Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Evolution study tightens human-chimp connection

24.01.2006


Study also finds human evolution slower than apes



Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have found genetic evidence that seems to support a controversial hypothesis that humans and chimpanzees may be more closely related to each other than chimps are to the other two species of great apes – gorillas and orangutans. They also found that humans evolved at a slower rate than apes.
Appearing in the January 23, 2006 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, biologist Soojin Yi reports that the rate of human and chimp molecular evolution – changes that occur over time at the genetic level – is much slower than that of gorillas and orangutans, with the evolution of humans being the slowest of all.

As species branch off along evolutionary lines, important genetic traits, like the rate of molecular evolution also begin to diverge. They found that the speed of this molecular clock in humans and chimps is so similar, it suggests that certain human-specific traits, like generation time, began to evolve one million years ago - very recently in terms of evolution. The amount of time between parents and offspring is longer in humans than apes. Since a long generation time is closely correlated with the evolution of a big brain, it also suggests that developmental changes specific to humans may also have evolved very recently.



In a large-scale genetic analysis of approximately 63 million base pairs of DNA, the scientists studied the rate at which the base pairs that define the differences between species were incorrectly paired due to errors in the genetic encoding process, an occurrence known as substitution. "For the first time, we’ve shown that the difference in the rate of molecular evolution between humans and chimpanzees is very small, but significant, suggesting that the evolution of human-specific life history traits is very recent," said Yi.

Most biologists believe that humans and chimpanzees had a common ancestor before the evolutionary lines diverged about 5-7 million years ago. According to the analysis, one million years ago the molecular clock in the line that became modern humans began to slow down. Today, the human molecular clock is only 3 percent slower than the molecular clock of the chimp, while it has slowed down 11 percent from the gorilla’s molecular clock.

This slow down in the molecular clock correlates with a longer generation time because substitutions need to be passed to the next generation in order to have any lasting effect on the species,

"A long generation time is an important trait that separates humans from their evolutionary relatives," said Navin Elango, graduate student in the School of Biology and first author of the research paper. "We used to think that apes shared one generation time, but that’s not true. There’s a lot more variation. In our study, we found that the chimpanzee’s generation time is a lot closer to that of humans than it is to other apes."

The results also confirm that there is very little difference in the alignable regions of the human and chimp genomes. Taken together, the study’s findings suggest that humans and chimps are more closely related to each other than the chimps are to the other great apes.

"I think we can say that this study provides further support for the hypothesis that humans and chimpanzees should be in one genus, rather than two different genus’ because we not only share extremely similar genomes, we share similar generation time," said Yi.

Even though the 63 million base pairs they studied is a large sample, it’s still a small part of the genome, Yi said. "If we look at the whole genome, maybe it’s a different story, but there is evidence in the fossil record that this change in generation time occurred very recently, so the genetic evidence and the fossil data seem to fit together quite well so far."

David Terraso | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.gatech.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

nachricht Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Chronic stress induces fatal organ dysfunctions via a new neural circuit

21.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Scientists from the MSU studied new liquid-crystalline photochrom

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>