PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
FREE PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

What gave us the advantage over extinct types of humans?

The answer lies in changes in the way our genes work

What gave us the advantage over extinct types of humans?
2014-04-22
(Press-News.org) Jerusalem, April 22, 2014 -- In parallel with modern man (Homo sapiens), there were other, extinct types of humans with whom we lived side by side, such as Neanderthals and the recently discovered Denisovans of Siberia. Yet only Homo sapiens survived. What was it in our genetic makeup that gave us the advantage?

The truth is that little is known about our unique genetic makeup as distinguished from our archaic cousins, and how it contributed to the fact that we are the only species among them to survive. Even less is known about our unique epigenetic makeup, but it is exactly such epigenetic changes that may have shaped our own species.

While genetics deals with the DNA sequence itself and the heritable changes in the DNA (mutations), epigenetics deals with heritable traits that are not caused by mutations. Rather, chemical modifications to the DNA can efficiently turn genes on and off without changing the sequence. This epigenetic regulatory layer controls where, when and how genes are activated, and is believed to be behind many of the differences between human groups.

Indeed, many epigenetic changes distinguish us from the Neanderthal and the Denisovan, researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Europe have now shown.

In an article just published in Science, Dr. Liran Carmel, Prof. Eran Meshorer and David Gokhman of the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life sciences at the Hebrew University, along with scientists from Germany and Spain, have reconstructed, for the first time, the epigenome of the Neanderthal and the Denisovan. Then, by comparing this ancient epigenome with that of modern humans, they identified genes whose activity had changed only in our own species during our most recent evolution.

Among those genetic pattern changes, many are expressed in brain development. Numerous changes were also observed in the immune and cardiovascular systems, whereas the digestive system remained relatively unchanged.

On the negative side, the researchers found that many of the genes whose activity is unique to modern humans are linked to diseases like Alzheimer's disease, autism and schizophrenia, suggesting that these recent changes in our brain may underlie some of the psychiatric disorders that are so common in humans today.

By reconstructing how genes were regulated in the Neanderthal and the Denisovan, the researchers provide the first insight into the evolution of gene regulation along the human lineage and open a window to a new field that allows the studying of gene regulation in species that went extinct hundreds of thousands of years ago.

INFORMATION: Caption for photo: Hebrew University researchers (from left to right): Prof. Eran Meshorer, Dr Liran Carmel and David Gokhman, plus unidentified ancient "friend" (photo by Juan Schkolnik)

[Attachments] See images for this press release:
What gave us the advantage over extinct types of humans?

ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

Turoctocog alfa in patients with hemophilia A: Added benefit not proven

2014-04-22
Turoctocog alfa (trade name: NovoEight) has been approved since November 2013 for the prevention and treatment of bleeding in patients with haemophilia A. In an early benefit assessment pursuant to the "Act on the Reform of the Market for Medicinal Products" (AMNOG), the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) examined whether this new active ingredient offers an added benefit over the appropriate comparator therapy. According to the findings, an added benefit of turoctocog alfa is not proven. As no relevant study is available for comparison ...

Life stressors trigger neurological disorders, researchers find

2014-04-22
Washington, DC -- When mothers are exposed to trauma, illness, alcohol or other drug abuse, these stressors may activate a single molecular trigger in brain cells that can go awry and activate conditions such as schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder and some forms of autism. Until now, it has been unclear how much these stressors have impacted the cells of a developing brain. Past studies have shown that when an expectant mother exposes herself to alcohol or drug abuse or she experiences some trauma or illness, her baby may later develop a psychiatric disorder, ...

Ask yourself: Will you help the environment?

2014-04-22
This news release is available in French. Whether it's recycling, composting or buying environmentally friendly products, guilt can be a strong motivator — not just on Earth Day. Now, research from Concordia University's John Molson School of Business published in the Journal of Business Ethics, proves that even just asking ourselves, or predicting, whether we will engage in sustainable shopping behaviour can increase the likelihood of following through — especially when there's an audience. Lead author, marketing professor Onur Bodur explains that, "this is because ...

Brain size matters when it comes to animal self-control

2014-04-22
Chimpanzees may throw tantrums like toddlers, but their total brain size suggests they have more self-control than, say, a gerbil or fox squirrel, according to a new study of 36 species of mammals and birds ranging from orangutans to zebra finches. Scientists at Duke University, UC Berkeley, Stanford, Yale and more than two-dozen other research institutions collaborated on this first large-scale investigation into the evolution of self-control, defined in the study as the ability to inhibit powerful but ultimately counter-productive behavior. They found that the species ...

Male health linked to testosterone exposure in womb, study finds

2014-04-22
Men's susceptibility to serious health conditions may be influenced by low exposure to testosterone in the womb, new research suggests. A study has revealed how men's testosterone levels may be determined before they are born. Understanding why some men have less of the hormone than others is important because testosterone is crucial for life-long health. Low levels of the hormone have been linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Researchers have shown that the cells responsible for producing testosterone in adults – known as Leydig cells – are derived from ...

FASEB releases updated NIH state factsheets

FASEB releases updated NIH state factsheets
2014-04-22
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) has released updated factsheets for fiscal year (FY) 2013 highlighting how funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) benefits each of the 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico. "FASEB is pleased to make these factsheets available to help citizens and policymakers understand the significance of NIH to their state," said FASEB President, Margaret K. Offermann, MD, PhD. NIH is the nation's leading source for biomedical research funding, investing $29.2 billion in FY 2013 in medical research, 80 percent ...

Report recommends insurers use prescription monitoring data to reduce opioid abuse, deaths

2014-04-22
WALTHAM, Mass. – The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Center of Excellence at Brandeis University has issued a ground-breaking report recommending that medical insurers use prescription monitoring data to reduce the overdoses, deaths and health care costs associated with abuse of opioids and other prescription drugs. "At a time when the misuse and abuse of prescription opioids has reached epidemic levels, it's important that third party payers be able to use states' prescription monitoring data to make sure these drugs are prescribed appropriately," said Peter Kreiner, ...

RNA shows potential as boiling-resistant anionic polymer material for nanoarchitectures

RNA shows potential as boiling-resistant anionic polymer material for nanoarchitectures
2014-04-22
A team of nanotechnology researchers at the University of Kentucky has discovered new methods to build heat resistant nanostructures and arrays using RNA. The research, led by Peixuan Guo, professor and William Farish Endowed Chair in Nanobiotechnology at the UK College of Pharmacy and Markey Cancer Center, is reported in an article titled "RNA as a Boiling-Resistant Anionic Polymer Material To Build Robust Structures with Defined Shape and Stoichiometry," coauthored by Emil F. Khisamutdinov and Daniel L. Jasinski. The article, which will appear in a forthcoming edition ...

EORTC and SIOG update expert opinion on management of elderly patients with NSCLC

2014-04-22
Half of all patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer are 70 years of age or older, yet despite this high percentage, these elderly patients are not well represented in clinical trials. Therefore, the paucity of clinical data has made it difficult to reach evidence based clinical recommendations. In 2010, the EORTC Cancer in the Elderly Task Force and Lung Cancer Group along with the International Society for Geriatric Oncology (SIOG) wrote an expert opinion on managing treatment for elderly patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and now, in an article ...

US medical innovation needs smarter incentives to cut health spending, study finds

2014-04-22
To help rein in massive health care spending, a new RAND study concludes that U.S. policy makers should urgently find ways to incentivize pharmaceutical companies and device makers to develop products that produce more value. Instead of examining existing medical technologies and their use, a new study suggests the study identifies options to affect what drugs and medical devices get created in the first place. The aim is to help reduce health care spending with as little loss of health as possible and to ensure that costlier advances have large enough health benefits ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

Scientists model 'true prevalence' of COVID-19 throughout pandemic

New breakthrough to help immune systems in the fight against cancer

Through the thin-film glass, researchers spot a new liquid phase

Administering opioids to pregnant mice alters behavior and gene expression in offspring

Brain's 'memory center' needed to recognize image sequences but not single sights

Safety of second dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines after first-dose allergic reactions

Changes in disparities in access to care, health after Medicare eligibility

Use of high-risk medications among lonely older adults

65+ and lonely? Don't talk to your doctor about another prescription

Exosome formulation developed to deliver antibodies for choroidal neovascularization therapy

Second COVID-19 mRNA vaccine dose found safe following allergic reactions to first dose

Plant root-associated bacteria preferentially colonize their native host-plant roots

Rare inherited variants in previously unsuspected genes may confer significant risk for autism

International experts call for a unified public health response to NAFLD and NASH epidemic

International collaboration of scientists rewrite the rulebook of flowering plant genetics

Improving air quality reduces dementia risk, multiple studies suggest

Misplaced trust: When trust in science fosters pseudoscience

Two types of blood pressure meds prevent heart events equally, but side effects differ

New statement provides path to include ethnicity, ancestry, race in genomic research

Among effective antihypertensive drugs, less popular choice is slightly safer

Juicy past of favorite Okinawan fruit revealed

Anticipate a resurgence of respiratory viruses in young children

Anxiety, depression, burnout rising as college students prepare to return to campus

Goal-setting and positive parent-child relationships reduce risk of youth vaping

New research identifies cancer types with little survival improvements in adolescents and young adul

Oncotarget: Replication-stress sensitivity in breast cancer cells

Oncotarget: TERT and its binding protein: overexpression of GABPA/B in gliomas

Development of a novel technology to check body temperature with smartphone camera

The mechanics of puncture finally explained

Extreme heat, dry summers main cause of tree death in Colorado's subalpine forests

[Press-News.org] What gave us the advantage over extinct types of humans?
The answer lies in changes in the way our genes work