Friday, 12 September 2014

Gibbons Become Last Ape To Have Their Genomes Sequenced

September 12 2014

Chuck Bednar for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

New research appearing in Thursday’s edition of the journal Nature details the successful sequencing and annotation of the gibbon genome, meaning that scientists have now mapped the DNA of all of the world’s ape species.
The study authors, which included scientists from Oregon Health & Science University and the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine, explained that the small arboreal apes, which are native to the tropical forests of Southeastern Asia, demonstrate an accelerated rate of chromosomal rearrangement and occupy a key node in the primate phylogeny between Old World monkeys and great apes.

In their paper, they detail the genetic sequence of a northern white-cheeked gibbon (Nomascus leucogenys), including the characterization of a gibbon-specific mobile genetic element known as LAVA. LAVA, which is comprised of known jumping genes and named after its main components (L1, Alu, and the VA section of SVA mobile elements), is only the second type of composite mobile element to ever be discovered in primates.

“Everything we learn about the genome sequence of this particular primate and others analyzed in the recent past helps us to understand human biology in a more detailed and complete way,” lead author Dr. Jeffrey Rogers, associate professor in the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor, said in a statement.

“The gibbon sequence represents a branch of the primate evolutionary tree that spans the gap between the Old World Monkeys and great apes and has not yet been studied in this way. The new genome sequence provides important insight into their unique and rapid chromosomal rearrangements,” Dr. Rogers explained.


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