Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Insights into primate diversity: Lessons from the rhesus macaque

Date:
June 29, 2012
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
The rhesus macaque has three times as much genetic variation as humans. However despite much of this extra variation within genes, protein function is not affected. Consequently damaging variations are at similar levels in macaques and humans -- indicating a strong selection pressure to maintain gene function regardless of mutation rate or population size.

The rhesus macaque has three times as much genetic variation than humans.
Credit: David Goldman

New research published in BMC Genetics shows that the rhesus macaque has three times as much genetic variation as humans. However despite much of this extra variation within genes, protein function is not affected. Consequently damaging variations are at similar levels in macaques and humans -- indicating a strong selection pressure to maintain gene function regardless of mutation rate or population size.

Humans and rhesus macaques shared a common ancestor approximately 25 million years ago. Although there are now over seven billion humans on the planet only 100,000 years ago the human population was as low as one million. The effective human population, the number of people required to explain current genetic variation rate, was until recently less than 8,000.

The population size of rhesus macaques is in the millions and is exceeded only by humans (among primates). However there are 13 subspecies which have evolved to exploit environments as diverse as savannah and forests, and across a range of climate zones.

A team of researchers led by Christina Barr and David Goldman from the NIH determined that the effective population size for these primates was 80,000, ten times that of humans. Analysis of genetic variation, using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), showed that the macaque genome had three times higher genetic variation than humans. Most of these SNP were previously unknown and were disproportionally found in functionally important regions of DNA and each known gene had at least one SNP.

Dr. Goldman explained, "Although macaques have more variation than humans in the protein coding regions of genes, the ratio of variation in these regions compared to non-coding regions is significantly lower. Additionally the macaque variation is less likely to alter protein function. This brings down the amount of damaging variation to a level close to what was actually seen in humans."

Dr Barr continued "Our comparative approach across primate species (human and macaques) gives us a genomic view of evolutionary selection and reaffirms the effects of population history on genetic variation. Not very long ago, on an evolutionary timescale, there were more macaques than people, and the genomes of both species are a legacy of those times past."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Qiaoping Yuan, Zhifeng Zhou, Stephen G Lindell, James Dee Higley, Betsy Ferguson, Robert C Thompson, Juan F Lopez, Stephen J Suomi, Basel Baghal, Maggie Baker, Deborah C Mash, Christina S Barr and David Goldman. The rhesus macaque is three times as diverse but more closely equivalent in damaging coding variation as compared to the human. BMC Genetics, 2012 [link]

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Insights into primate diversity: Lessons from the rhesus macaque." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120629005454.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2012, June 29). Insights into primate diversity: Lessons from the rhesus macaque. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120629005454.htm
BioMed Central. "Insights into primate diversity: Lessons from the rhesus macaque." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120629005454.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — New research has shown that the Spinosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur, might have been just as well suited for life in the water as on land. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins