Saturday, August 16, 2008

Humans and monkeys: Recent convergent evolution on COX2?   posted by Herrick @ 8/16/2008 12:16:00 PM

Svante Paabo's group just finished sequencing the complete mitochondrial DNA of a Neanderthal. The article is in the newest Cell. John Hawks has a summary.

One of the big findings: In one tiny way, we've become more like monkeys recently, since Neanderthals, chimps, and other sequenced apes have the same non-homo-sapiens variants on COX2, but these human variants are common among old world monkeys. Guess I'll have to take my pet macaque off of Vioxx now.

Upshot: Something big may have happened to human metabolism in the last few hundred thousand years since our split from the Neanderthals. And on this one gene, the solution our species found looks like the same solution that works for monkeys.