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Researchers assemble second non-human primate genome

A multi-center team has deposited the draft genome sequence of the rhesus macaque monkey into free public databases for use by the worldwide research community, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced today.

The rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) is the second non-human primate, after the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), to have its genome sequenced, and is the first of the Old World monkeys to have its DNA deciphered. Overall, the rhesus genome shares about 92 to 95 percent of its sequence with the human (Homo sapiens) and more than 98 percent with the chimpanzee. Consequently, the rhesus provides an ideal reference point for comparisons among the three closely related primates. Sequencing is also underway on the genomes of a number of other primates, including the orangutan, marmoset and gorilla.

The sequencing of the rhesus genome was conducted at the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center in Houston, the Genome Sequencing Center at Washington University in St. Louis and at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Md., which are part of the NHGRI-supported Large-Scale Sequencing Research Network. The DNA samples used in the sequencing came from a female rhesus macaque at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio.

Independent assemblies of the rhesus genome data were carried out at each of the three sequencing centers using different and complementary approaches. A team led by Granger Sutton, Ph.D., at the J. Craig Venter Institute, then joined the resulting data into a single, high-density draft, or "melded assembly." This collaborative venture also made use of existing resources: the reference sequence of the human genome, published rhesus DNA mapping resources and the rhesus DNA fingerprint database from the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Center at the British Columbia Cancer Agency in Vancouver. The new, high-quality assembly, wh
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Contact: Geoff Spencer
spencerg@mail.nih.gov
301-402-0911
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
9-Feb-2006


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