<figcaption> Credit: Frans de Waal / Emory University</figcaption>
Credit: Frans de Waal / Emory University

The paper:
R. Nielsen et al., "A scan for positively selected genes in the genomes of humans and chimpanzees," PLoS Biol, 3:976-85, 2005. (Cited in 55 papers)

The finding:
Rasmus Nielsen from the University of Copenhagen and colleagues from Cornell University compared 13,731 human genes to their chimpanzee orthologs and found the strongest evidence for positive selection in both genomes among apoptosis genes and tumor suppressor genes. Genes expressed in the brain showed little or no evidence for positive selection. "We're really forming a very complete picture of the way natural selection has formed the genomes of the species we're looking at," Nielsen says.

The significance:
Molly Przeworski at the University of Chicago says that with the genome-wide variation data, "we'll be able to detect other kinds of selection," which will lead to better evolutionary insights.

The surprise:
Nielsen says he was...

Genes with the highest likelihood of positive selection:
Gene Selection Function Likely ratio of positive selection
PRM1 Histone replacement in sperm 10.12
CMRF 35H Leukocyte membrane antigen 9.26
DGA T2L1 Fatty acid synthesis 6.62

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