CARTA: Imagining the Future of Anthropogeny - Using Stem Cells to Study Human Origins with Carol Marchetto

11/26/2022; 22 minutes

The human brain has a larger mass with respect to body weight, increased cortical neurons with respect to size, an expanded proliferative zone, and unique connectivity patterns. Human-specific neurodevelopment is not only marked by physical differences, but also by temporal changes. Human neurons, during both prenatal neurodevelopment and adult neurogenesis, exhibit an exceptionally delayed time course, a characteristic termed neoteny. Signatures of human-specific neoteny have been observed and reproduced across different systems including induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) and brain organoids models. We compared neurogenesis across stem cells from five primate species - rhesus, gorilla, bonobo, chimpanzee, human - and assessed the differences in transcriptional dynamics. We identified a pioneer transcription factor, GATA3, that exhibited elevated neuronal expression only in humans. This finding provides evidence for the divergence of gene regulation as a contributor to human neoteny. (#38301)

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