Researchers believe that dynamic regions of the human genome -- "hotspots" in terms of duplications and deletions -- are potentially involved in the rapid evolution of morphological and behavioral characteristics that are genetically determined.
Now, an international team of researchers, including a graduate student and an associate professor from Arizona State University, are finding similar hotspots in chimpanzees, which has implications for the understanding of genomic evolution in all species.
"We found that chimpanzees have many copy number variants -- duplications or deletions of large segments of DNA -- in the same regions of the genome as do humans. What this suggests is that some regions of the genomes are inherently unstable in both humans and chimpanzees," says George (P.J.) Perry, a Ph.D. anthropology student working with Anne Stone, an associate professor in ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
"This is a relatively new area of research and this is the first time this has been investigated on a genome-wide scale in a population sample of nonhuman primates," Perry says of the findings published May 15 in the online early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Perry, who is the study’s lead author, says: "These copy number variants may be very significant from an evolutionary perspective, and they’re important to study and understand. We talk about genetic diseases and cures, but first you have to find out that genetic differences such as copy number variants are there. And then you can study what they’re involved in and what they mean from a morphological variation and disease standpoint."
Specifically, the study of the processes that lead to variations and mutations within a species can help researchers understand the evolution of copy number differences between species, Perry explains.
"Ultimately, we can use information about within-a-species variation to identify unusual patterns between species," he says. "This may highlight copy number differences between humans and chimpanzees that were somehow involved in the evolution of human-specific traits."
"This study is an important first step, not the ultimate answer, but an exciting first step in studying the evolution of copy number variant regions and their downstream implications for disease and phenotypic variation," Perry says.
In the study, researchers looked at the structural genomic variation in DNA samples of 20 wild-born male chimpanzees.
"We identified 355 copy number variants among the genomes of these 20 unrelated chimpanzees and found that the overall chimpanzee genetic diversity may be more extensive than was previously thought," Perry says.
"This research not only illustrates the importance of studying the genetic variation in other primates to understand our own genome better, but it can also shed light on the diversity and adaptations of our nearest relatives," says Stone, who is one of the study’s senior co-authors, along with Charles Lee, an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School.
Carol Hughes | EurekAlert!
Flavins keep a handy helper in their pocket
25.04.2018 | University of Freiburg
Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled
24.04.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology
At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
25.04.2018 | Information Technology