Nature 437, 64-67 (1 September 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature04103

Molecular insights into human brain evolution

Robert Sean Hill1 & Christopher A. Walsh1


Rapidly advancing knowledge of genome structure and sequence enables new means for the analysis of specific DNA changes associated with the differences between the human brain and that of other mammals. Recent studies implicate evolutionary changes in messenger RNA and protein expression levels, as well as DNA changes that alter amino acid sequences. We can anticipate having a systematic catalogue of DNA changes in the lineage leading to humans, but an ongoing challenge will be relating these changes to the anatomical and functional differences between our brain and that of our ancient and more recent ancestors.

  1. Division of Neurogenetics and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Room 266, New Research Building, 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA

Correspondence to: Christopher A. Walsh1 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to C.A.W. (Email:


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