Buried in this research is a great front-loading story. I’ll try to spell out it in small bites, as it will involve a seeming detour. Anyway, for now, have a looksie:
Darwin proposed that such traits are passed from a parent to their offspring, with natural selection favouring those that give the greatest advantage for survival, but did not have a scientific explanation for this process.
In new research the Leeds team reports that a protein known as REST plays a central role in switching specific genes on and off, thereby determining how specific traits develop in offspring.
The study shows that REST controls the process by which proteins are made, following the instructions encoded in genes. It also reveals that while REST regulates a core set of genes in all vertebrates, it has also evolved to work with a greater number of genes specific to mammals, in particular in the brain – potentially playing a leading role in the evolution of our intelligence.