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Humans Closer to Rats than Cats, 12-Species Sequence Comparison Indicates

NEW YORK, Aug. 14 (GenomeWeb News) - Humans are genomically more like rats than cats,a comparison of sequence from 12 vertebrate species published in today's Nature indicates.


In the article, a team led by Jim Thomas at NHGRI compared a 1.8 megabase stretch of sequence from human chromosome 7 to a total of 12 mb of orthologous sequences from chimpanzee, baboon, cat, dog, cow, pig, rat, mouse, chicken, zebrafish, as well as two species of pufferfish, Fugu and Tetraodon.


Not surprisingly, they found that the chimpanzee sequence in both coding and non-coding regions was closest to the human sequence, while zebrafish sequence was most divergent.


And, while rodents actually had a smaller percentage of total sequence that was in alignment with human sequence than did both cat and dog, "analyses of large-scale mutational events in this genomic region" supported the idea that rodents and primates are "sister groups in one clade," and carnivores (such as cats and dogs) and artiodactyls (hoofed mammals such as cows and pigs) belong to another clade.


Additionally, the researchers found that non-coding DNA is conserved to a larger extent than previously shown, in all of the species except the fish, there was a 30 percent or greater rate of conserved sequence in non coding regions.


The paper, "Comparative analyses of multi-species sequences from targeted genomic regions," is published on pp. 788-793 of the August 14 issue of Nature.

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