present in fish or frogs that have been studied.

What is the difference between HAR2 and HACNS1?

HAR2 includes HACNS1 a gene enhancer “that may have contributed to the evolution of the uniquely opposable human thumb, and possibly also modifications in the ankle or foot that allow humans to walk on two legs”.