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Integrative omics reveals rapidly evolving regulatory sequences driving primate brain evolution

Zhuang, Xiao-Lin, Zhang, Jin-Jin, Shao, Yong, Ye, Yaxin, Chen, Chun-Yan, Zhou, Long, Wang, Zheng-bo, Luo, Xin, Su, Bing, Yao, Yong-Gang, Cooper, David N. ORCID:, Hu, Ben-Xia, Wang, Lu, Qi, Xiao-Guang, Lin, Jiangwei, Zhang, Guo-Jie, Wang, Wen, Sheng, Nengyin and Wu, Dong-Dong 2023. Integrative omics reveals rapidly evolving regulatory sequences driving primate brain evolution. Molecular Biology and Evolution 40 (8) , msad173. 10.1093/molbev/msad173

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Although the continual expansion of the brain during primate evolution accounts for our enhanced cognitive capabilities, the drivers of brain evolution have scarcely been explored in these ancestral nodes. Here, we performed large-scale comparative genomic, transcriptomic, and epigenomic analyses to investigate the evolutionary alterations acquired by brain genes and provide comprehensive listings of innovatory genetic elements along the evolutionary path from ancestral primates to human. The regulatory sequences associated with brain-expressed genes experienced rapid change, particularly in the ancestor of the Simiiformes. Extensive comparisons of single-cell and bulk transcriptomic data between primate and nonprimate brains revealed that these regulatory sequences may drive the high expression of certain genes in primate brains. Employing in utero electroporation into mouse embryonic cortex, we show that the primate-specific brain-biased gene BMP7 was recruited, probably in the ancestor of the Simiiformes, to regulate neuronal proliferation in the primate ventricular zone. Our study provides a comprehensive listing of genes and regulatory changes along the brain evolution lineage of ancestral primates leading to human. These data should be invaluable for future functional studies that will deepen our understanding not only of the genetic basis of human brain evolution but also of inherited disease.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0737-4038
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 August 2023
Date of Acceptance: 26 July 2023
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2023 17:32

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