Heide M, Long KR, Huttner WB (2017) Novel gene function and regulation in neocortex expansion. Curr Opin Cell Biol 49: 22-30

The expansion of the neocortex during human evolution is due to changes in our genome that result in increased and prolonged proliferation of neural stem and progenitor cells during neocortex development. Three principal types of such genomic changes can be distinguished, first, novel gene regulation in human, second, novel function in human of genes existing in both human and non-human species, and third, novel, human-specific genes. The latter comprise both, increases in the copy number of genes existing also in non-human species, and the emergence of genes giving rise to unique, human-specific gene products. Examples of all these types of changes in the human genome have been identified, with ARHGAP11B constituting a paradigmatic example of a unique, human-specific protein.

Pubmed: 29227861