Genomes of seven animals reveal new parts of the human genome for disease development

To unearth new functional regions in the human genome with potential roles in shaping clinically important traits, researchers searched for how elephants, hibernating bats, orcas, dolphins, naked mole rats, and ground squirrels changed critical parts of the human genome that are shared with most other mammals. These regions are highly conserved, but to evolve their highly distinctive traits, these seven species had to change how these conserved DNA elements work.


For example, elephants are the largest land mammals and were discovered to have changed several conserved regions associated with DNA repair. This discovery hints at why elephants rarely get cancer despite their large size and may provide clues to the genetics of human cancer. The study was published March 6 2018 in the journal Cell Reports.



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