Research NewsEvolution

In Mice, Mom's Genes Favor Brains Over Brawn

Science  29 May 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5368, pp. 1346
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5368.1346

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Using a process called genomic imprinting, in which regulatory genes silence one copy of a gene, researchers have created two strains of mice, one bred to express more copies of genes inherited from their mothers and one bred to express more paternal genes. Surprisingly, the ones with the maternal genes had big brains and small bodies, while those with the paternal genes had small brains and big bodies, which parallels the notion that in humans, mothers invest extra energy in their young to promote larger brains (see main text).