Evolutionary Changes in Transcriptional Regulation: Insights into Human Behavior and Neurological Conditions.

Annu Rev Neurosci. 2018 Jul 08;41:185-206

Authors: Doan RN, Shin T, Walsh CA

Understanding the biological basis for human-specific cognitive traits presents both immense challenges and unique opportunities. Although the question of what makes us human has been investigated with several different methods, the rise of comparative genomics, epigenomics, and medical genetics has provided tools to help narrow down and functionally assess the regions of the genome that seem evolutionarily relevant along the human lineage. In this review, we focus on how medical genetic cases have provided compelling functional evidence for genes and loci that appear to have interesting evolutionary signatures in humans. Furthermore, we examine a special class of noncoding regions, human accelerated regions (HARs), that have been suggested to show human-lineage-specific divergence, and how the use of clinical and population data has started to provide functional information to examine these regions. Finally, we outline methods that provide new insights into functional noncoding sequences in evolution.

PMID: 29986162 [PubMed – in process]

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