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'Predecessor' Neurons to Human Brain Discovered 218

Yale researchers claim to have found the very first neurons in what eventually becomes the human brain. Developed before most anything else, these neurons are in place just 31 days after fertilization. From the article: "We hypothesize that these predecessor neurons may be a transient population involved in determining the number of functional radial units including the human specific regions of the cerebral cortex mediating higher cognitive functions," Rakic said. "As a next step it is essential to determine their neural stem cell lineage, pattern of gene expression, developmental role and eventual fate."
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'Predecessor' Neurons to Human Brain Discovered

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  • by riff420 ( 810435 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @11:44PM (#15764994)
    and on the 32nd day, the currently dim-witted embryo signs up for a myspace account.
    • Where it's writing emo blog entrees about how he's going to get killed by stem cell researchers?
  • I see... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kagura ( 843695 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @11:44PM (#15764995)
    "We hypothesize that these predecessor neurons may be a transient population involved in determining the number of functional radial units including the human specific regions of the cerebral cortex mediating higher cognitive functions..."

    Oh, wow. That's actually pretty clear! It's actually all written right there. I suppose it was a real head-smacking time down at the lab when this statement came down the line, being so obvious.
    • I think I have established unequivocally that I do not have enough neurons to understand what the heck they said with that sentence. Yikes.
    • Let me help you. I will put it in words you can understand. "We is thinkin that these little thingies is there before the little thingies we call brain thingies that make us think. They ain't stickin' around and if we ain't got 'em, we ain't got no brain parts." Does that help?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I can hear the "human life begins at conception" crowd exploiting this just now.
    • by eln ( 21727 ) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @12:01AM (#15765033) Homepage
      "pro life" and "pro choice" people are talking past each other anyway. Pro lifers believe everything with the potential for becoming life (zygote onwards in some cases) should be protected, while pro choicers believe things that only things which would be viable life forms outside of the womb should be protected.

      This discovery means nothing in this debate, because the basic concept of what constitutes life (potential life versus viable life) is not affected. Sure, some pro life groups may choose to add this to their stable of propaganda, but it probably isn't going to change the debate in any meaningful way.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        ...Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is great... ...If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate....

        If the souls of aborted babies go to heaven, then shoudn't the christians ENCOURAGE abortion as much as possible? Especially in athiests? I mean, saving the child's soul is the most important thing, right? What kind of loving parent would allow the child's soul to come in danger of eternal torment, when salvation is just an abortion away? :)

        • by lbrandy ( 923907 ) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @01:31AM (#15765162)
          If the souls of aborted babies go to heaven, then shoudn't the christians ENCOURAGE abortion as much as possible? Especially in athiests? I mean, saving the child's soul is the most important thing, right? What kind of loving parent would allow the child's soul to come in danger of eternal torment, when salvation is just an abortion away? :)

          Sarcasm doesn't work to point out the goofiness of religion when you get the premise wrong. The Catholic Church says, quite literally, "We don't know what happens to unbaptised babies who die... we just assume God does the right thing".

          As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"[63] allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism.
          Source: Some official Church thing circa 1992 [columbia.edu]. John Paul II said something very similar later on in one of his little letters on abortion.

          As I understand it... the Church basically admits, on this particular issue, that God may "let" people into heaven through ways "unknown" to the Church. This concept intruiges me.
          • All I want to know is do I get to go to heaven if I buy a big truck and put a BushCheney sticker on it?
          • by lav-chan ( 815252 ) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @04:25AM (#15765384)

            The Catholic Church says, quite literally, "We don't know what happens to unbaptised babies who die... we just assume God does the right thing".

            It'd be cool if they applied that line of thought to... anybody else, really.

            It's funny how the Church seems to know exactly what God is thinking when it comes to homosexuals and transgendered people and pre-marital sex and all that jazz, but when it turns the subject of babies they're suddenly too humble to speculate.

            • The difference is that the Bible and the teachings of the Apostles (and natural law, in many cases) explicitly tell us that extramarital sex, homosexual acts, etc. are wrong; but the Bible doesn't say anything about what happens to unbaptized children who die.

              Unbaptized children don't have justifying grace (which is normally received through baptism), and so they shouldn't be able to go to heaven. On the other hand, they haven't personally sinned, so they shouldn't go to hell either. One theory that attem
              • The difference is that the Bible and the teachings of the Apostles (and natural law, in many cases) explicitly tell us that extramarital sex, homosexual acts, etc. are wrong
                Not to mention shellfish! [godhatesshrimp.com]
                • That's part of the Law of Moses, and doesn't apply anymore.

                  Acts 10:10-16
                  And he became hungry and desired something to eat; but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heaven opened, and something descending, like a great sheet, let down by four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air.
                  And there came a voice to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat."
                  But Peter said, "No, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean."
                  And the
              • The difference is that the Bible and the teachings of the Apostles (and natural law, in many cases) explicitly tell us that extramarital sex, homosexual acts, etc. are wrong

                The only 'explicit' mention of homosexuality is in Leviticus (that's the 'Law of Moses' that doesn't apply to you anymore, as you point out below), right after the part where it says adulterers should be put to death, and right before the part where it says a man and woman who sleep together during the woman's period ('sickness') sho

            • Whoever scored as a troll the post saying

              It's funny how the Church seems to know exactly what God is thinking when it comes to homosexuals and transgendered people and pre-marital sex and all that jazz, but when it turns the subject of babies they're suddenly too humble to speculate.

              is either clueless or humorless or all the above. If I had mod points I'd rectify the situation. On the other hand, maybe Slashdot DOES has readers in the Bible belt. Let me test this. Hey -- any of you all married your siste

          • the church doesn't admit it, it hopes for it.
          • Life is like a friendly golf game, the baby takes a mulligan. It doesn't become competitive until the about the mid-way point.
      • "pro life" and "pro choice" people are talking past each other anyway. Pro lifers believe everything with the potential for becoming life (zygote onwards in some cases) should be protected, while pro choicers believe things that only things which would be viable life forms outside of the womb should be protected.

        That is an interesting perspective. As science progresses, the set of all life which is "viable outside of the womb" is going to eventually be equal to the set of all "potential for becoming lif
        • As science progresses, the set of all life which is "viable outside of the womb" is going to eventually be equal to the set of all "potential for becoming life".

          Not likely, since a lot of that early stuff isn't even viable inside the womb. This is a point that "pro-life" folk tend to ignore. The fact is, most fertilized ova don't even properly implant in the womb, and of those that do many don't make it much past the first month, for purely natural reasons -- including cases where there was never an embry
      • FTFA: Predecessor cells, unlike mature nerve cells, do not have synaptic connection with other neurons.

        In other words: the cells in question aren't actually linked to anything.

        OTOH, various anti-abortion groups have a tendancy to pick and choose their facts.

        I expect some modified form of these findings will quickly begin making the e-mail circuit and it'll becomes 'common' knowledge (amongst the activists) that babies have "brains" 31 days after fertilization.

        I find it unfortunate that they often end up usi
      • Almost right. At the extremes (which in this debate includes almost everyone) pro-lifers believe that life begins at conception and pro-choicers believe that life begins at birth. I'll go out on a limb and say that both perspectives are absurd. But thems the lines that have been drawn and there's no hope for reconciliation that I can see.

        My main point in responding is to correct the idea that pro-choicers draw a line at viability -- there are many abortions performed after viability and that is in line w
        • Clarification (Score:3, Insightful)

          by eonlabs ( 921625 )
          I'm only speaking for myself and anyone who decides to agree with me after I've made this statement.

          I'm pro-choice.
          Life begins before conception.
          It is continued through conception, and lasts onward through birth.

          Before about the sixth month, a human baby will not be able to
          develop a fully functional brain if removed from the uterus.
          Up until that point, I feel that if a woman doesn't feel they can
          raise a child properly, they should have the right to stop their
          pregnancy in a method safe for themselves. It's
          • The fanatical pro-lifers that you're trolling for here aren't going to respond.

            Why? Simply put, because fanatical pro-lifer types aren't very technically inclined. I am sure that most of them think of the Internet as a series of tubes and is probably easily offended by daily "Internets" to their inboxes advertising viagra.

            Seriously though, I've spoken with many pro-lifers. My experience suggests that pro-lifers generally have a low IQ (sub 100). They are fanatical about their beliefs and their opinions.
      • Actually, it means something to me, if that matters. I support abortion rights only until it cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the baby is sentient ("I think therefore I am" seems like the best standard for issues like this). Therefore this means I support abortion rights until appx the 31st day. Prior to this I was actually under the mistaken impression that brain mass developed earlier than it does. So this makes me marginally more pro-choice, though I guess I am still what you would call "p
      • Not necessarily, you are looking at the extremes of both.

        I am pro-life, but I think that the right to life comes with self-awareness. It is pretty clear that unborn children have developed fairly complex mental activity well within the range within which abortion is allowed in most countries.

        On the other had I know pro-abortion people who are definitely not in favour of abortion up to birth.

        Incidentally abortion is many countries is allowed for babys who would be viable outside the womb - the limit in the U
      • "pro life" and "pro choice" people are talking past each other anyway. Pro lifers believe everything with the potential for becoming life (zygote onwards in some cases) should be protected, while pro choicers believe things that only things which would be viable life forms outside of the womb should be protected.

        That's the root of it. But the "talking past each other" extends further. Stemming largely from their belief that life (or really, personhood) begins at or near conception, the pro-life side believ

      • I'm pro-choice all the way, man.. And I don't draw the line of "viable life" upon the exit of the womb! I mean, could that be any more arbitrary? Of course not.

        Personally, I'm all for legislation that legalizes retroactive abortions, up to about age 23 or so... And should such a law come to pass I already have a list of several deserving candidates!

    • I guess your post is a preemptive strike.

      You have a huge hurdle to overcome. How do you accuse the pro-lifers of trying to push their religious beliefs on other people if they are using science to justify their position?

      LK
      • by lbrandy ( 923907 ) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @01:44AM (#15765180)
        How do you accuse the pro-lifers of trying to push their religious beliefs on other people if they are using science to justify their position?

        Right below the post about people "talking passed each other", and you come up with the perfect example of it. I'm not religious, and I'm not really pro-life (I am one of the 9 people in this country who is neither pro-life nor pro-choice... I consider myself a populist on this particular subject.) Religious people aren't "pushing their beliefs on you". That's a fear-mongering tactic used by one side. That's basically equal to asking if you like killing babies. The fundamental question is when does life begin. That's a question that every society must answer. Everyone agrees that killing a person is wrong. The question becomes.. when does society agree that this is, in fact, a person. Pretending pro-life is about a bunch of religious zealots trying to push their religion on you completely and utterly misses the point. It's bordering on an ad hominem fallacy, to be sure.

        This is no more about religious belief as it is about believing in freedom. Everyone believes you should be free to do with your body what you want, and everyone believes that murder should be wrong. The disagreement is when does "your body" become "their body". If you think you have an answer to that question, that defines which side of the line you are on. Adding any of the rest of this tagentially related strawmen (you hate women! you murder babies! religious freak! promiscious whore!) to the picture just inflames the situation and destroys conversation.
        • The fundamental question is when does life begin. That's a question that every society must answer

          IMHO, humans managed to answer that question a long time ago. Life began millenia ago, and, assuming that you believe Darwin knew what he was talking about, it is our obligation as a species to continue the propogation of life. When you take this kind of view, you arrive at the conclusion that not only is abortion "killing babies," but so is everything from effective use of condoms, birth control, and yes
          • assuming that you believe Darwin knew what he was talking about, it is our obligation as a species to continue the propogation of life. When you take this kind of view, you arrive at the conclusion that not only is abortion "killing babies," but so is everything from effective use of condoms, birth control, and yes, even celibacy.

            Measures that contain sperm, such as abstinence or condom use, extend the life of existing organisms because they ensure that new life does not compete for resources that could b

        • Something that can give insight, though, is how they feel about someone dying. Many pro-lifers consider a person dead if they're brain-dead, even if brain cells exist and the rest of the body is doing just fine (and that's going to the lowest common denominator, past sentience and other standards of whether or not they're "living"). Yet they'll consider a fetus alive with just one cell living, regardless if it's the equivalent of brain-dead or not.

          So although I disagree with pro-lifers, I can at least und
          • There's a big difference between someone that's brain dead and someone that's still a developing embryo. As long as exigent circumstances don't affect the embryo (toxins, trauma, etc.), that embryo will usually develop into a birth-viable fetus. A brain dead adult, barring those same exigent circumstances (excepting, of course, the circumstances that caused brain death in the first place) will not repair its brain or otherwise progress in any way.

        • Everyone agrees that killing a person is wrong.

          No, everyone does not agree. In an ironic twist, many so-called pro-lifers enthusiastically support capital punishment. Otherwise, a rare display of calm and rational thinking in this debate. Thank you, lbrandy.
          • Even more ironic: many pro-choicers are against the death penalty.
            • That's not ironic, it's consistant. A pro-choicers/anti-death penalty type does not consider a fetus a person but does consider a murderer a person and considers killing people bad - hence they have no problem with abortion but do have a problem with capital punishment.

              A pro-lifer/pro-death penalty type does consider a fetus a person and does consider a murderer a person and yet thinks abortion is wrong but capital punishment is good. This is also consistent, they believe that only "bad" people should be ki
          • many so-called pro-lifers enthusiastically support capital punishment.

            That's because a felon on death row is guilty of sin ("thou shalt not commit murder"), while the unborn baby girl inside her mother is not.

          • Whoa, my first Troll modding. I'm honored, O right-wing mods.
        • This is no more about religious belief as it is about believing in freedom. Everyone believes you should be free to do with your body what you want, and everyone believes that murder should be wrong. The disagreement is when does "your body" become "their body". If you think you have an answer to that question, that defines which side of the line you are on.

          Ok, so let us assume you are on neither side of the line, so you don't think you have an answer to that question. So you admit that both sides may be wr

        • Pretending pro-life is about a bunch of religious zealots trying to push their religion on you completely and utterly misses the point. It's bordering on an ad hominem fallacy, to be sure.

          This is no more about religious belief as it is about believing in freedom.

          Causation is questionable. But the correlation is obvious. To claim that it isn't about religious belief is even less defensible than claiming that it is. There clearly IS a relationship of some kind. And regardless of whether you agree that it's

        • The fundamental question is when does life begin.

          That question isn't well posed. Eggs are alive. Sperm are alive. Zygotes and embryos and fetuses and infants are all alive. A better question needs to be asked.

          The disagreement is when does "your body" become "their body"

          I view it as a disagreement over whether the state can force you to give birth or not. The only reason this has become such an issue in recent human history is because, for the first time, the state has taken an active interest in abortion. S
        • you use "everyone" pretty liberally. not everyone believes in your freedoms even regarding your body and not everyone values human life as most do. In the US we have restrictions on what we can do regarding our own health and the health of our families and we also have the death penalty. Mass murderers don't respect the value of life and judges don't respect the sanctity of the body when they order medical treatment against the wishes of the person or the family. If you think your body is yours to choose,
        • by radtea ( 464814 ) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @10:19AM (#15765945)
          The fundamental question is when does life begin. That's a question that every society must answer. Everyone agrees that killing a person is wrong.

          No, no, no.

          Most human societies throughout most of history have had accepted practices for getting rid of unwanted children. These practices usually involved some form of infanticide [wikipedia.org]. Almost everyone almost everywhere agrees that the practice of killing infants is sometimes justified. The Jews were notable exceptions in the ancient world, and were considered weird by the Romans because of it.

          So let's not start the debate with trivial falsehoods.

          Nor has there ever been any doubt about or question about when "life begins" in societies that practice infanticide. The modern Indian or Chinese peasents who allow female children to die are not in any doubt as to the fact that their children are alive! What they are in doubt about is how valuable those lives are. That has been the fundamental question in most human societies throughout most of history.

          Nor is it the case that "everyone agrees that killing a person is wrong." The obvious counter-example, alluded to in other replies, are advocates of capital punishment.

          Stripped on the lies and dishonesty that colour the picture on both sides of the fence, the question regarding abortion is this: Should a mother be allowed by society to choose to end her child's life in early pregnancy? I believe any humane invidual who is aware of the social realities will eventually realize that the answer to this question is clearly, yes. Killing an unwanted child is not a good thing. But giving birth to an unwanted child is a far, far greater evil. And taking the choice away from the adult whose life and body are most greatly affected by the decision, and who can reasonably be assumed to have the child's well-being more strongly in her mind than anyone else, is the greatest evil of all.

          But so long as the debate is clouded by irrelevant non-questions like, "Is a zygote alive?" there will be no resolution. Of course a zygote is alive. Only an idiot would suggest otherwise. Every single cell in our bodies is alive, and with sufficient technological intervention it is quite likely that some day every single one of them will be a "potential human being." So long as the debate centres around this kind of nonsense rather than the real question of how or whether to practice infanticide in the modern world, it will just be a lot of pointless noise.
          • But giving birth to an unwanted child is a far, far greater evil.

            No child is unwanted. There are thousands of couples who are waiting to adopt your baby; what they lack in fertility they have in loving kindness.

            • Yeah, if the baby is Caucasian and healthy, and the mother wasn't on drugs or alcohol, there wasn't any abuse in foster homes... etc, then there's a chance of adoption. People will rarely adpot a child that's a different race or has any kind of developmental problems. Many potential adopters want to know the genetic history of the mother... was she tall, attractive, did she get good grades in school, etc, and will reject the baby based on that.

              So if you were born to a black crack whore, your chances of ge
        • I've seen the exact same arguments applied to banning the eating of pork. The parent post's position would be similar for that but not get mod up.

          Its hair splitting based on beliefs. The way the republic is supposed to work is that disputed beliefs are not imposed on others.

          Both sides of the argument are NOT the same. One actually IMPOSES on you legal definitions which as a result takes away freedoms; the other does not, because you can't impose freedom by definition.

          If you can't eat pork because its sacril
    • I can hear the "human life begins at conception" crowd exploiting this just now.
      As opposed to what other crowd? Who's making the arguement that a growing embryo isn't alive? Certainly not any biologist or person with medical training. Who's making the arguement that that it's not human? What is it then, a monkey? Can I claim teenagers as hyenas? Are we just randomly lobbing people out of the human race now?
  • Substrates (Score:4, Funny)

    by headkase ( 533448 ) on Saturday July 22, 2006 @11:56PM (#15765020)
    Some are afraid of artificial intelligence. I'm afraid I'll have to get my kid "enhanced" just so he can keep up in school. Meat is programmable too. Knowledge is good but ethics will hopefully ease our future obsolescence.
    • Re:Substrates (Score:3, Interesting)

      Speaking as a genius plus, intelligence isn't nearly as useful as people make it out to be. Sure, it helps, but it can also screw you good.

      For instance, you tend to see things as obvious which aren't to most people, so you don't explain as much. Figuring out what needs extra exposition is actually hard. Conversely, school before college is so boring and slow that you may have trouble staying awake. Psychologically, you may get an attitude because you know more than others, or you may hole yourself up in so

      • Figuring out what needs extra exposition is actually hard

        Even for a genius plus?
        • Yeah, even for a genius plus. You'd think it'd be easy to find out what's easy and what's hard for someone else, or an audience of normal intelligence, but nooooo.
          • Is it possible that a genius might exist such that their developed ability would be to easily figure out what's easy and what's hard for someone else?

            I just think it must be at least theoretically possible, since I've know people with what seem to be remarkable predispositions for certain intellectual specializations, like math or physics. When I read your earlier comment, I wondered if it might not be possible for someone to possess an intellectual predisposition for knowing what's easy and hard for ot
            • Is it possible that a genius might exist such that their developed ability would be to easily figure out what's easy and what's hard for someone else?

              Sure, that's even probable, but we don't measure for that when doing IQ tests.

              • Sure, that's even probable, but we don't measure for that when doing IQ tests.

                That sounds like a job for a genius

            • Part of the problem is that intelligence isn't a 1-axis entity. It's especially inapt regarding interacting with others. Many borderline retards are great at reading others and make great salesmen/politicians. Many geniuses are bad at interacting with others, even minimally.

              I think there's definitely an ability to communicate effectively. It's probably partly innate, partly cultivated.

        • I would say especially for a genius plus. I'm not quite that smart, though I am significantly enough above average that I have the same problem. If you can't tell whether or not your audience will understand, you wind up either not explaining enough, in which case they feel stupid and are embarrassed that they don't understand and get irritated with you for making them look stupid, or you explain too much, in which case they get irritated with you for treating them like a moron. There's a very fine line bet
    • you watch too much DS9, just because julian was, doesn't mean that its a good idea, just remember the other whacko's who had that done and ended up nut cases.
      • They were dysfunctional individually but in some episodes they worked together to compute things that were beyond even starfleet's capabilities. Ultimately they were wrong but that was because of unknown factors such as the plague that affected the shapeshifters.

        On long time scales (1000+ years), unless we're stupid enough to kill all of ourselves, genetic programming is inevitable. Just say it takes centuries to become reliable and palatable enough to take root. Once the knowledge and ability is prese
    • I'm afraid I'll have to get my kid "enhanced" just so he can keep up in school. Meat is programmable too. Knowledge is good but ethics will hopefully ease our future obsolescence

      How can you not want your kid to posess superior intellect [khaaan.com]
    • I'm afraid I'll have to get my kid "enhanced" just so he can keep up in school.

      Not to worry. With the way the powers that be [nea.org] seem to be bent on lowering school standards [newswithviews.com], you just might be called on to "de-enhance" [wikipedia.org] your kid, instead.
  • by macadamia_harold ( 947445 ) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @12:05AM (#15765038) Homepage
    Yale researchers claim to have found the very first neurons in what eventually becomes the human brain.

    The human brain isn't made out of neurons. It is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.
    • While your quote in context is humorous, it does remind me to mention that a handfull of neurons does not in any way equate intelligence. In terms of computing, where the adult human brain is roughly equivalent to 1E+18 operations/sec., and the brain stores roughly one petabyte of data, even an abacus is a more complex computational device in terms of processing power and even data storage. I'm sure it has some remarkably limited function at that point, but nowhere near enough so to make any real difference
      • "the adult human brain is roughly equivalent to 1E+18 operations/sec., and the brain stores roughly one petabyte of data"

        Do you have sources for that? I had assumed our knowledge on how data was stored and processed in our brain was so limited that any calculation of its power were wild guesses. Sure, we can count the number of brain cells and connections, but we do not know how much information is stored there. The idea of a quantum [wikipedia.org] brain [wikipedia.org] for example may not be very likely, but neither has anyone been a

        • by s13g3 ( 110658 )
          From a Unesco Courier article [unesco.org] siderbar: "According to Moore's Law, computing power doubles every two years. By around 2020, a personal computer will have exactly the same processing power as a single human brain."

          I remember reading something similiar ages ago, though the projected date was somewhere between 2020 and 2025, allowing for variances in the actual rate of progess before a desktop-grade PC would reach the roughly 1 billion billion ops/sec @ 1 petabyte storage that was the stated theoretical digita
          • Thanks for that answer! It was exactly what my brain was looking for.
  • Oh, awesome! Yale researchers have discovered the new Pro-Life debate! Those guys are amazing.
  • by BilZ0r ( 990457 ) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @02:05AM (#15765201) Homepage
    All this is evidence of is how efficient the marketing departments of large institutions like Yale and Oxford are. This paper is novel for one reason: it is in human embryos. Sure, they found a population of neurons earlier than, and different from, those in any other species, but the role of these neurons or even if they survive for long, is unknown. It is worth noting that these embryos were harvested from a Russian abortion clinic. Makes me wonder whether they shipped the whole embryo, the slices of the brain, or just the data over to Oxford. -BilZ0r www.ilikethings.net [ilikethings.net]
    • But it also shows large prospects for brain genetics. To know the pattern of gene expression at this stage could point to specific genes that cause some of the structural variation in human brains. IOW, identifying genes that contribute to disease or high intelligence, both interesting and potentially useful.
  • "We hypothesize that these predecessor neurons may be a transient population involved in determining the number of functional radial units including the human specific regions of the cerebral cortex mediating higher cognitive functions..."
    Is that a fancy way of saying the neurons are a boot loader?
  • They've apparently discovered one of the processes stemming from the ultimate make. I mean, here's God doing 'make -j$infinity' on a human genome source tree, and 31 days into the actual build, this happens. Interesting. I think.
  • Hrm.. Article seems to have a very misleading title. The neuron depicted in the
    image certainly has nothing to do with thinking; It clearly has very little if any
    dendrites, although it does have a clearly definable axon, and thus this is a unipolar
    neuron, already known to exist in embryonic tissue!

    Neuron types [neuromedia.ca]

    It doesn't article seem to be very groundbreaking work, however it does seem to jive well
    with the function of the Cajal-Retzius cells found in Layer 1 of the cerebral cortex. It is
    probable that these ce
  • by smchris ( 464899 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @06:10AM (#15768440)
    Unfortunately, fetal experimentation will be against the law so when they test it on mice, mice _will_ be the most intelligent species on earth.

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay

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