Decrease in bone-building protein helped enable upright walking
V.B. Indjeian et al/Cell 2016
Small tweaks of one gene may have helped humans to walk upright.
Losing a genetic switch that increases production of a protein called GDF6 may have created the big toe and helped shape the human foot for bipedalism, scientists propose in a paper published online January 7 in Cell. “This change is one that makes all humans different from other animals,” says developmental geneticist David Kingsley, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Stanford University.