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The completion of the entire genomic sequence of the bonobo (Pan paniscus) put an old debate to rest: that we are more related to chimps (Pan troglodytes) than to bonobos. It turns out that bonobos as 98.7% similar in DNA sequence to humans, the same as chimpanzees. The two species are 99.6% similar to each other; their last common ancestor was ~ 1 million years ago; the two groups probably got separated by the Congo river and gave rise to the two species; there is no evidence, genetic or of other type, that they have interbred ever since. The last time we shared a common ancestor with chimps and bonobos was >5 million years ago. Interestingly, there is 3 % of our genome that is more closely related to bonobos than to chimps, and 3% that .is more related to chimps than bonobos. The explanation: when the ancestral population split, the different groups retained different subsets of sequences from the common ancestor. Interestingly, Another bonobos and humans, but not chimps, have the same version of a protein found in urine, that in mice functions to detect scent differences used as social clues.  Only one bonobo genome has been sequenced so far, that of an 18 year old female living in a German zoo; we will need to sequence the DNA of more bonobos in order to start figuring out what the DNA differences mean in terms of behavior, for example.

Bonobos Join Chimps as Closest Human Relatives

on 13 June 2012
Family ties. The genome of this bonobo, Ulindi, shows how closely humans, chimps, and bonobos are related.
Credit: Max Planck Society

Chimpanzees now have to share the distinction of being our closest living relative in the animal kingdom. An international team of researchers has sequenced the genome of the bonobo for the first time, confirming that it shares the same percentage of its DNA with us as chimps do. The team also found some small but tantalizing differences in the genomes of the three species—differences that may explain how bonobos and chimpanzees don't look or act like us even though we share about 99% of our DNA.

"We're so closely related genetically, yet our behavior is so different," says team member and computational biologist Janet Kelso of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. "This will allow us to look for the genetic basis of what makes modern humans different from both bonobos and chimpanzees."

Ever since researchers sequenced the chimp genome in 2005, they have known that humans share about 99% of our DNA with chimpanzees, making them our closest living relatives. But there are actually two species of chimpanzees that are this closely related to humans: bonobos (Pan paniscus) and the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). This has prompted researchers to speculate whether the ancestor of humans, chimpanzees, and bonobos looked and acted more like a bonobo, a chimpanzee, or something else—and how all three species have evolved differently since the ancestor of humans split with the common ancestor of bonobos and chimps between 5 million and 7 million years ago in Africa.

Read the rest here.

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'Hippie chimp' genome sequenced

Genetic sequence could solve mystery of why bonobos are more peaceful than other chimpanzees.

13 June 2012

When the Congo River in central Africa formed, a group of apes was forever stranded on its southern banks. Two million years later, the descendants of these apes — the bonobos — have developed distinct social patterns. Unlike their chimpanzee relatives on the northern shore, they shun violent male dominance and instead forge bonds through food-sharing, play and casual sex.

Unlike common chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), bonobos (Pan paniscus) seem to use sex to resolve disputes.

Cyril Ruoso/JH Editorial/Minden Pictures/Getty

An 18-year-old female named Ulindi has now become the first bonobo (Pan paniscus) to have its genome sequenced. Scientists hope that the information gleaned will explain the stark behavioural differences between bonobos and common chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and help to identify the genetic changes that set humans apart from other apes.

The genome is published today in Nature1. The bonobo is the last extant species of great ape to receive the sequencer's attentions, following humans (Homo sapiens)2, 3, chimps4, orang-utans (Pongo pygmaeus and Pongo abelii)5 and gorillas (Gorilla gorilla and Gorilla beringei)6.

Distant relatives

Humans, chimps and bonobos all share a common ancestor that lived about 6 million years ago in Africa, when the human lineage splintered off. By the time that our Homo erectus ancestors were roaming the African savannah 2 million to 1.5 million years ago, populations of the common ancestor of chimpanzees and bonobos had been separated by the Congo River.

Little and probably no interbreeding has occurred since then, says Kay Prüfer, a bioinformatician at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, who led the sequencing study. Comparisons of the bonobo genome and sequences of chimps from various populations showed that chimps living just across the Congo River were no more closely related to bonobos than were populations living as far away as Côte d’Ivoire. That implies that the separation was quick and permanent, says Prüfer.

Once the ancestors of bonobos had been separated from those of chimpanzees, they may have found themselves in a very different ecological world. North of the Congo River, the ranges of chimpanzees and gorillas overlap, so those animals compete for food. But no gorillas live south of the river, so bonobos face much less food competition, says Victoria Wobber, a comparative psychologist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who has worked with bonobos including Ulindi.

Read the rest here.

The abstract of the original Nature article:

 

 

The bonobo genome compared with the chimpanzee and human genomes

Kay Prüfer, Kasper Munch, Ines Hellmann, Keiko Akagi, Jason R. Miller, Brian Walenz, Sergey Koren, Granger Sutton, Chinnappa Kodira, Roger Winer, James R. Knight, James C. Mullikin, Stephen J. Meader, Chris P. Ponting, Gerton Lunter, Saneyuki Higashino, Asger Hobolth, Julien Dutheil, Emre Karakoç, Can Alkan, Saba Sajjadian, Claudia Rita Catacchio, Mario Ventura, Tomas Marques-Bonet, Evan E. Eichler et al.

Nature
(2012)
doi:10.1038/nature11128

Two African apes are the closest living relatives of humans: the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and the bonobo (Pan paniscus). Although they are similar in many respects, bonobos and chimpanzees differ strikingly in key social and sexual behaviours1, 2, 3, 4, and for some of these traits they show more similarity with humans than with each other. Here we report the sequencing and assembly of the bonobo genome to study its evolutionary relationship with the chimpanzee and human genomes. We find that more than three per cent of the human genome is more closely related to either the bonobo or the chimpanzee genome than these are to each other. These regions allow various aspects of the ancestry of the two ape species to be reconstructed. In addition, many of the regions that overlap genes may eventually help us understand the genetic basis of phenotypes that humans share with one of the two apes to the exclusion of the other.

Could also help explain why we have people that tend towards peaceful ways of conflict resolutions while others tend to use aggression in conflict resolutions. ??? As we have gene sequences we share with one but not the other and vice versa. 

In theory, it could be, but behavior is very complicated. No doubt personalities are to a certain degree determined by genetics, but environmental factors have a HUGE impact. even chimps, who tend to be pretty nasty creatures, are pretty mellow when food is abundant. 

We need a three dimensional graph for this interesting finding

vacation travel photos - Sunset at Cable Beach  

An odd title for the paper 

'Hippie chimp' genome sequenced

Genetic sequence could solve mystery of why bonobos are more peaceful than other chimpanzees.

13 June 2012

When the Congo River in central Africa formed, a group of apes was forever stranded on its southern banks. Two million years later, the descendants of these apes — the bonobos — have developed distinct social patterns. Unlike their chimpanzee relatives on the northern shore, they shun violent male dominance and instead forge bonds through food-sharing, play and casual sex.

That's not the title for the paper, it's the title for the "news and views" on the paper. And yes, it's a stupid title. I guess even in Nature News, they can't avoid falling into sensationalistic titles. Other articles I saw are saying that now that we sequenced the bonobo DNA, we will be able to figure out which ones are the "peace genes". Oh, pul-eeze....have mercy on this poor geneticist...

The LA Times really fouls it up. The bonobo is NOT a human ancestor!!!!!!! We share a common ancestor with them and the common chimpanzee, that is very different! In the main body of the article, the scientist they interviewed says "common ancestor", very clearly. How could the science journalist choose such misleading title? No wonder then 46% of Americans are creationists.

Scientists map genome of the bonobo, a key human ancestor

The work should help researchers better understand how humans evolved, experts say.

Female bonobo

Ulindi, a female bonobo at the Leipzig Zoo in Germany, was used in the DNA mapping study. (MPI / June 14, 2012)

Researchers have assembled the complete genome of the bonobo, an African ape that is one of humans' closest relatives.

The achievement, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, marks a milestone. Adding the bonobo genome to the already-sequenced human, chimpanzee, gorilla and orangutan genomes gives scientists a complete catalog of the DNA of all of the so-called great apes.

That should help researchers better understand how humans evolved, scientists said.

"There's a common ancestor that we and these apes were derived from. We want to know what that ancestor looked like," said Wes Warren, a geneticist at Washington University in St. Louis, who was not involved in the research. "By adding the bonobo to the mix, we have a better idea."

Now, with all the great ape sequences complete, scientists can better use genetics to help determine whether a particular trait cropped up for the first time in humans, said Kay Pruefer, a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany.

Read the rest here.

Oh my, you are right about the title

Jun. 14, 2012

funny science news experiments memes - Nerdy Sewing

My favourite, saves me from having to remember the mnemonic for the colours. 

Black,bastards Raped Our Young Girls Beneath Violet Greys Window.

Black, Brown, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet, Grey, White.

That is one nasty mnemonic!!

But the thing is you remember it, even if you have not used it for years it comes back to you when you think about it. Some small capacitors and small inductive coils also use that colour coding as well. 

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