• The mouse that was experimented on expressed a gene called Pax6 during embryonic development, which is highly expressed in a specific group of brain cortical cells called neural progenitor stem cells.

  • Typical mouse basal progenitors, in contrast to human, do not express Pax6. In humans, basal progenitors can undergo multiple rounds of cell division, thereby substantially increasing neuron number and ultimately the size of the neocortex.

  • Wieland Huttner, the research group leader, said that “the findings contribute to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying this expansion. While the findings demonstrate how altering the expression of a single key gene can make a big difference to brain development, a future challenge will be to obtain a comprehensive, integrated view of all the molecular changes that made our brains big.”

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