Scientists Uncover More Genetic Similarities Between Humans and Apes

September 20, 2019 0 Comments

first_img Watch: Dolphin Leaps Feet Away From Unsuspecting SurferNASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This Weekend Stay on target The line between human and primate has been drawn more clearly in a groundbreaking study published in the journal Science.A national team of researchers successfully sequenced great ape genes without guidance from the human reference genome, providing a clearer view of the differences between us and our hairy ancestors.Scientists initially sequenced the chimpanzee genome in 2005, confirming that chimps are our closest living relatives.But 13 years of efforts to assemble more data have come up short; to fill a multitude of gaps, analysts must compare information against the higher-quality human genome reference, which introduces a “humanizing” discovery bias.Now, a new multi-institutional project, led by researchers at the University of Washington, has a solution.As described in the recently published paper, the team sequenced four genomes—two human, one chimpanzee, and one orangutan. They then reframed the process without using the human reference genome.“Recent advances in sequencing and mapping technologies now make more detailed investigations possible, not only of individual species but also entire clades of species,” lead authors Zev Kronenberg and Evan Eichler wrote in the paper, as reported by biotech company PacBio, whose technology was used in this experiment.“We generated new great ape genome assemblies displaying improved sequence contiguity by orders of magnitude,” they boasted, “leading to a more comprehensive understanding of the evolution of structural variation.”This investigation provides the most comprehensive catalog of genetic variants, some of which explain how genes are differently expressed among humans and apes.Researchers uncovered a number of differences between human and great ape chromosomes that were previously missed—most notably effectors of brain size.Still, compared to humans, the ape genome is still missing some crucial information, which scientists hope to fill in as time goes on.“Our goal is to generate multiple ape genomes with as high quality as the human genome,” Eichler said. “Only then will we be able to truly understand the genetic differences that make us uniquely human.”Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more