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Scientists compare human, chimp genetics

Nov. 6, 2008 at 5:17 PM   |   Comments

CAMBRIDGE, England, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- U.S. and British scientists have ended the largest study of human and chimpanzee genetic differences, identifying areas duplicated or lost during evolution.

Researchers said the study is the first to compare many human and chimpanzee genomes in the same manner.

The scientists found particular types of genes -- such as those involved in the inflammatory response and in control of cell proliferation -- are more commonly involved in gain or loss. They said their findings also provide new evidence for a gene that's been associated with susceptibility to infection by the human immunodeficiency virus.

"This is the first study of this scale, comparing directly the genomes of many humans and chimpanzees," said Richard Redon of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Britain. "By looking at only one 'reference' sequence for human or chimpanzee, as has been done previously, it is not possible to tell which differences occur only among individual chimpanzees or humans and which are differences between the two species. This is our first view of those two important legacies of evolution."

The study that also included scientists from Arizona State University, Brigham & Women's Hospital, the University of Washington, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Harvard Medical School appears in the journal Genome Research.

© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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