The Chimpanzee Genome Project


In 2005, a draft genome sequence of the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) was published by the Chimpanzee Sequencing & Analysis Consortium (CSAC). This sequence has allowed us to catalogue the genetic differences which have accumulated since humans and chimpanzees diverged from their common ancestor 5–7 million years ago. These differences include approximately 35 million single‐nucleotide substitutions and 5 million insertion/deletion events within the alignable regions. This catalogue of differences has been used to assess the magnitude and regional variation of the mutational forces which have shaped the two genomes, and to measure the strength of positive and negative selection acting on their genes.

Keywords: chimpanzee genome sequencing; polymorphism; nucleotide divergence; positive selection; rapid evolution; human–chimpanzee differences

Figure 1.

Human–chimpanzee divergence in 1‐Mb segments across all chromosomes shown in the form of a box plot. The edges of the box indicate quartiles, the notches, the standard error of the median whereas the vertical bars denote the range of divergence. The X‐ and Y‐chromosomes are clearly outliers. However, significant local variation within each of the autosomes was noted. Reprinted by Macmillan Publishers Ltd with permission from Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium et al..

Figure 2.

Regional variation in divergence rates comparing human and chimpanzee chromosome 1. Human–chimpanzee divergence, G+C content and human recombination rates in sliding 1‐Mb windows along human and chimpanzee chromosome 1. Close to the telomere of the short arm of chromosome 1 (1p), the divergence and G+C content were clearly elevated. Within the chromosome, regions of low G+C content and high divergence frequently colocalize with dark G bands. Reprinted by Macmillan Publishers Ltd with permission from Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium et al..

Figure 3.

Divergence rates versus G+C content for 1‐Mb segments across the autosomes. Depending on the recombination rate, the relationship between divergence and G+C content varies. In those genomic regions with recombination rates less than 0.8 cM Mb−1 (blue), an inverse relationship was noted. However, there is a tendency for regions of high divergence to be (G+C)‐poor and low‐divergence regions to be more frequently (G+C)‐rich. In regions with recombination rates greater than 2.0 cM Mb−1, whether within 10 Mb (red) or proximal (green) of chromosome ends, both divergence and G+C content appear to be uniformly high. Reprinted by Macmillan Publishers Ltd with permission from Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium et al..

Figure 4.

Length distribution of large indel events (>15 kb) determined using paired‐end sequences from chimpanzee mapped against the human genome. Both the total number of candidate human insertions/chimpanzee deletions (green) and the number of bases altered (yellow) are shown. Reprinted by Macmillan Publishers Ltd with permission from Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium et al..



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Cooper, David N, and Kehrer‐Sawatzki, Hildegard(Jul 2008) The Chimpanzee Genome Project. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020753]