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Microcephaly genes & the evolution of primate brain size

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr James Kirkbride.

One of the most significant trends during primate evolution has been the expansion of the brain. Although this trend is most pronounced in humans, brain size has increased independently in all major groups of primates. Recently genetic studies have identified a number of genes, including a class of genes called the microcephaly genes, which are involved in brain size development and have evolved under positive selection along lineages leading to humans. However these studies were based on only a few primate species and the link to brain size is unconfirmed.

This talk will explore whether the evolution of these genes and brain size are intimately linked, and whether this pattern is limited to human evolution.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Science Seminars series.

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