Discovery of GPR56 sheds light on evolution of frontal lobes
With the identification of the gene responsible for a newly recognized type of mental retardation, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have also discovered what appears to be the key target in the evolution of the frontal lobes of the brains cerebral cortex. The findings, reported in the March 26, 2004, issue of the journal Science, offer a key insight into the complex puzzle of human brain development – and the evolution of human behavior.
"The cerebral cortex is the part of the brain that distinguishes humans from other species," explains the studys senior author Christopher A. Walsh, MD, PhD, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator in the Neurogenetics Division at BIDMC and Bullard Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. "And the frontal lobes are the part of the cortex that govern social function, cognition, language, and problem-solving. Patients with damage to the frontal lobes exhibit changes in behavior, and frontal lobotomies were once performed to alter aggressive behavior."
Bonnie Prescott | EurekAlert!
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