Functional protein divergence in the evolution of Homo sapiens.
ABSTRACT: Protein-coding regions in a genome evolve by sequence divergence and gene gain and loss, altering the gene content of the organism. However, it is not well understood how this has given rise to the enormous diversity of metazoa present today.To obtain a global view of human genomic evolution, we quantify the divergence of proteins by functional category at different evolutionary distances from human.This analysis highlights some general systems-level characteristics of human evolution: regulatory processes, such as signal transducers, transcription factors and receptors, have a high degree of plasticity, while core processes, such as metabolism, transport and protein synthesis, are largely conserved. Additionally, this study reveals a dynamic picture of selective forces at short, medium and long evolutionary timescales. Certain functional categories, such as 'development' and 'organogenesis', exhibit temporal patterns of sequence divergence in eukaryotes relative to human. This framework for a grammar of human evolution supports previously postulated theories of robustness and evolvability.
Project description:If genetic constraints are important, then rates and direction of evolution should be related to trait evolvability. Here we use recently developed measures of evolvability to test the genetic constraint hypothesis with quantitative genetic data on floral morphology from the Neotropical vine Dalechampia scandens (Euphorbiaceae). These measures were compared against rates of evolution and patterns of divergence among 24 populations in two species in the D. scandens species complex. We found clear evidence for genetic constraints, particularly among traits that were tightly phenotypically integrated. This relationship between evolvability and evolutionary divergence is puzzling, because the estimated evolvabilities seem too large to constitute real constraints. We suggest that this paradox can be explained by a combination of weak stabilizing selection around moving adaptive optima and small realized evolvabilities relative to the observed additive genetic variance.
Project description:After a brief review of the most recent findings in the study of human evolution, an extensive comparison of the complete genomes of our nearest relative, the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), of extant Homo sapiens, archaic Homo neanderthalensis and the Denisova specimen were made. The focus was on non-synonymous mutations, which consequently had an impact on protein levels and these changes were classified according to degree of effect. A total of 10,447 non-synonymous substitutions were found in which the derived allele is fixed or nearly fixed in humans as compared to chimpanzee. Their most frequent location was on chromosome 21. Their presence was then searched in the two archaic genomes. Mutations in 381 genes would imply radical amino acid changes, with a fraction of these related to olfaction and other important physiological processes. Eight new alleles were identified in the Neanderthal and/or Denisova genetic pools. Four others, possibly affecting cognition, occured both in the sapiens and two other archaic genomes. The selective sweep that gave rise to Homo sapiens could, therefore, have initiated before the modern/archaic human divergence.
Project description:At the center of the debate on the emergence of modern humans and their spread throughout the globe is the question of whether archaic Homo lineages contributed to the modern human gene pool, and more importantly, whether such contributions impacted the evolutionary adaptation of our species. A major obstacle to answering this question is that low levels of admixture with archaic lineages are not expected to leave extensive traces in the modern human gene pool because of genetic drift. Loci that have undergone strong positive selection, however, offer a unique opportunity to identify low-level admixture with archaic lineages, provided that the introgressed archaic allele has risen to high frequency under positive selection. The gene microcephalin (MCPH1) regulates brain size during development and has experienced positive selection in the lineage leading to Homo sapiens. Within modern humans, a group of closely related haplotypes at this locus, known as haplogroup D, rose from a single copy approximately 37,000 years ago and swept to exceptionally high frequency (approximately 70% worldwide today) because of positive selection. Here, we examine the origin of haplogroup D. By using the interhaplogroup divergence test, we show that haplogroup D likely originated from a lineage separated from modern humans approximately 1.1 million years ago and introgressed into humans by approximately 37,000 years ago. This finding supports the possibility of admixture between modern humans and archaic Homo populations (Neanderthals being one possibility). Furthermore, it buttresses the important notion that, through such adminture, our species has benefited evolutionarily by gaining new advantageous alleles. The interhaplogroup divergence test developed here may be broadly applicable to the detection of introgression at other loci in the human genome or in genomes of other species.
Project description:Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) drives the evolution of recipient organism particularly if it provides a novel function which enhances the fitness or its adaption to the environment. Virus-host co-evolution is attractive for studying co-evolutionary processes, since viruses strictly replicate inside of the host cells and thus their evolution is inexorably tangled with host biology. HGT, as a mechanism of co-evolution between human and viruses, has been widely documented, however, the roles HGT play during the interaction between human and viruses are still in their infancy. In this study, we performed a comprehensive analysis on the genes horizontally transferred between viruses and their corresponding human hosts. Our study suggests that the HGT genes in human are predominantly enriched in immune related GO terms while viral HGT genes are tend to be encoded by viruses which promote the invasion of immune system of hosts. Based on our results, it gives us a hint about the evolution trajectory of HGT events. Overall, our study suggests that the HGT between human and viruses are highly relevant to immune interaction and probably reshaped the arm race between hosts and viruses.
Project description:Empirical assessments of human accelerated noncoding DNA frgaments have delineated presence of many cis-regulatory elements. Enhancers make up an important category of such accelerated cis-regulatory elements that efficiently control the spatiotemporal expression of many developmental genes. Establishing plausible reasons for accelerated enhancer sequence divergence in Homo sapiens has been termed significant in various previously published studies. This acceleration by including closely related primates and archaic human data has the potential to open up evolutionary avenues for deducing present-day brain structure. This study relied on empirically confirmed brain exclusive enhancers to avoid any misjudgments about their regulatory status and categorized among them a subset of enhancers with an exceptionally accelerated rate of lineage specific divergence in humans. In this assorted set, 13 distinct transcription factor binding sites were located that possessed unique existence in humans. Three of 13 such sites belonging to transcription factors SOX2, RUNX1/3, and FOS/JUND possessed single nucleotide variants that made them unique to H. sapiens upon comparisons with Neandertal and Denisovan orthologous sequences. These variants modifying the binding sites in modern human lineage were further substantiated as single nucleotide polymorphisms via exploiting 1000 Genomes Project Phase3 data. Long range haplotype based tests laid out evidence of positive selection to be governing in African population on two of the modern human motif modifying alleles with strongest results for SOX2 binding site. In sum, our study acknowledges acceleration in noncoding regulatory landscape of the genome and highlights functional parts within it to have undergone accelerated divergence in present-day human population.
Project description:Genetic differences that specify unique aspects of human evolution have typically been identified by comparative analyses between the genomes of humans and closely related primates, including more recently the genomes of archaic hominins. Not all regions of the genome, however, are equally amenable to such study. Recurrent copy number variation (CNV) at chromosome 16p11.2 accounts for approximately 1% of cases of autism and is mediated by a complex set of segmental duplications, many of which arose recently during human evolution. Here we reconstruct the evolutionary history of the locus and identify bolA family member 2 (BOLA2) as a gene duplicated exclusively in Homo sapiens. We estimate that a 95-kilobase-pair segment containing BOLA2 duplicated across the critical region approximately 282 thousand years ago (ka), one of the latest among a series of genomic changes that dramatically restructured the locus during hominid evolution. All humans examined carried one or more copies of the duplication, which nearly fixed early in the human lineage--a pattern unlikely to have arisen so rapidly in the absence of selection (P?<?0.0097). We show that the duplication of BOLA2 led to a novel, human-specific in-frame fusion transcript and that BOLA2 copy number correlates with both RNA expression (r?=?0.36) and protein level (r?=?0.65), with the greatest expression difference between human and chimpanzee in experimentally derived stem cells. Analyses of 152 patients carrying a chromosome 16p11. rearrangement show that more than 96% of breakpoints occur within the H. sapiens-specific duplication. In summary, the duplicative transposition of BOLA2 at the root of the H. sapiens lineage about 282?ka simultaneously increased copy number of a gene associated with iron homeostasis and predisposed our species to recurrent rearrangements associated with disease.
Project description:Thousands of candidate human-specific regulatory sequences (HSRS) have been identified, supporting the hypothesis that unique to human phenotypes result from human-specific alterations of genomic regulatory networks. Collectively, a compendium of multiple diverse families of HSRS that are functionally and structurally divergent from Great Apes could be defined as the backbone of human-specific genomic regulatory networks. Here, the conservation patterns analysis of 18,364 candidate HSRS was carried out requiring that 100% of bases must remap during the alignments of human, chimpanzee, and bonobo sequences. A total of 5,535 candidate HSRS were identified that are: (i) highly conserved in Great Apes; (ii) evolved by the exaptation of highly conserved ancestral DNA; (iii) defined by either the acceleration of mutation rates on the human lineage or the functional divergence from non-human primates. The exaptation of highly conserved ancestral DNA pathway seems mechanistically distinct from the evolution of regulatory DNA segments driven by the species-specific expansion of transposable elements. Genome-wide proximity placement analysis of HSRS revealed that a small fraction of topologically associating domains (TADs) contain more than half of HSRS from four distinct families. TADs that are enriched for HSRS and termed rapidly evolving in humans TADs (revTADs) comprise 0.8-10.3% of 3,127 TADs in the hESC genome. RevTADs manifest distinct correlation patterns between placements of human accelerated regions, human-specific transcription factor-binding sites, and recombination rates. There is a significant enrichment within revTAD boundaries of hESC-enhancers, primate-specific CTCF-binding sites, human-specific RNAPII-binding sites, hCONDELs, and H3K4me3 peaks with human-specific enrichment at TSS in prefrontal cortex neurons (P < 0.0001 in all instances). Present analysis supports the idea that phenotypic divergence of Homo sapiens is driven by the evolution of human-specific genomic regulatory networks via at least two mechanistically distinct pathways of creation of divergent sequences of regulatory DNA: (i) recombination-associated exaptation of the highly conserved ancestral regulatory DNA segments; (ii) human-specific insertions of transposable elements.
Project description:We investigated the evidence of recent positive selection in the human phototransduction system at single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and gene level.SNP genotyping data from the International HapMap Project for European, Eastern Asian, and African populations was used to discover differences in haplotype length and allele frequency between these populations. Numeric selection metrics were computed for each SNP and aggregated into gene-level metrics to measure evidence of recent positive selection. The level of recent positive selection in phototransduction genes was evaluated and compared to a set of genes shown previously to be under recent selection, and a set of highly conserved genes as positive and negative controls, respectively.Six of 20 phototransduction genes evaluated had gene-level selection metrics above the 90th percentile: RGS9, GNB1, RHO, PDE6G, GNAT1, and SLC24A1. The selection signal across these genes was found to be of similar magnitude to the positive control genes and much greater than the negative control genes.There is evidence for selective pressure in the genes involved in retinal phototransduction, and traces of this selective pressure can be demonstrated using SNP-level and gene-level metrics of allelic variation. We hypothesize that the selective pressure on these genes was related to their role in low light vision and retinal adaptation to ambient light changes. Uncovering the underlying genetics of evolutionary adaptations in phototransduction not only allows greater understanding of vision and visual diseases, but also the development of patient-specific diagnostic and intervention strategies.
Project description:Defining the distinctive capacities of Homo sapiens relative to other hominins is a major focus for human evolutionary studies. It has been argued that the procurement of small, difficult-to-catch, agile prey is a hallmark of complex behavior unique to our species; however, most research in this regard has been limited to the last 20,000 years in Europe and the Levant. Here, we present detailed faunal assemblage and taphonomic data from Fa-Hien Lena Cave in Sri Lanka that demonstrates specialized, sophisticated hunting of semi-arboreal and arboreal monkey and squirrel populations from ca. 45,000 years ago, in a tropical rainforest environment. Facilitated by complex osseous and microlithic technologies, we argue these data highlight that the early capture of small, elusive mammals was part of the plastic behavior of Homo sapiens that allowed it to rapidly colonize a series of extreme environments that were apparently untouched by its hominin relatives.
Project description:This experiment contains the subset of data corresponding to human RNA-Seq data from experiment E-GEOD-30352 (http://www.ebi.ac.uk/arrayexpress/experiments/E-GEOD-30352/), which goal is to understand the dynamics of mammalian transcriptome evolution. To study mammalian transcriptome evolution at high resolution, we generated RNA-Seq data (∼3.2 billion Illumina Genome Analyser IIx reads of 76 base pairs) for the polyadenylated RNA fraction of brain (cerebral cortex or whole brain without cerebellum), cerebellum, heart, kidney, liver and testis (usually from one male and one female per somatic tissue and two males for testis) from nine mammalian species: placental mammals (great apes, including humans; rhesus macaque; mouse), marsupials (gray short-tailed opossum) and monotremes (platypus). Corresponding data (∼0.3 billion reads) were generated for a bird (red jungle fowl, a non-domesticated chicken) and used as an evolutionary outgroup.