Monday, September 30, 2013

Forces Shaping the Fastest Evolving Regions in the Human Genome

This article goes into further depth into the subject of HARs brought up briefly in the Bradley review article for this week. HARs, or Human Accelerated Regions, are regions of the genome that are highly conserved in all vertebrates but are found to be rapidly accelerated in humans. While some of these regions have been directly tied to human traits such as neocortical development (HAR1), the majority of them occur in non-coding regions of the genome. This supports the idea in the King & Wilson paper of 1975 that most of human uniqueness comes from the regulation of gene expression in non-coding regions of the genome. This paper focuses on 202 Human Accelerated Regions that are located in intergenic regions and are believed to play important roles in gene expression, with a special focus on evolutionary forces that shaped the selective pressures on these regions. The nature of the HARs in the paper reveal a selective force for the increase of guanine and cytosine bases as well as a tendency for them to occur near transcription genes.


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