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The population genomics of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) based on whole genome sequences

Description

Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) are the most widely used nonhuman primate in biomedical research, have the largest natural geographic distribution of any nonhuman primate, and have been the focus of

Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) are the most widely used nonhuman primate in biomedical research, have the largest natural geographic distribution of any nonhuman primate, and have been the focus of much evolutionary and behavioral investigation. Consequently, rhesus macaques are one of the most thoroughly studied nonhuman primate species. However, little is known about genome-wide genetic variation in this species. A detailed understanding of extant genomic variation among rhesus macaques has implications for the use of this species as a model for studies of human health and disease, as well as for evolutionary population genomics. Whole genome sequencing analysis of 133 rhesus macaques revealed >43.7 million single nucleotide variants, including thousands predicted to alter protein sequences, transcript splicing and transcription factor binding sites. Rhesus macaques exhibit 2.5-fold higher overall nucleotide diversity and slightly elevated putative functional variation compared with humans. This functional variation in macaques provides opportunities for analyses of coding and non-coding variation, and its cellular consequences. Despite modestly higher levels of non-synonymous variation in the macaques, the estimated distribution of fitness effects and the ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous variants suggest that purifying selection has had stronger effects in rhesus macaques than in humans. Demographic reconstructions indicate this species has experienced a consistently large but fluctuating population size. Overall, the results presented here provide new insights into the population genomics of nonhuman primates and expand genomic information directly relevant to primate models of human disease.

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Date Created
  • 2016-10-17

The genomes of two key bumblebee species with primitive eusocial organization

Description

Background
The shift from solitary to social behavior is one of the major evolutionary transitions. Primitively eusocial bumblebees are uniquely placed to illuminate the evolution of highly eusocial insect societies.

Background
The shift from solitary to social behavior is one of the major evolutionary transitions. Primitively eusocial bumblebees are uniquely placed to illuminate the evolution of highly eusocial insect societies. Bumblebees are also invaluable natural and agricultural pollinators, and there is widespread concern over recent population declines in some species. High-quality genomic data will inform key aspects of bumblebee biology, including susceptibility to implicated population viability threats.

Results
We report the high quality draft genome sequences of Bombus terrestris and Bombus impatiens, two ecologically dominant bumblebees and widely utilized study species. Comparing these new genomes to those of the highly eusocial honeybee Apis mellifera and other Hymenoptera, we identify deeply conserved similarities, as well as novelties key to the biology of these organisms. Some honeybee genome features thought to underpin advanced eusociality are also present in bumblebees, indicating an earlier evolution in the bee lineage. Xenobiotic detoxification and immune genes are similarly depauperate in bumblebees and honeybees, and multiple categories of genes linked to social organization, including development and behavior, show high conservation. Key differences identified include a bias in bumblebee chemoreception towards gustation from olfaction, and striking differences in microRNAs, potentially responsible for gene regulation underlying social and other traits.

Conclusions
These two bumblebee genomes provide a foundation for post-genomic research on these key pollinators and insect societies. Overall, gene repertoires suggest that the route to advanced eusociality in bees was mediated by many small changes in many genes and processes, and not by notable expansion or depauperation.

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Date Created
  • 2015-04-24