Beyond the Identification of Transcribed Sequences:
Functional, Evolutionary and Expression Analysis
12th International Workshop
October 25-28, 2002
Washington, DC

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Molecular Evolutionary Analyses of HoxA Gene Cluster of Human and Apes

Naruya Saitou
National Institute of Genetics, Mishima, 411-8540 JAPAN
Telephone: 81-55-981-6790
Fax: 81-55-981-6789

Molecular evolutionary analyses of HoxA gene cluster of human and apes Kim Choong-Gon, Kitano Takashi, and Saitou Naruya Division of Population Genetics, National Institute of Genetics, Mishima, Japan Nucleotide difference between human and chimpanzee, the closest living organism to human, is about 1.2%. Therefore, half (0.6%) of this difference accumulated after the human lineage diverged from the chimpanzee lineage. All the genetic changes responsible for "humanness" must reside in those differences. We thsu started small scale ape genome sequencing called "Silver Project" ( As pilot project, we conducted nucleotide sequencing of Hox A gene cluster for chimpanzee, gorilla, and orangutan. We first designed PCR primers based on nucleotide sequences of human HoxA cluster available from DDBJ/EMBL/GenBank International Nucleotide Sequence Database, then did direct sequencing those PCR-amplified product using ape genomic DNA as template. A total of 21,000 bp were determined for chimpanzee, gorilla, and orangutan, including HoxA4, HoxA5, HoxA6, and HoxA7 genes as well as intergenic regions. We also constructed 3.5x gorilla fosmid library. Using this gorilla library as well as chimpanzee BAC library, the whole HoxA cluster sequences of about 100 kb were determined for chimpanzee and gorilla. We took approach of comparing hominoid as a whole, instead of conventional pairwise comparison. By this way, we could identify several short DNA regions where only few nucleotide substitutions accumulated during hominoid evolution.

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