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Modern Human Metaphase Slowdown Implicated in Accurate Chromosome Segregation, Brain Development

A team from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics and other centers in Germany and Japan presents evidence for an extended metaphase step during the mitotic cell division process in humans compared to Neanderthals — a delay suspected of dialing down chromosome segregation errors. For their study, appearing in Science Advances, the investigators focused on half a dozen modern human amino acid substitutions occurring in proteins with pronounced stem cell and developing neocortex expression. By introducing these modern human-specific substitutions into genetically modified mice, they showed that amino acid changes in the KIF18a and KNL1 proteins appear to draw out metaphase and dampen segregation errors, while the ancestral version of the proteins present prior to the human-Neanderthal split coincided with an abbreviated metaphase stage and more error-prone chromosome segregation. "These results imply that the fidelity of chromosome segregation during neocortex development improved in modern humans after their divergence from Neanderthals," the authors write.

The Scan

Open Pediatric Brain Tumor Atlas Team Introduces Genomic Data Collection, Analytical Tools

A study in Cell Genomics outlines open-source methods being used to analyze and translate whole-genome, exome, and RNA sequence data from the Pediatric Brain Tumor Atlas.

Neurological Outcomes Linked to Innate Immune Features After Cardiac Arrest

Researchers reporting in Med dig into immune features found a few hours after cardiac arrest that correspond with neurological outcomes.

Mouse Study Finds Circadian Rhythm-Related Gene Expression Changes Linked to Sleep Apnea

A paper in PLOS Biology reveals tissue-specific circadian rhythm and gene expression patterns in an intermittent hypoxia-based mouse model of obstructive sleep apnea.

Polygenic Risk Score to Predict Preeclampsia, Gestational Hypertension in Pregnant Women

Researchers in Nature Medicine provide new mechanistic insights into the development of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, which may help develop therapeutics.