Intracommunity relationships, dispersal pattern and paternity success in a wild living community of Bonobos (Pan paniscus) determined from DNA analysis of faecal samples.
Differences in social relationships among community members are often explained by differences in genetic relationships. The current techniques of DNA analysis allow explicit testing of such a hypothesis. Here, we have analysed the genetic relationships for a community of wild bonobos (Pan paniscus) using nuclear and mitochondrial DNA markers extracted from faecal samples. Bonobos show an opportunistic and promiscuous mating behaviour, even with mates from outside the community. Nonetheless, we find that most infants were sired by resident males and that two dominant males together attained the highest paternity success. Intriguingly, the latter males are the sons of high-ranking females, suggesting an important influence of mothers on the paternity success of their sons. The molecular data support previous inferences on female dispersal and male philopatry. We find a total of five different mitochondrial haplotypes among 15 adult females, suggesting a frequent migration of females. Moreover, for most adult and subadult males in the group we find a matching mother, while this is not the case for most females, indicating that these leave the community during adolescence. Our study demonstrates that faecal samples can be a useful source for the determination of kinship in a whole community. (+info
Extensive nuclear DNA sequence diversity among chimpanzees.
Although data on nucleotide sequence variation in the human nuclear genome have begun to accumulate, little is known about genomic diversity in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and bonobos (Pan paniscus). A 10,154-base pair sequence on the chimpanzee X chromosome is reported, representing all major subspecies and bonobos. Comparison to humans shows the diversity of the chimpanzee sequences to be almost four times as high and the age of the most recent common ancestor three times as great as the corresponding values of humans. Phylogenetic analyses show the sequences from the different chimpanzee subspecies to be intermixed and the distance between some chimpanzee sequences to be greater than the distance between them and the bonobo sequences. (+info
Chromosome 22-specific low copy repeats and the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome: genomic organization and deletion endpoint analysis.
The 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, which includes DiGeorge and velocardiofacial syndromes (DGS/VCFS), is the most common microdeletion syndrome. The majority of deleted patients share a common 3 Mb hemizygous deletion of 22q11.2. The remaining patients include those who have smaller deletions that are nested within the 3 Mb typically deleted region (TDR) and a few with rare deletions that have no overlap with the TDR. The identification of chromosome 22-specific duplicated sequences or low copy repeats (LCRs) near the end-points of the 3 Mb TDR has led to the hypothesis that they mediate deletions of 22q11.2. The entire 3 Mb TDR has been sequenced, permitting detailed investigation of the LCRs and their involvement in the 22q11.2 deletions. Sequence analysis has identified four LCRs within the 3 Mb TDR. Although the LCRs differ in content and organization of shared modules, those modules that are common between them share 97-98% sequence identity with one another. By fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis, the end-points of four variant 22q11.2 deletions appear to localize to the LCRs. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and Southern hybridization have been used to identify rearranged junction fragments from three variant deletions. Analysis of junction fragments by PCR and sequencing of the PCR products implicate the LCRs directly in the formation of 22q11.2 deletions. The evolutionary origin of the duplications on chromosome 22 has been assessed by FISH analysis of non-human primates. Multiple signals in Old World monkeys suggest that the duplication events may have occurred at least 20-25 million years ago. (+info
Mitochondrial DNA sequences in ancient Australians: Implications for modern human origins.
DNA from ancient human remains provides perspectives on the origin of our species and the relationship between molecular and morphological variation. We report analysis of mtDNA from the remains of 10 ancient Australians. These include the morphologically gracile Lake Mungo 3 [ approximately 60 thousand years (ka) before present] and three other gracile individuals from Holocene deposits at Willandra Lakes (<10 ka), all within the skeletal range of living Australians, and six Pleistocene/early Holocene individuals (15 to <8 ka) from Kow Swamp with robust morphologies outside the skeletal range of contemporary indigenous Australians. Lake Mungo 3 is the oldest (Pleistocene) "anatomically modern" human from whom DNA has been recovered. His mtDNA belonged to a lineage that only survives as a segment inserted into chromosome 11 of the nuclear genome, which is now widespread among human populations. This lineage probably diverged before the most recent common ancestor of contemporary human mitochondrial genomes. This timing of divergence implies that the deepest known mtDNA lineage from an anatomically modern human occurred in Australia; analysis restricted to living humans places the deepest branches in East Africa. The other ancient Australian individuals we examined have mtDNA sequences descended from the most recent common ancestor of living humans. Our results indicate that anatomically modern humans were present in Australia before the complete fixation of the mtDNA lineage now found in all living people. Sequences from additional ancient humans may further challenge current concepts of modern human origins. (+info
Molecular analyses of oral polio vaccine samples.
It has been suggested that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and thus the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) it causes, was inadvertently introduced to humans by the use of an oral polio vaccine (OPV) during a vaccination campaign launched by the Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA, USA, in the Belgian Congo in 1958 and 1959. The "OPV/AIDS hypothesis" suggests that the OPV used in this campaign was produced in chimpanzee kidney epithelial cell cultures rather than in monkey kidney cell cultures, as stated by H. Koprowski and co-workers, who produced the OPV. If chimpanzee cells were indeed used, this would lend support to the OPV/AIDS hypothesis, since chimpanzees harbor a simian immunodeficiency virus, widely accepted to be the origin of HIV-1. We analyzed several early OPV pools and found no evidence for the presence of chimpanzee DNA; by contrast, monkey DNA is present. (+info
Sequence variation within the fragile X locus.
The human genome provides a reference sequence, which is a template for resequencing studies that aim to discover and interpret the record of common ancestry that exists in extant genomes. To understand the nature and pattern of variation and linkage disequilibrium comprising this history, we present a study of approximately 31 kb spanning an approximately 70 kb region of FMR1, sequenced in a sample of 20 humans (worldwide sample) and four great apes (chimp, bonobo, and gorilla). Twenty-five polymorphic sites and two insertion/deletions, distributed in 11 unique haplotypes, were identified among humans. Africans are the only geographic group that do not share any haplotypes with other groups. Parsimony analysis reveals two main clades and suggests that the four major human geographic groups are distributed throughout the phylogenetic tree and within each major clade. An African sample appears to be most closely related to the common ancestor shared with the three other geographic groups. Nucleotide diversity, pi, for this sample is 2.63 +/- 6.28 x 10(-4). The mutation rate, mu is 6.48 x 10(-10) per base pair per year, giving an ancestral population size of approximately 6200 and a time to the most recent common ancestor of approximately 320,000 +/- 72,000 per base pair per year. Linkage disequilibrium (LD) at the FMR1 locus, evaluated by conventional LD analysis and by the length of segment shared between any two chromosomes, is extensive across the region. (+info
Excess of rare amino acid polymorphisms in the Toll-like receptor 4 in humans.
The Toll-like receptor 4 protein acts as the transducing subunit of the lipopolysaccharide receptor complex and assists in the detection of Gram-negative pathogens within the mammalian host. Several lines of evidence support the view that variation at the TLR4 locus may alter host susceptibility to Gram-negative infection or the outcome of infection. Here, we surveyed TLR4 sequence variation in the complete coding region (2.4 kb) in 348 individuals from several population samples; in addition, a subset of the individuals was surveyed at 1.1 kb of intronic sequence. More than 90% of the chromosomes examined encoded the same structural isoform of TLR4, while the rest harbored 12 rare amino acid variants. Conversely, the variants at silent sites (intronic and synonymous positions) occur at both low and high frequencies and are consistent with a neutral model of mutation and random drift. The spectrum of allele frequencies for amino acid variants shows a significant skew toward lower frequencies relative to both the neutral model and the pattern observed at linked silent sites. This is consistent with the hypothesis that weak purifying selection acted on TLR4 and that most mutations affecting TLR4 protein structure have at least mildly deleterious phenotypic effects. These results may imply that genetic variants contributing to disease susceptibility occur at low frequencies in the population and suggest strategies for optimizing the design of disease-mapping studies. (+info
Asymmetric Broca's area in great apes.
Brodmann's area 44 delineates part of Broca's area within the inferior frontal gyrus of the human brain and is a critical region for speech production, being larger in the left hemisphere than in the right - an asymmetry that has been correlated with language dominance. Here we show that there is a similar asymmetry in this area, also with left-hemisphere dominance, in three great ape species (Pan troglodytes, Pan paniscus and Gorilla gorilla). Our findings suggest that the neuroanatomical substrates for left-hemisphere dominance in speech production were evident at least five million years ago and are not unique to hominid evolution. (+info