Discovery: Gene ZEB2 Determines Human Brain Size

After five weeks of development, a human brain organoid (left) is roughly twice the size of those from a chimpanzee (top right) and a gorilla (bottom right). (S. Benito-Kwiecinski / MRC LMB / Cell)

Experiments Find Gene Key to the Human Brain’s Large Size

by Alex Fox/

Human brains are big, and they get big fast. When we’re born, our noggins contain triple the number of neurons found in the skulls of newborn chimpanzees and gorillas, some of our closest relatives, even though all three species spend about the same amount of time in the womb. Now, new research published last week in the journal Cell identifies a molecular switch that may be key to triggering the human brain’s speedy development, reports Karina Shah for New Scientist.

“This provides some of the first insight into what is different about the developing human brain that sets us apart from our closest living relatives, the other great apes,” says Madeleine Lancaster, a developmental biologist with the United Kingdom’s Medical Research Council and the study’s lead author, in a statement. “The most striking difference between us and other apes is just how incredibly big our brains are.”

To compare the development of human brain cells with those of chimpanzees and gorillas, researchers grew tiny clusters of brain cells, called organoids, from stem cells in the lab. As expected, the human brain organoids raced ahead of the great apes.

Read More:


We See The World From All Sides and Want YOU To Be Fully Informed
In fact, intentional disinformation is a disgraceful scourge in media today. So to assuage any possible errant incorrect information posted herein, we strongly encourage you to seek corroboration from other non-VT sources before forming an educated opinion.

About VT - Policies & Disclosures - Comment Policy
Due to the nature of uncensored content posted by VT's fully independent international writers, VT cannot guarantee absolute validity. All content is owned by the author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images are the full responsibility of the article author and NOT VT.