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Nat Genet. 2001 Feb;27(2):155-6.

Great ape DNA sequences reveal a reduced diversity and an expansion in humans.

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Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany.


The extent of DNA sequence variation of chimpanzees is several-fold greater than that of humans. It is unclear, however, if humans or chimpanzees are exceptional among primates in having low and high amounts of DNA sequence diversity, respectively. To address this, we have determined approximately 10,000 bp of noncoding DNA sequences at Xq13.3 (which has been extensively studied in both humans and chimpanzees) from 10 western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and 1 mountain gorilla (Gorilla gorilla beringei; that is, from 2 of the 3 currently recognized gorilla subspecies), as well as 8 Bornean (Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus) and 6 Sumatran (Pongo pygmaeus abelii) orang-utans, representing both currently recognized orang-utan subspecies. We show that humans differ from the great apes in having a low level of genetic variation and a signal of population expansion.

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