Chimps Genomes Derived From Bonobos Due To Ancient Interbreeding

Posted: Oct 28 2016, 8:04am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

Chimps Genomes Derived From Bonobos due to Ancient Interbreeding
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  • Chimps and Bonobos exchanged Genetic Material in Ancient Times through Sex
 

There is evidence that says that chimps and bonobos exchanged genetic material in ancient times through sex.

This is the first time that scientists have shown that ancient bonobos and chimpanzees engaged in gene mixing via sexual intercourse. This has parallels with homo sapiens mating with Neanderthals.

The study was published in the journal Science.

1% of chimp genes are derived from bonobos. Also genetic research shows that the native region of the chimps could be known with remarkable accuracy. This is needed for the conservation of the chimps. 

Chimps and bonobos are members of the great ape family and they both thrive in Africa. Both are on the endangered species list. Also they are protected by the law against poachers.

However, they are still often captured and held in captivity by those who tend to willfully break the law. In order to help the conservation drive, 75 bonobos and chimps had their genes analyzed.

They belonged to 10 African nations. Also 40 wild-born chimps from known-areas were included in this list. The genetic and geographic signatures of a chimp were found to match each other with remarkable accuracy. 

The release of illegally captured chimps could be made a cinch via this genomic research methodology. Chimps and bonobos diverged from each other on the evolutionary timeline some 1.5 to 2 million years ago.

It was thought that genetic flow between them would be an impossibility. Yet the opposite has been found to be the case recently. While chimps and bonobos were separated by the Congo River, some of them managed to find themselves in the opposing camp.

It was in such instances that sexual miscegenation took place. That is why many chimps have 1% of their genes from bonobos even today. Thus the initial separation was followed by several flings which caused the genes to be swapped between the two species.

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