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Biotech Science

The Human Mutation 339

eldavojohn writes "Scientists in China have announced finding the gene that makes us human. The article explains that prior work has shown that humans, as compared with the great apes from which we diverged over 5 million years ago, have a longer form of a protein (type II neuropsin) located in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain. From the article: 'Gene sequencing revealed a mutation specific to humans that triggers a change in the splicing pattern of the neuropsin gene, creating a new splicing site and a longer protein. Introducing this mutation into chimpanzee DNA resulted in the creation of type II neuropsin. "Hence, the human-specific mutation is not only necessary but also sufficient in creating the novel splice form," the authors state.' The team is urging further analysis of the extra 45 amino acids in type II neuropsin since they believe that chain may cause protein structural and functional changes. The research didn't link anything with this protein, simply identifying it as a very distinct difference between us and our closest cousins."
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The Human Mutation

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  • Re:Typical... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @09:28PM (#19046649)
    I don't think you know what a 'gene' is. A gene is not a base pair. There aren't several million genes in the human genome! The current best guesses from what we have analyzed from the human genome project is probably around 50,000 genes.

  • Re:Typical... (Score:2, Informative)

    by maxume ( 22995 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @09:30PM (#19046669)
    Humans very likely have tens of thousands of genes(Wikipedia says ~25,000). Perhaps you are thinking of base pairs? he_genome []
  • Re:Lies!/soup (Score:3, Informative)

    by arbitraryaardvark ( 845916 ) <> on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @10:27PM (#19047155) Homepage Journal
    You don't have to be Chinese/Jewish or wait for Passover/Gnu Years to enjoy matzo balls. Matzo balls are delicious dumplings made from unleavened bread meal, usually served in broth or soup.

            * 4 eggs or egg substitute
            * 1/2 cup club soda
            * 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
            * 2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
            * Salt
            * Freshly ground black pepper
            * 1 cup matzo meal

    Whisk the eggs until blended. Now add the club soda, vegetable oil or schmaltz, salt and pepper. Easy on the salt, you can always add but you can never take away.
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    Blend in the parsley and matzo meal. Cover and refrigerate this mixture for about 1 hour.
    Bring about 5 quarts of water to boil. Rub vegetable oil on hands and form matzo balls with about two tablespoons of mixture. Drop in boiling water and simmer covered and don't peek (okay, maybe once or twice) for about 25 to 35 minutes. Serve in broth, to which add 1/4 teaspoon red pepper and 2 tablespoons vinegar.

    For matzoh-miso soup, use miso paste to make the broth.
  • by skeptictank ( 841287 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @12:06AM (#19047899)
    I love how these articles about Human vs Great Ape DNA always ignore the fact that Humans have 46 chromosome and Great Apes have 48.
  • by zCyl ( 14362 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @04:11AM (#19049087)

    I love how these articles about Human vs Great Ape DNA always ignore the fact that Humans have 46 chromosome and Great Apes have 48.

    This is generally not mentioned because this is not actually an issue. The two chromosomes are not missing, they are simply merged. The same genetic material is there, it's just that four of them got linked together into two longer chromosomes somewhere in our ancestral path.

    Supporters of creationism frequently clamor about two going missing, but geneticists can pinpoint exactly where the two pairs of chromosomes bonded, and show the correspondence between the two species in the unbonded and bonded chromosomes. If anything, this is spectacular support for evolution, since evolution predicts that the chromosomes would have to still be there with such a recent evolution, and they in fact are.
  • Re:Underpeople (Score:3, Informative)

    by JoeD ( 12073 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @08:39AM (#19050343) Homepage
    Heinlein wrote "Jerry was a Man" [] about this exact topic.

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?