Researchers at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany have found out the difference between the metabolism of brain cells in humans and Neanderthals.
Deciphering the genome of Neanderthals showed that humans have approximately 2-4% of their genes. According to researchers, it was they who helped our ancestors to adapt to life in the north.
In their new work, the authors wanted to understand the differences in the metabolism of muscles, kidneys and brains of humans, chimpanzees, macaques and mice at the level of individual cells.
The authors found that the A429V mutation in the human ADSL gene, which is responsible for the assembly of an enzyme involved in the synthesis of various molecules with the nitrogenous compound purine, reduced the stability of the enzyme and also decreased the concentration of purine compounds in brain cells.
Despite the absence of living Neanderthals, we were able to determine the metabolic characteristics of modern humans and confirm our hypotheses in mouse and cell models.
Vita Stepanova, PhD student at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology and one of the authors of the study
From this, the authors concluded that this mutation is important for the development of unique human abilities, including a high level of intelligence. In particular, the authors note, disruptions in the metabolism of purines in brain cells often lead to severe intellectual disabilities.