• Comparative and demographic analysis of orang-utan genomes

      Locke, Devin P.; Hillier, LaDeana W.; Warren, Wesley C.; Worley, Kim C.; Nazareth, Lynne V.; Muzny, Donna M.; Yang, Shiaw-Pyng; Wang, Zhengyuan; Chinwalla, Asif T.; Minx, Pat; et al. (2011)
      ‘Orang-utan’ is derived from a Malay term meaning ‘man of the forest’ and aptly describes the southeast Asian great apes native to Sumatra and Borneo. The orang-utan species, Pongo abelii (Sumatran) and Pongo pygmaeus (Bornean), are the most phylogenetically distant great apes from humans, thereby providing an informative perspective on hominid evolution. Here we present a Sumatran orang-utan draft genome assembly and short read sequence data from five Sumatran and five Bornean orang-utan genomes. Our analyses reveal that, compared to other primates, the orang-utan genome has many unique features. Structural evolution of the orang-utan genome has proceeded much more slowly than other great apes, evidenced by fewer rearrangements, less segmental duplication, a lower rate of gene family turnover and surprisingly quiescent Alu repeats, which have played a major role in restructuring other primate genomes. We also describe a primate polymorphic neocentromere, found in both Pongo species, emphasizing the gradual evolution of orang-utan genome structure. Orang-utans have extremely low energy usage for a eutherian mammal1, far lower than their hominid relatives. Adding their genome to the repertoire of sequenced primates illuminates new signals of positive selection in several pathways including glycolipid metabolism. From the population perspective, both Pongo species are deeply diverse; however, Sumatran individuals possess greater diversity than their Bornean counterparts, and more species-specific variation. Our estimate of Bornean/Sumatran speciation time, 400,000 years ago, is more recent than most previous studies and underscores the complexity of the orang-utan speciation process. Despite a smaller modern census population size, the Sumatran effective population size (Ne) expanded exponentially relative to the ancestral Ne after the split, while Bornean Ne declined over the same period. Overall, the resources and analyses presented here offer new opportunities in evolutionary genomics, insights into hominid biology, and an extensive database of variation for conservation efforts.
    • Human and great ape red blood cells differ in plasmalogen levels and composition

      Moser, A.B.; Steinberg, S.J.; Watkins, P.A.; Moser, H.W.; Ramaswamy, K.; Siegmund, K.D.; Lee, D.R.; Ely, J.J.; Ryder, Oliver A.; Hacia, J.G. (2011)
      Plasmalogens are ether phospholipids required for normal mammalian developmental, physiological, and cognitive functions. They have been proposed to act as membrane antioxidants and reservoirs of polyunsaturated fatty acids as well as influence intracellular signaling and membrane dynamics. Plasmalogens are particularly enriched in cells and tissues of the human nervous, immune, and cardiovascular systems. Humans with severely reduced plasmalogen levels have reduced life spans, abnormal neurological development, skeletal dysplasia, impaired respiration, and cataracts. Plasmalogen deficiency is also found in the brain tissue of individuals with Alzheimer disease.
    • Insights into hominid evolution from the gorilla genome sequence

      Scally, Aylwyn; Dutheil, Julien Y.; Hillier, LaDeana W.; Jordan, Gregory E.; Goodhead, Ian; Herrero, Javier; Hobolth, Asger; Lappalainen, Tuuli; Mailund, Thomas; Marques-Bonet, Tomas; et al. (2012)
      Gorillas are humans’ closest living relatives after chimpanzees, and are of comparable importance for the study of human origins and evolution. Here we present the assembly and analysis of a genome sequence for the western lowland gorilla, and compare the whole genomes of all extant great ape genera....