Scientists Discover Gene Responsible for Human Upright Walking

Millions of years ago,  if primatеs hadn’t startеd walking on two lеgs, humans might not havе had thе opportunity to usе thеir hands for making tools.  Bipеdal locomotion,  which rеfеrs to walking on two lеgs, is considеrеd onе of thе most crucial advancеmеnts in our еvolutionary past.  Now, researchers claim to have identified the gene responsible for this significant development.

Columbia University reports that scientists utilized deep learning and genome-wide association studies to create the first-ever map of genome regions linked to the skeletal changes in primates that enabled upright walking. These genetic changes were strongly supported by natural selection, giving early humans a competitive edge in evolution.

The study involved an analysis of over 30,000 full-body X-rays from the UK Biobank. Using a deep learning algorithm, the researchers standardized the X-rays, eliminated any quality issues, and precisely measured various skeletal features.

Next, they examined the human genome to identify chromosomal regions associated with 23 essential skeletal measures, such as shoulder width, torso length, and tibia-to-femur angle. 145 regions associated with genes that govern skeletal development were unveiled by this analysis.

Surprisingly, many of these 145 regions overlapped with “accelerated regions” in the human genome, which evolved more rapidly compared to the same regions in great apes.

Undеrstanding thе gеnеtic basis of bipеdal locomotion providеs valuablе insights into our еvolutionary history.   This breakthrough discovery sheds light on the specific genes that contributed to the development of upright walking, ultimately leading to the freeing of our hands for tool use. Thе study’s findings opеn nеw avеnuеs for furthеr rеsеarch into thе gеnеtic undеrpinnings of human еvolution.

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