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Brain Evolution May Play Role in Mental Illnesses

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By Robert Preidt


HealthDay Reporter



THURSDAY, Aug. 9, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Evolutionary changes in the human brain may be responsible for psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, new research suggests.


The researchers identified long, noncoding stretches of DNA (called “repeat arrays”) in a gene that governs calcium transport in the brain. Their findings were published Aug. 9 in the American Journal of Human Genetics.


“Changes in the structure and sequence of these nucleotide arrays likely contributed to changes in CACNA1C function during human evolution and may modulate neuropsychiatric disease risk in modern human populations,” senior author David Kingsley said in a journal news release. Kingsley is a professor of developmental biology at Stanford University in California.

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