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Genomic Variants in Monkeys2019-02-03T19:59:54+00:00
PerkinElmer Applied Genomics

Specific Genomic Variants in Monkeys used for Conservation

There are currently more than 260 species of monkeys worldwide. Although some species are less endangered than others, all of them are highly susceptible to environmental and climate changes and their number is therefore closely monitored. One of the most efficient methods to estimate the size of monkey and ape populations is the lineage analysis of specific genomic variants, a technology widely used in conservation efforts. As the animal group more similar to humans, the study of the ape genomes has revealed many surprising facts about human evolution. For example, the separation event between human and chimpanzees was not rapid, but rather prolonged in time and characterized by extensive gene flow.

  • Biodiversity
    It may seem that spider monkeys would have very little impact on stabilizing climate, but in fact, they are extremely important. Hardwood trees are the most effective at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but the trees rely on these large omnivores to disperse their seeds. Scientists see examples of these interactions throughout our planet’s ecosystems and have found that even the slightest tilt off-balance can result in an unhealthy system, and inevitably an unhealthy planet.

  • Plant Pollination
    Certain species of monkeys rely solely on plant nectar when they are unable to find fruit in their surroundings. As the monkeys are feeding on the nectar, pollen rubs off onto their fur, helping the plants spread into new habitats. Monkeys and other mammals have led certain plant species to become more robust than other plant species reliant on insects or birds.

  • Primate miRNA Analysis
    Comparative genomics is an important tool for studying the evolutionary history. Genomic analyses of primates show that many of the phenotypic differences between species result from changes in gene expression and not amino acid divergence. Recent studies of miRNA, an important class of post-transcriptional trans-acting factors that regulate mRNA stability and rates of translation, are being used to characterize primate evolution.

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