Role of Mutated Gene in the Evolution of Large Brained, Small-Jawed Humans

Role of Mutated Gene in the Evolution of Large Brained, Small-Jawed Humans

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Role of Mutated Gene in the Evolution of Large Brained, Small-Jawed Humans


The debate with-in the anthropology field has been heated over the evolution of the human and the events that have lead us to where we are now. One of the major questions that is debated is how did we, humans-large brained and small jawed, evolve from primates-large jawed and small brained. Interestingly enough, this debate is now being directed from outside the field; by biologists and plastic surgeons. On march 25, 2004, Doctors Stedman (and others) published their findings in Nature (VOL 428) under the title Myosin gene mutation correlates with anatomical changes in the human lineage. Their findings point to the gene myosin and its mutated form MYH16 and that the mutation that toke place some 2.4 million years ago as a major step in the development of a larger brain that we now as humans have. In this paper I aim to outline what they have discovered and point out some of the controversy surrounding the findings. It is not my goal to understand how the gene functions, but to rely on accepted judges conclusions that the gene is mutated but I will explain what this can say about the formation of bone structure.

What the researchers found centers on the MYH16 mutation and the original myosin gene, a protein that builds strong muscular jaws. Myosin is a protein that works with other proteins to contract muscles, more importantly jaw muscles. The mutation of myosin, MYH16, causes a weaker bite. In their experiments they looked at macaque monkey and human genes to determine how this mutation worked. They found that the gene myosin only worked in the muscles of the head used for chewing and biting. The difference between the two subjects was...


... middle of paper ...


...ary Source:
Stedman, Hansell, et. al. Myosin Gene Mutation Correlates with Anatomical Changes in the Human Lineage. Nature, Vol 428, March 28, 2004. The Nature Publishing Group. www.nature.com/nature

Secondary Sources:
Associated Press. Gene Mutation Said Linked to Evolution.
http://abcnews.go.com/wire/Living/ap20040324_1105.html

Hopkin, Michael. Jaw-Dropping Theory of Human Evolution.
http://www.nature.com/nsu/040322/040322-9.html

Kreeger, Karen. Myosin Mutant Points to Human Origins.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2004-03/uopm-mmp032204.php

Ananthaswamy, Anil. Early Humans Swapped Bite for Brain.
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99994817

Reuters. Scientists: Humans traded jaw strength for big brains.
http://edition.cnn.com/2004/TECH/science/03/24/science.brains.reut/index.html


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