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NHGRI Aims To Sequence Primate Genomes

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) a part of National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced that it would be sequencing the genome of Northern// white-cheeked gibbon (Nomascus leucogenys). The main aim is to sequence the genome of primates along the evolutionary tree that will give some clue to human health and disease.

Comparing the genomes of other species to humans is an exceptionally powerful tool to help researchers understand the working parts of the human genome in both health and illness.

NHGRI's Large-Scale Sequencing Research Network and their international partners have already sequenced – or have been approved to sequence – at high-density coverage the genomes of several non-human primates including the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta), the orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) and the gorilla (Gorilla gorilla).

"The gibbon genome sequence will provide researchers with crucial information when comparing it to the human genome sequence and other primate genomes, shedding light on molecular mechanisms implicated in human health and disease – from infectious diseases and neurological disorders to mental illness and cancer," said NHGRI Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

The gibbon genome is unique because it carries an extraordinary high number of chromosome rearrangements, even when compared to other primates. These rearrangements occur when small or large segments of a chromosome become detached and reattach to the same chromosome or another chromosome. Such chromosomal rearrangements can wreak havoc on a cell, and can contribute to birth defects or cancer in humans. The gibbon genome will also help scientists better understand rearrangements called segmental duplications, which are large, almost identical copies of DNA present in at least two locations in the human genome. A number of diseases are known to be associated with muta
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