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Genomics study provides insight into the evolution of unique human traits

other primate lineages surveyed. To illustrate this potential, the scientists highlighted several gene families that exhibited striking lineage-specific differences. In particular, the human lineage-specific copy number expansion of a gene called AQP7 could explain why humans have evolved the capacity for endurance running. AQP7, or aquaporin 7, plays a role in transporting water and glycerol across membranes. Therefore, it may facilitate the mobilization of glycogen (energy) stores during long periods of intense exercise; it may also play a role in dissipating excess heat through sweating.

The scientists also found dramatic gene copy number differences potentially associated with cognition, reproduction, immune function, and susceptibility to genetic disease.


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Contact: Maria Smit
smit@cshl.edu
516-422-4127
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
30-Jul-2007


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