Then the orangutan said: “Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!

Genetic archaeology finds parts of our genome more closely related to orangutans than chimps

January 26, 2011

In a study published online today in Genome Research, in coordination with the publication of the orangutan genome sequence, scientists have presented the surprising finding that although orangutans and humans are more distantly related, some regions of our genomes are more alike than those of our closest living relative, the chimpanzee.”

The  helped to establish evolutionary relationships and estimate divergence times of the primate branch leading to humans, but not until the advent of  sequencing technology has it been possible to learn more detail about speciation times, genetic and phenotypic divergence times, and the  present in  species.

With the addition of the orangutan to the collection of sequenced primate genomes, an international group of scientists led by Mikkel Schierup and Thomas Mailund of Aarhus University in Denmark set out to shed light on these questions in primate evolution. “There remains signals of the distant past in DNA,” said Mailund, “and our approach is to use such signals to study the genetics of our ancestors.”

When a population “splits”, the genetic variation they each inherit from the common ancestor will change over time as the populations diverge, possibly giving rise to two different species. Because humans, chimps, and    all have a common ancestor, it is possible that humans and orangutans may still share genetic variants that were later lost in more closely related primates.

Then the orangutan said: “Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!


Advertisements

About carlos

I'm a curious person, of reasonable intellect, "on the beach" (retired) and enjoying my interest in anthropology, language, civil rights, and a few other areas. I've been a hippie/student/aerospace tech writer in the '60s, a witness to the Portuguese revolution in the ‘70s, a defense test engineer and witness to the Guatemalan genocide in the '80s, and a network engineer for an ISP in the '90s. Now I’m a student and commentator until my time is up. I've spent time under the spell of the Mesoamerican pyramids and the sweet sound of the Portuguese language. I've lived in Europe, traveled in Brazil, Central America, Iceland, New Zealand, and other places. My preferred mode of travel is with a backpack and I eat (almost) anything local. Somehow, many of the countries I have been to have had civil unrest (for which I was not responsible). I'm open to correspond with anyone who might share my liberal, humanist interests. I live in San Buenaventura, California.
This entry was posted in Anthropology, Humor and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.