In a new study, published online in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics, Katherine Pollard, at the UC Davis Genome Center, and colleagues at UC Santa Cruz led by David Haussler used comparative genomics to investigate the properties of a set of 202 carefully screened “highly accelerated regions” (HARs).
The authors searched for stretches of DNA that were highly conserved between chimpanzees, mice, and rats, comparing those sequences to the human genome sequence in order to unravel the evolutionary forces at work behind the human genome’s fastest evolving regions.
Pollard explains that “most of the differences between chimps and humans are not in our proteins, but in how we use them.” Only three HARs lie in genes that are likely to encode proteins. The rest do not appear to code for genes at all; instead, many HARs are located close to genes involved in growth and development. The most dramatically accelerated region, HAR1, appears to make a piece of RNA that may have a function in brain development.
“They’re not in genes, but they’re near genes that do some very important stuff,” Pollard said. Typically, non-coding regions of DNA evolve more rapidly than regions carrying genes because there is no selective pressure to stop mutations from accumulating. However, the human-accelerated regions are highly conserved across the other groups of animals that the researchers examined, suggesting that they have important functions that stop them from varying too much.
This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences