Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Comparative RNA sequencing reveals substantial genetic variation in endangered primates

The authors of this new study aimed to shed some light on endangered primate species lacking genome-level data, as such data will be crucial to future conservation efforts. As we've learned, chimps, orangutans, and rhesus macaques have gotten lots of attention in the genomics department, but there remain several primates, many endangered, for which little genomic data is available. Researchers analyzed genetic diversity, which is associated with risk of extinction, after sequencing RNA from liver samples taken from humans, chimps, rhesus macaques, vervets, common marmosets, five lemur species, and two lorisoids. They found no correlation between diversity and endangered status. Furthermore, the two most endangered species included in the study (both lemur species) actually had the highest diversity, offering new hope to future conservation efforts.

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