Big switch, big brains

June 9, 2008 at 4:40 am Leave a comment

A new study shows that it’s complex proteins that distinguishes more highly evolved brains. The evolution of molecularly complex, ‘big’ synapses occurred before the emergence of large brains, so it may be that these molecular evolutionary events were necessary to allow evolution of big brains found in humans, primates and other vertebrates.

The molecular evolution of the synapse is like the evolution of computer chips – the increasing complexity has given them more power and those animals with the most powerful chips can do the most.

Responses to the study here and other reports here and here and the study itself in Nature Neuroscience here.

The heart of what they found that led to the evolution of our brains was “a marked changes in signaling complexity.” The brain: it’s about the network.

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Entry filed under: biocomplexity. Tags: .

Wireless salt mines, The network is the brain

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