The Surface of the Brain Reveals Interference in Genes, Intelligence and Evolution.

The analysis of the characteristics of more than 600 brains indicates the links between the area of ​​the brain surface and the inheritance in important brain regions of perception.

Throughout our human development, our brains have expanded enormously. One of the areas that have been amplified in the last few million years is the cerebral cortex, the homogeneous outer layer of the brain. It handles sensory information, coordinates our movement and is responsible for our higher order functions, such as language processing and problem solving.

Scientists examine the structure of the cortex in search of evidence about its development throughout our lives and our evolution as a species and to understand where genetics intersects intelligence. A new study of hundreds of developing minds reveals an ideal superposition in areas of the cortical surface that develop from childhood to adulthood, expand during development and are associated with inheritance. Scientists have also found genetically mediated links between intelligence and scores from surface tests in areas related to intelligence, they said today (March 4) in the Journal of Neuroscience.

“I think it’s a very strong job,” says Rachel Brewer, a neuroscientist at the Utrecht University Medical Center in the Netherlands who was not part of the study. The authors choose which areas of the brain where variation is explained more than by genes, but when looking for links with evolutionary expansion and neuronal growth, “it is an attempt to link [inheritance] to what it really means in a larger image. “, she says.

The authors analyzed the brain scans taken by MRI of 677 children. The scans allow them to plan the brains of the children, revealing the pristine form of cortical play, grooves and files. By linking brain characteristics with genetic differences in their sample, researchers can observe how genes develop the brain during evolution and evolution.

Using image processing tools, the researchers measured the thickness of the crust and its surface area. “It’s a measure if you’ve taken the cortex fundamentally and detected it,” says Eric Schmidt, a neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and co-author of the study.

The results of the study indicate the importance of the surface area of ​​the brain in growth, which until recently has not received much attention, such as the total size or thickness of the crust, says Brewer.

The researchers also excavated these traits by comparing brains in a sample that included a large number of identical twins, brothers, sisters and family members. Using links to capture the common part of the gene based on the family relationship, they can discover the links between genetics and certain characteristics of the brain.

The surface area and structure of the brain vary widely among humans and the researchers found that the total area of ​​the brain is hereditary. Genetic factors accounted for 85 percent of the variance, similar to the results of previous studies. “That’s a big part of the variation … Schmidt says that genes are already dominant in the formation of the global surface.

The scientists also observed that the cortical thickness and surface area of ​​the brain were genetically linked to these children, unlike the previous findings of adults that “was interpreted to mean that different genetic factors were behind the development of surface area versus thickness cortical, “says John Gilmore, myself at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who was not involved in this work. Previously, Gilmore, Schmitt and colleagues showed a genetic association of corticosteroids and surface area in newborns in a study that inspired the project.

“If we can discover the real genes that cause this association,” says Brewer, “and why it starts to grow as people grow, it will really help us understand the growing mind.


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