Higher Cognitive Thinking and Evolution: MGC8902

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Running Head: MGC8902

Higher Cognitive Thinking and Evolution

The popular play Inherit the Wind told the story of a school teacher who was to be jailed for teaching evolution in the classroom and pitted the two greatest lawyers against each other. A popular slogan from the anti-evolution group was "I didn't come from an ape!" The slogan should have been "I have more MGC8902 than an ape!" In the neocortex of the brain, "the region that is responsible for consciousness, language, and other higher cognitive functions" (Than, 2006), the expression of the gene MGC8902 is abundant though the presence of its coded protein DUF1220. The actual function of this protein is not entirely known, but it is speculated to be related to higher orders of thinking (Than, 2006). Such thinking is, but not limited to, emotions, language, and reasoning. From an evolutionary standpoint, it has been found that this gene is expressed in mammals but most significantly in primates (Popesco, 2006).

The amount of expression of this gene has been linked to the level of higher cognitive function. This expression is controlled by the number of copies of MGC8902 in a specific genome (Bray, 2006). Therefore, the level of higher cognitive function is associated with the number of copies of MGC8902.

Mutation, a mechanism of evolution, can be used as an explanation to this phenomenon. A type of mutation is duplication, where a set of genes are not only copied but also replicated again in a copy of the genome. One explanation of duplication is unequal crossover during Metaphase I in Meiosis I. (Appendix C) Unequal recombination means that half of the end gametes will end up having more copies of a gene, in this case MGC8902, and the other...