January 28, 2011

Orangutans and us

There is a couple of genetic stories on those our red-haired cousins from Indonesia and their genomes, and ours...

On one side A. Hobolth and colleagues call our attention to the fact that parts of our genome are closer to orangutans than to chimpanzees or bonobos, our closest relatives. This does not change anything in regards to our degree of relatedness just tells us of some genes that have evolved in the Pan genus and not in the Homo one.

Refs.: Science Daily story, paper at Genome Research (pay per view).

Meanwhile D. P. Locke and colleagues argue that Orangutan genome has evolved much less than ours or that of our Pan cousins. This is particularly true in regards to Alu elements, which have accumulated very fast in our species, at half that rhythm in Chimpanzees and almost not at all in Orangutans.


Refs. Science Daily story, article at Nature (open).

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