Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Marmoset sequence sheds new light on primate biology and evolution


An international team of scientists led by the Baylor College of Medicine and Washington University St. Louis, including a researcher from the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna have completed the genome sequence of the common marmoset – the first sequence of a New World Monkey – providing new information about the marmoset’s unique rapid reproductive system, physiology and growth shedding new light on primate biology and evolution. The team published the work in the journal Nature Genetics.

With the sequence of the marmoset, the team revealed for the first time the genome of a non-human primate in the New World monkeys, which represents a separate branch in the primate evolutionary tree that is more distant from humans than those whose genomes have been studied in detail before. The sequence allows researchers to broaden their ability to study the human genome and its history as revealed by comparison with other primates.

The common marmoset is a non-human primate that belongs to the branch of New World Monkeys.

Photo: Hans Novak / Haus des Meeres

The biology of twinning

The study revealed unique genetic characteristics observed in the marmoset, including several genes that are likely responsible for their ability to consistently reproduce multiple births. Unlike humans, marmosets consistently give birth to twins without the association of any medical issues.

... more about:
»Genome »Medicine »Veterinary »genes »humans »primate »sequence

It turns out the marmoset gene WFIKKN1 exhibits changes associated with twinning in marmosets. The gene may act as a critical switch between multiples and singleton pregnancies. The finding could apply to studies of multiple pregnancies in human.

The team also looked for genetic changes associated with a unique trait found in marmosets and their close relatives, but not described in any other mammal. The dizygotic (or fraternal) twins in marmosets exchange blood stem cells called hematopoietic stem cells in utero, which leads to chimerism, a single organism composed of genetically distinct cells. The twins are full siblings, but between 10 and 50 percent of their white blood cells are actually derived from their sibling co-twin.

Marmosets also have a unique social system in which the dominant male and female serve as the primary breeders for a family, while their relatives also care for the offspring. They pick them up, carry them for long periods, and basically provide all the support allowing the breeders to reproduce again quickly. The relatives who provide the care are reproductively suppressed.

Small body size in the genes

Marmosets also have a very small body size. The genome sequence showed this may be the result of positive selection in five growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor axis genes (GH-IGF) with potential roles in producing small body size. Additionally, the team identified a cluster of genes that affect metabolic rates and body temperatures, adaptations associated with challenges of small body size.

Study provides new information on microRNAs

The study also provides new information about microRNAs, small non-coding RNA molecules which function to regulate of gene expression. “There has not been much research conducted on microRNAs in nonhuman primates, so we found this particularly important,” says Kim Worley, professor in the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College.

The team found marmosets exhibit a significant number of differences in microRNAs and their gene targets compared with humans, with two large clusters potentially involved in reproduction.

“We study primate genomes to get a better understanding of the biology of the species that are most closely related to humans,” says Jeffrey Rogers, associate professor in the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor and a lead author of the report. “The previous sequences of the great apes and macaques, which are very closely related to humans on the primate evolutionary tree, have provided remarkable new information about the evolutionary origins of the human genome and the processes involved.”

The article „The Common Marmoset Genome Provides Insight into Primate Biology and Evolution“ was published on the 20th of July 2014 in the journal Nature Genetics.

About the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna
The University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna in Austria is one of the leading academic and research institutions in the field of Veterinary Sciences in Europe. About 1,200 employees and 2,300 students work on the campus in the north of Vienna which also houses five university clinics and various research sites. Outside of Vienna the university operates Teaching and Research Farms.

Scientific Contact:
Dr. Carolin Kosiol
Institute of Population Genetics
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 20577-4331
M +43 6763651877

Released by:
Susanna Kautschitsch
Science Communication / Public Relations
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 25077-1153

Weitere Informationen:

Dr. Susanna Kautschitsch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: Genome Medicine Veterinary genes humans primate sequence

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Two decades of training students and experts in tracking infectious disease
27.11.2015 | Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften Hamburg

nachricht Increased carbon dioxide enhances plankton growth, opposite of what was expected
27.11.2015 | Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.

Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

Im Focus: Quantum Simulation: A Better Understanding of Magnetism

Heidelberg physicists use ultracold atoms to imitate the behaviour of electrons in a solid

Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Fraunhofer’s Urban Futures Conference: 2 days in the city of the future

25.11.2015 | Event News

Gluten oder nicht Gluten? Überempfindlichkeit auf Weizen kann unterschiedliche Ursachen haben

17.11.2015 | Event News

Art Collection Deutsche Börse zeigt Ausstellung „Traces of Disorder“

21.10.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Siemens to supply 126 megawatts to onshore wind power plants in Scotland

27.11.2015 | Press release

Two decades of training students and experts in tracking infectious disease

27.11.2015 | Life Sciences

Coming to a monitor near you: A defect-free, molecule-thick film

27.11.2015 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>