New Evolutionary History Of Primates

The first take home is that wehave 186 separate species of primates. No doubt many more were eliminated in competition with ourselves.  This new paper apparently resolves the shapeof the various lineages and establishes linkages that will resolve keyquestions and inform future debate and investigation.

We are a long way from the ideasexpressed in the accompanying illustration.

Again we are watching a rapidexpansion of understanding taking place as the tools of the past couple ofdecades are vigorously applied.

A New Evolutionary History Of Primates

by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Mar 22, 2011

The findings illustrate events in primate evolutionfromancient to recent and clarify numerous taxonomic controversies. Ongoingspeciation, reticulate evolution, ancient relic lineages, unequal rates ofevolution and disparate distributions of genetic insertions/deletions among thereconstructed primate lineages are uncovered.

‘A robust new phylogenetic tree resolves many long-standing issues inprimate taxonomy. The genomes ofliving primates harbor remarkable differences in diversity and provide anintriguing context for interpreting human evolution.

The phylogenetic analysis was conducted by international researchers todetermine the origin, evolution, patterns of speciation, and unique features ingenome divergence among primate lineages. This evolutionary history will bepublished on March 17 in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics.

The authors sequenced 54 gene regions from 186 species spanning theprimate radiation.The analysis illustrates the importance of resolving complex, species-richphylogenies using large-scale comparative genomic approach.

Patterns of species and gene sequence evolution and adaptation relatenot only to human genome organization and genetic disease sensitivity, but alsoto global emergence of zoonoses (human pathogens originating from non-humandisease reservoirs), to mammalian comparative genomics, to primate taxonomy andto species conservation.

To date, available molecular genetic data applied to primatesystematics has been informative, but limited in scope and constrained to justspecific subsets of taxa. Now, a team of international researchers from the US, Brazil,France and Germany, haveprovided a highly robust depiction of the divergence hierarchy, mode and tempogoverning the extraordinarily divergent primate lineages.

The findings illustrate events in primate evolution from ancient torecent and clarify numerous taxonomic controversies. Ongoing speciation,reticulate evolution, ancient relic lineages, unequal rates of evolution anddisparate distributions of genetic insertions/deletions among the reconstructedprimate lineages are uncovered.

The authors said: "Advances in human biomedicine, including thosefocused on changes in genes triggeredor disrupted in development, resistance/susceptibility to infectious disease,cancers, and mechanisms of recombination and genome plasticity, can not beadequately interpreted in the absence of a precise evolutionary context orhierarchy. Resolution of the primate species phylogeny here provides avalidated framework essential in the development, interpretation and discoveryof the genetic underpinnings of human adaptation and disease."

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