Injury, inflammation and the emergence of human-specific genes

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Abstract

In light of the central role of inflammation in normal wound repair and regeneration, we hypothesize that the preponderance of human-specific genes expressed in human inflammatory cells is commensurate with the genetic versatility of inflammatory response and the emergence of injuries associated with uniquely hominid behaviors, like a bipedal posture and the use of tools, weapons and fire. The hypothesis underscores the need to study human-specific signaling pathways in experimental models of injury and infers that a selection of human-specific genes, driven in part by the response to injury, may have facilitated the emergence of multifunctional genes expressed in other tissues.

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