Balancing Selection Preserves Genes From Human and Chimps Common Ancestor
February 18, 2013 2:28 PM
comment(s) - last by
(Source: Matt Groening/Fox)
The fight against pathogens requires diversity
One often-misunderstood idea in
is survival of the fittest. Most think this refers to
a single "best" option being selected
. Often an alternate process -- dubbed balancing selection -- occurs in which several variants, each with unique advantages and disadvantages, are preserved.
The textbook example of balancing selection is sickle cell anemia. People born with the special hemoglobin variant suffer a variety of symptoms including poorer endurance, but the mutation grants immunity to malaria, a nasty disease that infects more than 200 million people worldwide a year. For that reason both sickle cell and healthy hemoglobin genes have been preserved to "keep mankind's options open", so to speak.
Researchers at the
University of Chicago
, led by Univ. of Chicago genetics, evolution, and ecology professor
, have identified six new regions of the genome where evidence of balancing selection exists. The team examined the
recently sequenced chimpanzee genome
and the human genome, which was first sequenced in 2000 using shotgun sequencing.
Balancing selection maintains variety in the genome. [Image Source: TurboSquid]
Professor Przeworski describes, "When we looked for genetic clues pointing to other, more ancient, examples of balancing selection, we found strong evidence for at least six such regions and weaker evidence for another 119 -- many more than we expected. We don't yet know what their functions are. [Clues point to their use in pathogen defense] but which pathogens, what immune processes, we don't know."
The six regions do not code for protein sequences. Protein coding sequences make up only a small part of the overall genome, which is largely composed of regulatory and preservationist sequences.
The team looked at the genomes of 59 humans from sub-Saharan Africa and 10 chimpanzees from Western Africa. The results give clues about how evolution helped both chimps and humans keep up with the
fight against pathogens
, a natural "arms race" in which both species often face similar classes of enemies.
Study first author
, a graduate researcher says the fact that the set of "options" are preserved in both the humans and chimpanzees shows that they play an important role and are not purely random. She comments, "[The genes] must have been functionally important over evolutionary time."
Chimps and humans share commune genetic variations. [Image Source: National Geographic]
The researchers used special codes to sort clusters of gene varieties and map how the human gene variety compared to that of their primate relatives.
Researchers say the finding of similar clusters of genes is very important as such preserved genetic variety is "extremely rare". One example of such a mechanism examined in previous studies is the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), a critical part of the immune system that helps distinguish between different kinds of pathogens. In a 2012 study Professor Przewski's team showed that humans and gibbons share the same ABO-blood type varieties.
The study on the work was
in the prestigious peer-review journal
. The work was funded by the
National Institutes of Health
The Royal Society
the Wellcome Trust
, and the
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
U of Chicago
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Bible thumper
2/19/2013 8:50:41 PM
I dont even know what to say to that. You are so lost you will never see reason. Funny, so much hate and blame and an "us vs. them" mentality for a person that claims to be a Christian. Arent you supposed to be more accepting like Jesus?
You should REALLY do some thinking about this quote.
"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
- Mahatma Gandhi
"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki
Neanderthal Sex Gave Europeans and Asians Stronger Immune Systems
August 26, 2011, 4:20 PM
Reversal of Evolutionary Adaptations Occurs in Bacteria at a Low Rate
May 16, 2011, 8:11 PM
Study Indicates Evolution Disbelief is Fueled by Fear of the Uncertain
September 28, 2010, 9:29 AM
Study Indicates Human, Chimp Males Evolving Faster than Females
January 14, 2010, 10:40 AM
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Researchers Hope to Find "Exotic" Lifeforms Inside Crater of Dinosaur Killing Meteor
April 14, 2015, 8:47 PM
Mathematician's Sociological Formulation May Explain the "Hipster Paradox"
April 14, 2015, 1:13 PM
Most Popular Articles
Why the U.S. Won't be Able to Ban Google's New Huawei Marshmallow Flagship Phone
October 3, 2015, 5:27 PM
Microsoft Band 2 Stays Focused on Fitness, Debuts Oct. 30, Priced at $249
October 6, 2015, 9:16 PM
Microsoft's HD-500 ("Display Dock"), the Magic Sauce Behind Continuum
October 6, 2015, 5:30 PM
Apple's First Fixes to iOS 9 Land w/ iOS 9.0.1 Release
September 23, 2015, 6:11 PM
Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL Finally Launch, w/ Windows 10, Liquid Cooling
October 6, 2015, 3:35 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information