Thank you Jellyfish & Co. for electrical impulses in our brains

Complex human nervous system was born much earlier that it was previously thought. New discoveries show that the ancestor of jelly fish, sea anemone and coral already had same channels producing electric signals 600 million years ago.

Scientists of Penn State University have recently published the study showing that electrical communication in human brains has evolved long before humans appeared - over 600 million years ago in ancestor of jellyfish, sea anemone and coral. The study presented in PNAS  examined the origin and evolution of two major families of voltage-gated K+ channels.

The complex signaling system in human neurons is rather ancient. Earlier assumptions that those systems evolved from earliest nervous systems were not correct, scientists say. The same channels that produce electrical signals in human brain have been used by ancestors of sea anemones and jelly fish in the same way already hundreds of millions years ago.

Further studies of electrical impulses in sea anemones may not only provide important information about the evolution of human nerve cells but also may help to better understand and develop treatments of human nervous system diseases.


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Image  by United Themes  / CC BY-SA 2.0

Tags: Science

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