"Earlier research suggests that the amino-acid composition of human FOXP2 changed rapidly around the same time that language emerged in modern humans," said Dr. Daniel Geschwind, Gordon and Virginia MacDonald Distinguished Chair in Human Genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "Ours is the first study to examine the effect of these amino-acid substitutions in FOXP2 in human cells[...]
"We found that a significant number of the newly identified targets are expressed differently in human and chimpanzee brains," Geschwind said. "This suggests that FOXP2 drives these genes to behave differently in the two species."
The research demonstrates that mutations believed to be important to FOXP2's evolution in humans change how the gene functions, resulting in different gene targets being switched on or off in human and chimp brains.
Link via io9 | Image: US Department of Energy