The Scientist Magazine®

May 29, 2014 12:48 PM

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The Scientist Magazine®

WIKIMEDIA, LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER, JOHN A. BEALHumans may have traded brute strength for brain power, according to a paper published this week (May 27) in PLOS Biology. A team led by Phillipp Khaitovich, an evolutionary biologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Key Laboratory of Computational Biology in Shanghai, China, studied the metabolomes of five tissues—three from the brain, plus kidney and thigh muscle—in four animals—humans, chimps, rhesus monkeys, and mice.

The team recorded 10,000 different metabolites in each kind of tissue. They found that the metabolome profile for the human prefrontal cortex was strikingly different from those of other primates, and appeared to have evolved four times as fast as that of chimpanzees in the 6 million years since the...

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