Genome and Transcriptome Comparisons between Human and Chimpanzee

Detta är en avhandling från Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Sammanfattning: The chimpanzee is humankind’s closest living relative and the two species diverged ~6 million years ago. Comparative studies of the human and chimpanzee genomes and transcriptomes are of great interest to understand the molecular mechanisms of speciation and the development of species-specific traits.The aim of this thesis is to characterize differences between the two species with regard to their genome sequences and the resulting transcript profiles. The first two papers focus on indel divergence and in particular, indels causing premature termination codons (PTCs) in 8% of the chimpanzee genes. The density of PTC genes is correlated with both the distance to the telomere and the indel divergence. Many PTC genes have several associated transcripts and since not all are affected by the PTC we propose that PTCs may affect the pattern of expressed isoforms. In the third paper, we investigate the transcriptome divergence in cerebellum, heart and liver, using high-density exon arrays. The results show that gene expression differs more between tissues than between species. Approximately 15% of the genes are differentially expressed between species, and half of the genes show different splicing patterns. We identify 28 cassette exons which are only included in one of the species, often in a tissue-specific manner. In the fourth paper, we use massive parallel sequencing to study the chimpanzee transcriptome in frontal cortex and liver. We estimate gene expression and search for novel transcribed regions (TRs). The majority of TRs are located close to genes and possibly extend the annotations. A subset of TRs are not found in the human genome. The brain transcriptome differs substantially from that of the liver and we identify a subset of genes enriched with TRs in frontal cortex.In conclusion, this thesis provides evidence of extensive genomic and transcriptomic variability between human and chimpanzee. The findings provide a basis for further studies of the underlying differences affecting phenotypic divergence between human and chimpanzee.