Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Did a Genome Copying Mistake Lead To Human Intelligence?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the happy-accidents dept.

Science 381

A new study suggests that the sophistication of the human brain may be due to a mistake in cell division long ago. From the article: "A copyediting error appears to be responsible for critical features of the human brain that distinguish us from our closest primate kin, new research finds. When tested out in mice, researchers found this 'error' caused the rodents' brain cells to move into place faster and enabled more connections between brain cells."

cancel ×

381 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Evolution (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914059)

Isnt this the whole point of evolution?

Re:Evolution (5, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914099)

The only "point" of evolution is survival. Evolution does not lead towards more intelligent creatures unless intelligence itself better ensures survival. There are many cases of evolution leading to simpler or dumber creatures that have other traits that give them an edge in their environment. It's not a thinking, planning system.

Re:Evolution (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914181)

Way to miss the point completely.

Not at all; completely on point (3, Informative)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914299)

Mice and other critters may well have evolved the same mutation many times, but it had no survival benefit without other mutations which only humans (or primates) had.

Human speech, for instance, requires physical changes to vocal cords and the throat, in addition to brain changes, or so I have read. Got to change them all to get actual speech.

Re:Not at all; completely on point (5, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914357)

Well, there was that incident over at the NIMH.

Re:Not at all; completely on point (4, Funny)

dragonsomnolent (978815) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914555)

shhhh! it's a secret.

Re:Not at all; completely on point (3, Interesting)

Jappus (1177563) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914449)

Your point is absolutely correct.

But the idea of the parent posting was different. It did not ask whether evolution has a point itself, but instead pointed out that evolution itself is simply the consequence of alterations to successive organisms -- mostly via their genome. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that successive alterations of our genome were responsible for the lion's share of our intelligence.

Re:Evolution (3, Funny)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914231)

There are many cases of evolution leading to simpler or dumber creatures that have other traits that give them an edge in their environment. It's not a thinking, planning system.

Well.... that explains Sarah Palin and a whole bunch of her friends and followers.

Re:Evolution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914307)

There are many cases of evolution leading to simpler or dumber creatures that have other traits that give them an edge in their environment. It's not a thinking, planning system.

Well.... that explains Sarah Palin and a whole bunch of her friends and followers.

Hehehe yeah it's so cool to hate on her, man you must be sophisticated and individualistic huh?

No what it really explains are niggers like you. And fat people, they're pretty stupid too, even when they are highly educated they have no sense at all or else they wouldn't be fat.

Re:Evolution (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914391)

There are many cases of evolution leading to simpler or dumber creatures that have other traits that give them an edge in their environment. It's not a thinking, planning system.

Well.... that explains Sarah Palin and a whole bunch of her friends and followers.

I always assumed her inherited ignorance was attributed to inbreeding?

Re:Evolution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914397)

I have no use for the woman, but she's a politician. She says whatever she needs to in order to get power. And you bought it. Yo may hate her, but that hate is based on believing what she says, and in that way Palin has completely OWNED YOU, you motherfucking, pig ignorant, filthy sack of geek shit.

Congrats, you are the true DUMBASS here, fuckhead. Pull your head out some day.

Hanlon's razor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914453)

Never attribute stupidity to malice which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Re:Evolution (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914331)

No. Darwin's theory of evolution was quite flawed and is no longer the accepted model within biological sciences. Natural selection handwaved away a lot of genetic specialization and it was only far more recently that the discovery of epigenetics resulted in an understanding that the DNA sequence is NOT the only primary factor leading to the expression of an organism's inherited traits.

Re:Evolution (3, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914399)

Alternate headline: Did a Genome Copying Mistake Lead To Arms and Legs in Humans?

Answer: Yes - genome copying mistakes lead to everything in humans.

Re:Evolution (4, Insightful)

Ferzerp (83619) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914581)

Well, not exactly. Copying mistake suggests a meiosis or mitosis failure. However, there is also the potential for DNA to be altered and then copied accurately.

Re:Evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914481)

Look, I've told you: Don't copy that floppy!

Re:Evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914527)

There is no point, it's just what happens.

Evolution (3, Insightful)

uarch (637449) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914065)

In other words... Human intelligence is the result of evolution. Shocking. I sure hope there was more to this study that the submitter simply failed to mention...

Re:Evolution (4, Interesting)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914081)

Maybe the discovery is the exact mechanism which prompts the rise of higher intelligence? Intelligent animals anyone?

Re:Evolution (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914131)

Maybe animals "Uplifted" to human levels of intelligence won't be to far away..?

Re:Evolution (2, Insightful)

Barsteward (969998) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914167)

Animals are already at the level of Ted Haggard, Jerry Fullwell, Creationists et al..

Re:Evolution (5, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914329)

Animals are already at the level of Ted Haggard, Jerry Fallwell, Creationists et al..

Animals without a central nervous system are not bothered by this remark.
Animals with single-digit IQs suspect you've just insulted their intelligence.
Animals with an IQ or 10 or more are certain of it, and they're utterly livid.

Re:Evolution (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914431)

Maybe we can make humans who do all that dumb-ass stuff any more. Gradually phase out politicians, middle managers, etc.

Re:Evolution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914477)

Maybe we can make humans who do all that dumb-ass stuff any more. Gradually phase out politicians, middle managers, etc.

And the society will wiped out due to a particularity virulent telephone virus.

Re:Evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914557)

When those harassing dolphins get their speaking capability, it's time to put them to guide our star ships in the struggle between the uplifted species of the Earth and those of others. Better watch out when cross breeding them with the orca, however. The wannabe orcas can be a pain in the ass, or a flipper sometimes.

(reference: "Startide Rising" by David Brinn)

Re:Evolution (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914223)

I vote for those adorable tiny monkeys! They are already pretty sharp, and could no doubt perform even more entertaining monkey antics if smarter...

Re:Evolution (5, Insightful)

dBLiSS (513375) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914087)

Agreed. The use of the word "mistake" implies that there was some sort of intelligence designing the genome and it make a mistake. This just sounds like "random mutation + natural selection = evolution". No need to call it a "mistake"

Re:Evolution (4, Insightful)

DThorne (21879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914265)

Actually, there is a pretty good reason to call it a 'mistake'. You get more press.

Re:Evolution (4, Insightful)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914271)

It's a mistake because an error was made in the process of transcribing genes between DNA strands. The mechanism failed in its task, no matter whether that mechanism itself was designed or evolved

Re:Evolution (1)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914313)

By that definition, all evolution comes from mistakes. Except for man-made evolution. That is to say, when men deliberately splice genomes, say in corn for example, to improve a life form, that is not a mistake.

This begs the question then, is it evolution when men deliberately evolve life around them?

Re:Evolution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914337)

> The mechanism failed in its task,

Strictly speaking there is no intent in nature, so the mechanism has no purpose, which is why it doesn't make sense to suggest that it failed. It can't fail, it has no objective.

Re:Evolution (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914381)

A "task" assumes a goal, which is a concept that only makes sense in the context of an intelligent agent. Here, the mechanism just is; an inexact copy is no less valid than an exact copy.

Re:Evolution (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914511)

Building in subtle (or not so subtle) differences from one generation to the next *is* the process, there was no error or failure here.

Re:Evolution (2)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914563)

The mechanism failed in its task, no matter whether that mechanism itself was designed or evolved

If the mechanism was designed, it was designed to fail sometimes so that humans would result--an intentional failure is not a mistake.
If the mechanism evolved, it evolved to fail sometimes since once in a while those failures are beneficial mutations which is a mechanism that would have already proven its usefulness via natural selection--again this is not a mistake.

The term "mistake" is probably attention-grabbing journalistic crap (the article is titled "Did a Copying Mistake Make Humans So Smart?") since using "mistake" instead of "error" tells a slightly more compelling story with the implication of an anthropomorphic actor doing the copying. The main article text in fact uses "error". Of course the title and subtitle may simply be imprecise. Perhaps they're the result of someone who didn't write the article proper, considering the change in term. The subtitle also has a stylistic difference from the article text--it has no comma or other punctuation. Every sentence of comparable length in the rest of the article (around 15 of them) has a comma, colon, dash, etc., with only one exception, supporting my "someone else wrote the title and subtitle" theory, perhaps someone more interested in page views than providing information.

Re:Evolution (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914279)

They revoke your journalism license if you don't make at least one egregious and unnecessary error when writing about some scientific happening, particularly if the subject area is emotive and ill-understood by your readership. Extra credit, of course, is awarded if you choose to fuck it up despite having the option of copy-pasting from press material provided by the research group or their affiliated university(s)...

If you look in your handbook of popular science journalism, this rule should be on the same page as the one requiring you to report on any basic research vaguely related to some disease as though it will be showing up in pill form at the ER within a month or two. It's just after the style guide that ensures that all not-yet-fully-settled research areas are described as 'controversial'.

Re:Evolution (1)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914341)

There is no need to nitpick. The phrase copying error is commonly used to describe the process in which dna changes structure over generations. An error is a mistake.

Re:Evolution (4, Informative)

ideonexus (1257332) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914409)

I think Richard Dawkins made it okay to use these quasi-anthropomorphic terms to describe processes of evolution when he titled his book "The Selfish Gene," so long as you constantly remind people, as he does laboriously in his text, that genes do not have wants, intentions, or consciously-implemented strategies. It's like saying photons are both a wave and a particle, I've read many physicists who point out that we use the wave-particle duality as a means of conceptualizing something so alien to our macro-reality into something we can understand so the non-expert can enjoy the wonder as well. So too do we attribute all sorts of human concepts to the algorithm of natural selection to make it easier to understand.

Still, your criticism is a valid one and something people need to be reminded that we are talking about inanimate processes.

Something that occurred to me reading the article was that when I saw the term "cell division" I immediately pictured a developing embryo, but that would be a somatic mutation rather than a germinal mutation [ndsu.edu] . It's important to remember that all these evolutionary mutations didn't happen in the animals, they happened in the animals' gametes, the sperm and eggs. A mutation that occurs in the cell division of a developing embryo wouldn't have any affect on the individual's gametes, the mutation had to occur in the sperm or egg first.

Re:Evolution (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914115)

There is a pretty significant difference between the (well supported but rather vague) hypothesis that human intelligence is the result of some mutation(s) in our evolutionary history and a hypothesis about a specific mutation, of a specific type(there are a number of distinct types of copying errors that tend to occur, and obviously plenty of different locations for them to occur within the genome), with a demonstration that that particular tweak makes for a notable change in the neurons of an animal model...

Re:Evolution (4, Informative)

FunkDup (995643) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914133)

It's a particlar kind of copy/write error that leads to another process. From TFA:

One type of error is duplication, when the DNA-copying machinery accidentally copies a section of the genome twice. The second copy can be changed in future copies — gaining mutations or losing parts. The researchers scanned the human genome for these duplications, and found that many of them seem to play a role in the developing brain.
[...]
An extra copy of a gene gives evolution something to work with: Like modeling clay, this gene isn't essential like the original copy, so changes can be made to it without damaging the resulting organism.

Re:Evolution (0, Troll)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914143)

You say evolution, I say the only reason why we can claim it as a 'mistake' is because we can't understand the process by which a loving and benevolent God bestowed such a wonderful and...aHaHahaha! Can't keep a straight face. Nevermind.

Re:Evolution (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914257)

Oh it's not *that* hard to come up with a scenario of some kind, if you really have to believe for some reason.

Some people call these copy errors a "bug", God calls it a "feature". Add a dash of natural selection, and you've got a self-maintaining and self-optimizing system for life to diversify and adapt. None of this having to re-create a whole bunch of things when extinction happens. We're talking low maintenance. The "lazy man's" creation. Like a garden that grows and trims itself. Beautiful really.

But if you mean a scheme where God says *poof* and life is created perfectly all at once, yeah, that's utterly ridiculous. Like believing in a flat Earth or phlogiston.

Re:Evolution (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914281)

Go ahead, laugh at and belittle the faith of others. If it makes you feel big, go ahead. Or take a lesson and show respect for others, and instead of laughing at them or belittling them for their faith, why not try to find common ground with them and see how you can work with them to make this world a little better place to live than how it is now? But, that takes more work, doesn't it? It's much more fun to laugh at them for putting their belief into traditions that have held civilizations together for thousands of years.

While I may not share the exact same beliefs as the average Christian, Muslim or Jew, the last thing I will do is to spit on their faith, which is what you just did. For one, it isn't constructive, and for another, it should be beneath any enlightened individual. Besides, I gave up on trying to mold the world into my perfect model years ago, and began accepting the world as it is, and changing it where I can.

Re:Evolution (2)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914517)

What can I say? I guess I'm bitter and petty for making fun of people who believe the world is 6000 years old, humans just popped into existence, and that things written in a book (by humans) is the mandate of their God. I would have LOVED to find a common ground with them, even as recently as a month or two ago. Tell me where the common ground is when you can't have a discussion including science as a form of evidence, because it refutes what takes place in the bible, and thus you're bad and going to go to Hell for "believing" it. Tell me where the common ground is when you can't have an academic discussion about, say, Job, without them hating you for it. I've tried to understand faith. I've tried to get it myself. I REALLY have. When one is hated because he doesn't happen to share blind faith, then it's hard not to return the favor.

Look at it this way: I'm pretty sure I didn't begin life as a bitter asshole, but I'm there now. What reinforced that behaviour, and why is it directed at the dogmatically religious?

Re:Evolution (2)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914163)

I know nobody reads TFA, but at least you could read the summary:

When tested out in mice, researchers found this 'error' caused the rodents' brain cells to move into place faster and enabled more connections between brain cells."

Just because the submitter gave it a stupid title doesn't mean the research was in vain.

Re:Evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914197)

Such a reply proofs the whole study wrong: Obviously Human Intelligence never occured.

Re:Evolution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914225)

The real question is: where are these black monoliths coming from?

Re:Evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914325)

Oh come on. So looking at the incredible diversity of life, we can all just say "Oh well, that's evolution" and then go home? Look, evolution is a powerful theory, but it's high level. It doesn't give a mechanism.

Human intelligence could have arisen in MANY ways other than the way proposed in the article (gene segment duplication). It could have arisen from point mutations, deletions, frame shifts,a combination of all three, etc. The authors are postulating that intelligence largely arose from a specific type of mutation:
"[....] confirming that the cortical development gene Slit-Robo Rho GTPase-activating protein 2 (SRGAP2) duplicated three times exclusively in human"

But maybe you're satisfied with the "It's evolution" explanation to how complex phenotypic traits evolved.

Isn't that kind of expected? (5, Insightful)

YttriumOxide (837412) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914067)

Isn't that somewhat the expected process of evolution in general? Genetic mistake happens; proves to actually be useful to reproduction/beating the competition (as opposed to the vast majority that are either useless or detrimental); and then due to being in the most successful breeders, becomes "standard".

Re:Isn't that kind of expected? (2)

Ardyvee (2447206) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914107)

Well, it is a mistake in the copy process. Or mutation. Of course, it had been established that those mistakes are, in fact, important and the result of such is called Evolution. Not that we didn't know that already.

Re:Isn't that kind of expected? (2)

codewarren (927270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914199)

Exactly. I'd like to know what the alternate theory was. Did we think it might have changed on purpose? Science has only just now discovered that we are not the result of an intelligent designer? WTF?

Re:Isn't that kind of expected? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914359)

The sea change in thought is that rather than somehow suspecting, as people in times closer to Darwin did, that humans kept getting smarter and smarter with gradual evolutionary changes, instead a major change occurred 50-60,000 years ago and was passed on genetically to all people who belong to the current species of humans from that point onward. It is a much more sensible idea to expect epochs in evolution rather than simple gradual steps because relative "fitness" (of Darwin's theory) won't be much different with small mutations/changes.

Brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914075)

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Re:Brain (5, Funny)

jaminJay (1198469) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914095)

I think so, Brain, but how are we going to get the monkeys to wear plastic underpants?

So how long was Slashdot Down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914085)

For me it was at least 20 minutes, but it was down the first time I checked this morning.

Re:So how long was Slashdot Down? (2)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914445)

It's still down for me.

Big deal (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914089)

Isn't every evolutionary adaptation caused by copying error of one form or another? Why should this be any more of a big deal than not having webbed fingers or a tail?

GREAT....just great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914091)

...so, I'm a freak of nature?!

Just what I needed today at the office. Hey co-workers, guess what...

Obvious to most (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914097)

Unless you're with the intelligent designers, it is pretty that all advances made in evolution from the simplest prokaryote to Einstein were made by random errors in gene copying or recombining previous errors.

Obvious? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914205)

That over a billion years a cascade of screwups was responsible for making everything? That for as long as the universe has been kicking around and as big as it's managed to get, we've yet to see the faintest signs of this happening on any other planet?

I'd hardly call it obvious. Actually, "intelligent design" is engineered to be the more "obvious" theory, to make it easier to sell. And the farther we get away from teaching creative thinking, the scientific method, and mathematics, the easier it'll be for concepts like intelligent design to take root.

Re:Obvious? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914559)

over a billion years a cascade of screwups was responsible for making everything

actually, little bit of critical thinking would show this to be the more ridiculous theory. random accidents randomly creating intelligent life, really sounds like "creative thinking" to me.

Re:Obvious to most (2)

gtall (79522) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914297)

Ah, you mean like what happened during the Summer of Love.

Super-intelligent mice? (4, Funny)

gtvr (1702650) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914111)

How long until they break out & take over the world?

Too late (1)

slider2800 (1058930) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914309)

They are attempting it every night.
Not really successfully though.

Nope! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914113)

Next question, please...

Serious Question... (1)

FreedomOfThought (2544248) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914117)

"Our data suggest a mechanism where incomplete duplication created a novel gene function—antagonizing parental SRGAP2 function—immediately “at birth” 2–3 mya, which is a time corresponding to the transition from Australopithecus to Homo and the beginning of neocortex expansion." Could this be related to particular disorders in cognitive ability? There are certain disorders that become apparent in early childhood that may make said person seem "caveman-like". Could a malfunction with this 'Antagonizing Parental SRGAP2 Function' occur frequently, causing a more primitive (although sometimes peculiarly genius) cognitive functionality? I may be way off-base here, but it was a thought.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914119)

I, for one, welcome our new Ape overlord--...oh wait.

More proof that copying is BAD! (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914125)

Sorry, the articles on copyright and intellectual property still have me spinning a little. Something out there was making genome copies which are not legitimate and the result is there for all to see. If people didn't get so smart, there wouldn't be so much copying going on either.

Okay, okay, more on topic. The crowd is already saying "it's evolution." Okay, let's just get this behind us, "DUH!" Okay, that was short for "yes, they are explaining that evolution led to the changes which produced humans and human intelligence. But you are seeing the forest and forgetting to notice the trees. What aspects and details of human evolution have had striking results? One of many answers is this thing that happened which enabled the brain to grow in complexity and power."

Now that said, there are lots more. I think one of the more interesting details is that our eyes show white in the corners so that other people can see what we are looking at. That's huge in terms of human communication. There are lots of things in human evolution which have led us to where we are today. But if one were to go back to a single thing -- a single point of divergence -- it might be the one in the article.

Re:More proof that copying is BAD! (4, Funny)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914165)

Are you telling me that if you copy bad music often enough, it might turn into good music?

Re:More proof that copying is BAD! (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914227)

No. It might turn into a super advanced AI bent on taking over the world though.

Re:More proof that copying is BAD! (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914303)

No, e.g., Rap.

Re:More proof that copying is BAD! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914371)

I think one of the more interesting details is that our eyes show white in the corners and that other people can easily sense and guess what we are looking at. That's huge in terms of human communication.

Fixed that for you. Correlation is not causation.

I for one... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914129)

Wellcome our Rat Overlords!

Of course, what's the alternative? (1)

codewarren (927270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914137)

I'd like to know what part of the human species they imagine did NOT result from genome copying errors?

Explains Pinky and the Brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914141)

"When tested out in mice, researchers found this 'error' caused the rodents' brain cells to move into place faster and enabled more connections between brain cells."

Obviously this research should be stopped immediately.

It's Not a Bug... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914147)

It's a feature!
.
.
.
I'll get my coat now...

The point is the type of mutation... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914149)

Part of the point of the article is that it was the kind of mutation they were looking for that was important. Usually scientists look for genes with in gene copy errors or deleted genes, not duplications. Looking for a copy duplication mutation instead enabled them to find a partial copy that turned out to be important for the development of neurons. By looking for other duplication errors they may be able to find other interesting and important mutations that make humans what they are today.

isn't this the start of a movie plot? (5, Funny)

million_monkeys (2480792) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914157)

scientist 1: "We figured out the secret to human intelligence!"
scientist 2: "Let try it on those animals in the cage and see if we can make them super smart!"
scientist 1: "Good idea! I can't imagine any scenario where that could go wrong."
scientist 1&2: "Yay!"

in the background:
chimp 1: "Pass me some more smart drink"
chimp 2: "You got it buddy. Once we're smart enough to get this cage open, we are so gonna fuck them up..."

Re:isn't this the start of a movie plot? (2)

Wild_dog! (98536) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914263)

A book too. Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nihm. Amazing book as I remember when I was 8.

Re:isn't this the start of a movie plot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914501)

Russell Franklin: So here's the riddle. What does an eight thousand pound mako shark with a brain the size of a flat head V8 engine and no natural predators think about?
Carter Blake: Well, I'm not waiting around here to find out!

Could it be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914183)

we may never know.

Can you just stop asking questions in article headings. I'm here for information. Don't try to engage my enthusiasm I haven't got one.

I for one (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914211)

welcome our new rodent overlords.

Tree of Knowledge (2)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914243)

Does this mean we can pinpoint the time and place of Eden, when Adam and Eve bit the apple that led to this cell division?

Re:Tree of Knowledge (3, Informative)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914425)

Does this mean we can pinpoint the time and place of Eden, when Adam and Eve bit the apple that led to this cell division?

Well, using mitochondrial DNA, they have already found that all humans have a common mother some 200,000 years ago. As for the place, most scientist believe it was the eastern part of Africa. Probably not the answer you were looking for, though.

Re:Tree of Knowledge (0)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914567)

Yes: between 5700 and 10000 years ago (at least, according to roughly 45% of Americans).

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nihm, part deux (2)

Wild_dog! (98536) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914249)

Perhaps scientists are breeding the next super-race. A few super smart engineered rats get away and bam.... competition with the humans.

Mad Science Time (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914253)

Mice? A good start. Now start hacking more interesting species. I won't be happy until we have birds smart enough to carry on a conversation. Start with dogs, then sell them as super-pets to finance more research.

Re:Mad Science Time (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914351)

Nah, cats: Wiskers "More Super-Pop, Marshmallow, I feel like a brain-wave coming on." Marshmallow: "Muhahahahahah...just wait until we get opposable thumbs, then we can drive el dorko's car can get our own treats."

Re:Mad Science Time (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914387)

Yeah. Why stop at rodents? Sharks, for example would be really cool if they were super intelligent sharks. What could possibly go wrong?

Pinky: Brain.... (2)

vawwyakr (1992390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914287)

What are we going to do today?

Brain: What we do everyday Pinky.....try to take over the world!!!

Well, duh. (1)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914295)

They should have just asked me, I obviously knew this four years ago. [slashdot.org]

Uplift (2)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914305)

Hurry we need to get to work on Chimps and Fins so when the Galactics show up we will already be patrons.

Mice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914335)

What the study is saying that everyone comes from mice and rats, YOUR ALL RATS!

It wasn't a mistake. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914419)

It was a clever attempt to get around Monsanto's gene patents.

I've always wondered why we're so "smart" (2)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914421)

There isn't a need for it. Look at the fossil records of anything that was around for 100+ million years. You *hardly* need intelligence to survive.

Not to mention we have no natural predators besides viruses, which allows us to reproduce very unnaturally, and starts to favor very strange traits - traits that don't benefit the species but work because we have modern conveniences such as electricity, indoor lighting, cooling, heating, etc.

Headline fail (2)

saveferrousoxide (2566033) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914435)

FTFA: We may have been looking at the wrong types of mutations to explain human and great ape differences

The article isn't about whether it was a mutation, it's about identifying the specific mutation that put us down this path.

came for Pinky and the Brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914461)

and leaving disappointed.

"What are we going to do today Brain?"

"Same thing we do everyday, Pinky, Try to take over the World!"

Dejavu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914465)

I think Douglas Adams already had a thought about tests on mice.......

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39914473)

Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of La Jolla

Flowers for Algernon? (3, Insightful)

JerkBoB (7130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914539)

Nearly 90 posts, and no Flowers for Algernon reference yet? Illiterate bastards.

and... (1)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 2 years ago | (#39914553)

...count-down until someone in South Korea makes super-intelligent bonobos.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?