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Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Li J.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Li J.,Chinese Academy of Sciences | Nasidze I.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Quinque D.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | And 10 more authors.
BMC Microbiology | Year: 2013

Background: It is increasingly recognized that the bacteria that live in and on the human body (the microbiome) can play an important role in health and disease. The composition of the microbiome is potentially influenced by both internal factors (such as phylogeny and host physiology) and external factors (such as diet and local environment), and interspecific comparisons can aid in understanding the importance of these factors. Results: To gain insights into the relative importance of these factors on saliva microbiome diversity, we here analyze the saliva microbiomes of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and bonobos (Pan paniscus) from two sanctuaries in Africa, and from human workers at each sanctuary. The saliva microbiomes of the two Pan species are more similar to one another, and the saliva microbiomes of the two human groups are more similar to one another, than are the saliva microbiomes of human workers and apes from the same sanctuary. We also looked for the existence of a core microbiome and find no evidence for a taxon-based core saliva microbiome for Homo or Pan. In addition, we studied the saliva microbiome from apes from the Leipzig Zoo, and found an extraordinary diversity in the zoo ape saliva microbiomes that is not found in the saliva microbiomes of the sanctuary animals. Conclusions: The greater similarity of the saliva microbiomes of the two Pan species to one another, and of the two human groups to one another, are in accordance with both the phylogenetic relationships of the hosts as well as with host physiology. Moreover, the results from the zoo animals suggest that novel environments can have a large impact on the microbiome, and that microbiome analyses based on captive animals should be viewed with caution as they may not reflect the microbiome of animals in the wild. © 2013 Li et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Teixeira J.C.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | De Filippo C.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Weihmann A.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Meneu J.R.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | And 11 more authors.
Molecular Biology and Evolution | Year: 2015

Balancing selection maintains advantageous genetic and phenotypic diversity in populations. When selection acts for long evolutionary periods selected polymorphisms may survive species splits and segregate in present-day populations of different species. Here, we investigate the role of long-term balancing selection in the evolution of protein-coding sequences in the Homo-Pan clade. We sequenced the exome of 20 humans, 20 chimpanzees, and 20 bonobos and detected eight coding trans-species polymorphisms (trSNPs) that are shared among the three species and have segregated for approximately 14 My of independent evolution. Although the majority of these trSNPs were found in three genes of the major histocompatibility locus cluster, we also uncovered one coding trSNP (rs12088790) in the gene LAD1. All these trSNPs show clustering of sequences by allele rather than by species and also exhibit other signatures of long-term balancing selection, such as segregating at intermediate frequency and lying in a locus with high genetic diversity. Here, we focus on the trSNP in LAD1, a gene that encodes for Ladinin-1, a collagenous anchoring filament protein of basement membrane that is responsible for maintaining cohesion at the dermal-epidermal junction; the gene is also an autoantigen responsible for linear IgA disease. This trSNP results in a missense change (Leucine257Proline) and, besides altering the protein sequence, is associated with changes in gene expression of LAD1. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

Good J.M.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Good J.M.,University of Montana | Wiebe V.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Albert F.W.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | And 8 more authors.
Molecular Biology and Evolution | Year: 2013

The rapid molecular evolution of reproductive genes is nearly ubiquitous across animals, yet the selective forces and functional targets underlying this divergence remain poorly understood. Humans and closely related species of great apes show strongly divergent mating systems, providing a powerful system to investigate the influence of sperm competition on the evolution of reproductive genes. This is complemented by detailed information on male reproductive biology and unparalleled genomic resources in humans. Here, we have used custom microarrays to capture and sequence 285 genes encoding proteins present in the ejaculate as well as 101 randomly selected control genes in 21 gorillas, 20 chimpanzees, 20 bonobos, and 20 humans. In total, we have generated >25× average genomic coverage per individual for over 1 million target base pairs. Our analyses indicate high levels of evolutionary constraint across much of the ejaculate combined with more rapid evolution of genes involved in immune defense and proteolysis. We do not find evidence for appreciably more positive selection along the lineage leading to bonobos and chimpanzees, although this would be predicted given more intense sperm competition in these species. Rather, the extent of positive and negative selection depended more on the effective population sizes of the species. Thus, general patterns of male reproductive protein evolution among apes and humans depend strongly on gene function but not on inferred differences in the intensity of sperm competition among extant species. © 2013 The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup. com.

Ronke C.,University of Leipzig | Dannemann M.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Halbwax M.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Fischer A.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | And 12 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Although human biomedical and physiological information is readily available, such information for great apes is limited. We analyzed clinical chemical biomarkers in serum samples from 277 wild- and captive-born great apes and from 312 healthy human volunteers as well as from 20 rhesus macaques. For each individual, we determined a maximum of 33 markers of heart, liver, kidney, thyroid and pancreas function, hemoglobin and lipid metabolism and one marker of inflammation. We identified biomarkers that show differences between humans and the great apes in their average level or activity. Using the rhesus macaques as an outgroup, we identified human-specific differences in the levels of bilirubin, cholinesterase and lactate dehydrogenase, and bonobo-specific differences in the level of apolipoprotein A-I. For the remaining twenty-nine biomarkers there was no evidence for lineage-specific differences. In fact, we find that many biomarkers show differences between individuals of the same species in different environments. Of the four lineagespecific biomarkers, only bilirubin showed no differences between wild- and captive-born great apes. We show that the major factor explaining the human-specific difference in bilirubin levels may be genetic. There are human-specific changes in the sequence of the promoter and the protein-coding sequence of uridine diphosphoglucuronosyltransferase 1 (UGT1A1), the enzyme that transforms bilirubin and toxic plant compounds into water-soluble, excretable metabolites. Experimental evidence that UGT1A1 is down-regulated in the human liver suggests that changes in the promoter may be responsible for the human-specific increase in bilirubin. We speculate that since cooking reduces toxic plant compounds, consumption of cooked foods, which is specific to humans, may have resulted in relaxed constraint on UGT1A1 which has in turn led to higher serum levels of bilirubin in humans. © 2015 Ronke et al.

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