Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Humans and Chimps Share Genetic Strategy in Battle Against Pathogens

15.02.2013
A genome-wide analysis searching for evidence of long-lived balancing selection—where the evolutionary process acts not to select the single best adaptation but to maintain genetic variation in a population—has uncovered at least six regions of the genome where humans and chimpanzees share the same combination of genetic variants.

The finding, to be published Feb. 14 in the journal Science, suggests that in these regions, human genetic variation dates back to a common ancestor with chimpanzees millions of years ago, before the species split. It also highlights the importance of the dynamic co-evolution of human hosts and their pathogens in maintaining genetic variation.

Balancing selection allows evolution to keep all hereditary options open. The classic human example is the persistence of two versions of the hemoglobin gene: a normal version and hemoglobin S., a mutation that distorts the shape and function of red blood cells. Those who inherit two normal hemoglobin genes are at high risk for malaria, a parasitic disease that infects more than 200 million people each year. Those who inherit one normal gene and one hemoglobin S. gene are partially protected from malaria—a potentially life-saving benefit. Those with two copies of the gene suffer from sickle-cell anemia, a serious and lifelong circulatory disease.

“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,” said study author Molly Przeworski, PhD, professor of human genetics and of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago.

“We don’t yet know what their functions are,” she said. None of the six regions codes for a protein. There are clues that they are involved in host-pathogen interactions, “but which pathogens, what immune processes,” she said, “we don’t know.”

The researchers used genetic data from 10 chimpanzees from Western Africa and 59 humans from sub-Saharan Africa who were part of the 1,000 Genomes Project.

The scientists looked for cases in which genetic variations that arose in the ancestor of humans and chimpanzees have been maintained through both lines. The fact that variation in these regions of the genome has persisted for so long argues that they “must have been functionally important over evolutionary time,” said Ellen Leffler, a graduate student in Przeworski’s laboratory and first author of the study.

The researchers, from the University of Chicago and Oxford University, designed the study to be very conservative. “We wanted to find the cases we believed the most, rather than the most cases,” Przeworski said.

Computers sorted snippets of the genetic data from humans and chimps into clusters depending on how similar the subjects were to each other. For almost every snippet, they found a cluster of humans and a separate cluster of chimpanzees, as expected. But there were a few segments of the genomes in which each cluster included both chimpanzees and humans; in those regions, some humans were more closely related to some chimpanzees than to other humans.

“Instances in which natural selection maintains genetic variation in a population over millions of years are thought to be extremely rare,” the authors wrote. The oldest and best known example of balanced polymorphism shared between humans and chimpanzees is the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), a group of genes that help the immune system distinguish between the body and potential invaders, such as bacteria or viruses.

Last year, a team led by Przeworski found that humans and gibbons shared genetic variation related to the ABO blood-group system from a common ancestor.

The six new examples of balanced selection described in this study appear to play a role, like the MHC, in fending off infectious disease. This requires a variety of evolutionary tools, including balancing selection. When a population moves to a new environment—for example the exodus out of Africa to northern Europe—they face many one-time adjustments, such as adapting to less intense sunlight and decreased ultraviolet radiation. Over many generations, their offspring manage to decrease melanin production—a static adaptation for a static environment.

Fighting off pathogens is more dynamic, a constant arms race. Balancing selection may have enabled humans and chimps to retain multiple lines of defense that can be called on when a pathogen evolves new weapons.

“Our results imply that dynamic co-evolution of human hosts and their pathogens has played an important role in shaping human variation,” Przeworski said. “This highlights the importance of a different kind of selection pressure in human evolution.”

The National Institutes of Health, The Royal Society, the Wellcome Trust and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute funded this study. Additional authors include Ziyue Gao, Laure Segurel and Guy Sella from the University of Chicago; Susanne Pfeifer, Adam Auton, Oliver Venn, Rory Bowden, Peter Donnelly and Gilean McVean from Oxford University; Ronald Bonstrop from the Biomedical Primate Research Centre in the Netherlands; and Jeffrey Wall from the University of California at San Francisco.

John Easton | Newswise
Further information:
http://www.uchospitals.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Starke IT-Sicherheit für das Auto der Zukunft – Forschungsverbund entwickelt neue Ansätze

Je mehr die Elektronik Autos lenkt, beschleunigt und bremst, desto wichtiger wird der Schutz vor Cyber-Angriffen. Deshalb erarbeiten 15 Partner aus Industrie und Wissenschaft in den kommenden drei Jahren neue Ansätze für die IT-Sicherheit im selbstfahrenden Auto. Das Verbundvorhaben unter dem Namen „Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) wird durch das Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung mit 7,2 Millionen Euro gefördert. Infineon leitet das Projekt.

Bereits heute bieten Fahrzeuge vielfältige Kommunikationsschnittstellen und immer mehr automatisierte Fahrfunktionen, wie beispielsweise Abstands- und...

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Mit Hilfe molekularer Schalter lassen sich künftig neuartige Bauelemente entwickeln

Einem Forscherteam unter Führung von Physikern der Technischen Universität München (TUM) ist es gelungen, spezielle Moleküle mit einer angelegten Spannung zwischen zwei strukturell unterschiedlichen Zuständen hin und her zu schalten. Derartige Nano-Schalter könnten Basis für neuartige Bauelemente sein, die auf Silizium basierende Komponenten durch organische Moleküle ersetzen.

Die Entwicklung neuer elektronischer Technologien fordert eine ständige Verkleinerung funktioneller Komponenten. Physikern der TU München ist es im Rahmen...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: GRACE Follow-On erfolgreich gestartet: Das Satelliten-Tandem dokumentiert den globalen Wandel

Die Satellitenmission GRACE-FO ist gestartet. Am 22. Mai um 21.47 Uhr (MESZ) hoben die beiden Satelliten des GFZ und der NASA an Bord einer Falcon-9-Rakete von der Vandenberg Air Force Base (Kalifornien) ab und wurden in eine polare Umlaufbahn gebracht. Dort nehmen sie in den kommenden Monaten ihre endgültige Position ein. Die NASA meldete 30 Minuten später, dass der Kontakt zu den Satelliten in ihrem Zielorbit erfolgreich hergestellt wurde. GRACE Follow-On wird das Erdschwerefeld und dessen räumliche und zeitliche Variationen sehr genau vermessen. Sie ermöglicht damit präzise Aussagen zum globalen Wandel, insbesondere zu Änderungen im Wasserhaushalt, etwa dem Verlust von Eismassen.

Potsdam, 22. Mai 2018: Die deutsch-amerikanische Satellitenmission GRACE-FO (Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment Follow On) ist erfolgreich gestartet. Am...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industrie & Wirtschaft
Veranstaltungen

Im Fokus: Klimaangepasste Pflanzen

25.05.2018 | Veranstaltungen

Größter Astronomie-Kongress kommt nach Wien

24.05.2018 | Veranstaltungen

22. Business Forum Qualität: Vom Smart Device bis zum Digital Twin

22.05.2018 | Veranstaltungen

VideoLinks
Wissenschaft & Forschung
Weitere VideoLinks im Überblick >>>
 
Aktuelle Beiträge

Berufsausbildung mit Zukunft

25.05.2018 | Unternehmensmeldung

Untersuchung der Zellmembran: Forscher entwickeln Stoff, der wichtigen Membranbestandteil nachahmt

25.05.2018 | Interdisziplinäre Forschung

Starke IT-Sicherheit für das Auto der Zukunft – Forschungsverbund entwickelt neue Ansätze

25.05.2018 | Informationstechnologie

Weitere B2B-VideoLinks
IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics