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The ongoing adaptive evolution of ASPM and Microcephalin is not explained by increased intelligence

The ongoing adaptive evolution of ASPM and Microcephalin is not explained by increased intelligence,Nitzan Mekel-Bobrov,Danielle Posthuma,Sandra L. Gi

The ongoing adaptive evolution of ASPM and Microcephalin is not explained by increased intelligence   (Citations: 29)
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Recent studies have made great strides towards identifying putative genetic events underlying the evolution of the human brain and its emergent cognitive capacities. One of the most intriguing findings is the recurrent identification of adaptive evolution in genes associated with primary microcephaly, a developmental dis- order characterized by severe reduction in brain size and intelligence, reminiscent of the early hominid con- dition. This has led to the hypothesis that the adaptive evolution of these genes has contributed to the emergence of modern human cognition. As with other candidate loci, however, this hypothesis remains speculative due to the current lack of methodologies for characterizing the evolutionary function of these genes in humans. Two primary microcephaly genes, ASPM and Microcephalin, have been implicated not only in the adaptive evolution of the lineage leading to humans, but in ongoing selective sweeps in modern humans as well. The presence of both the putatively adaptive and neutral alleles at these loci pro- vides a unique opportunity for using normal trait variation within humans to test the hypothesis that the recent selective sweeps are driven by an advantage in cognitive abilities. Here, we report a large-scale association study between the adaptive alleles of these genes and normal variation in several measures of IQ. Five independent samples were used, totaling 2393 subjects, including both family-based and population-based datasets. Our overall findings do not support a detectable association between the recent adaptive evolution of either ASPM or Microcephalin and changes in IQ. As we enter the post-genomic era, with the number of candidate loci underlying human evolution growing rapidly, our findings highlight the importance of direct experimental validation in elucidating their evolutionary role in shaping the human phenotype.
Published in 2007.
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    • ...Later, it was proposed that these variations are not unusual, do not support selection and ongoing adaptive evolution of ASPM and MCPH1 is not explained by increased intelligence [112-114]...
    • ...It is important to mention that the derived haplogroups of ASPM and MCPH1 were apparently not found to be involved in variations in brain size [117], intelligence [112], head circumference, general mental ability, social intelligence [113,114] or the incidence of schizophrenia [118]...

    Saqib Mahmoodet al. Autosomal recessive primary microcephaly (MCPH): clinical manifestatio...

    • ...However, enthusiasm for ASPM as a key factor in primate brain evolution has been tempered by findings that mutations in ASPM are not correlated with cognitive ability [83,84] and by alternative roles for ASPM that might place it under selection more broadly, such as a role in ciliary function [85]...

    Kiwoong Namet al. Molecular evolution of genes in avian genomes

    • ...Heated discussion of these studies, their results, and how they were communicated to and interpreted by the public have continued [29] even though Lahn published subsequent work that concluded early genetic findings do not support a direct link to cognition [30]...

    Sarah Knerret al. Human difference in the genomic era: Facilitating a socially responsib...

    • ...Evolutionary studies of two of the known primary microcephaly-causing genes, microcephalin (MCPH1) and abnormal spindle-like microcephaly associated (ASPM), which encode proteins that influence neurogenic mitosis, reveal clear evidence for positive selection in the human lineage [,...

    Fabio Verginelliet al. Nutrigenetics in the Light of Human Evolution1

    • ..., 2006) or intelligence test scores (...

    J H Relethford. Genetic evidence and the modern human origins debate

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