Scientists have elucidated the genetic programs that guide the formation and development of specific regions within the brain of rhesus monkeys. This study, the results of which appear in Nature, is important because it can help better understand how the human brain develops and identify neurodevelopmental processes involved in disorders such as autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia.
This work was designed and directed by investigators from the Allen Institute for Brain Sciences in Seattle and involved dozens of scientists from various institutions across the world, including Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Ed Lein, investigator at the Allen Institute, and colleagues created a high-resolution atlas of the development of rhesus monkey brain that uncovers, in fine levels of anatomical detail, how gene expression changes across time, from early gestation to young adulthood.
At the Human Genome Sequencing Center (HGSC) at Baylor, Dr. Jeffrey Rogers, associate professor of molecular and human genetics, and Dr. Richard Gibbs, professor and Wofford Cain Chair of molecular and human genetics, and director of the HGSC, contributed to this work by helping to associate observed changes in gene expression during development with significant human disease characteristics.