Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Guarding the Germline

The great apes (humans, gorillas and chimps) are able to reproduce for many decades -longer than other primates. Researchers have discovered a genetic change which is active in human testis that helps guard the genome and ensure the quality of sperm. See the original report Endogenous retrovirus drives hitherto unknown proapoptotic p63 isoforms in the male germ line of humans and great apes in PNAS and Those retroviruses get everywhere at the MicrobiologyBytes blog.
It wasn't clear to me if this also occurs in Orangutans, the paper said the change occurred about 15 million years ago and the Orangutans diverged 12-16Mya Comparative and demographic analysis of orang-utan genomes. Female orangutans are fertile for 30 years, fairly similar to human females. What about the males?

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