A new study provides insight on the matter by demonstrating that a gene controlling our biological clocks also plays a vital role in regulating human-specific genes important to brain evolution. The findings from the O’Donnell Brain Institute open new paths of research into how CLOCK proteins produced by the CLOCK gene affect brain function and the processes by which neurons find their proper place in the brain.
Scientists have identified a pair of treatments that may restore brain function to autism patients who lack a gene critical to maintaining connections between neurons, according to a study from the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Although this gene has been linked to abnormal brain size, the research in mice demonstrates the gene has no such role and instead is needed to regulate a protein capable of inhibiting the ability of neurons to communicate with each other.