After successfully deciphering the human genome, scientists have started to sequence the genome of other animals. Scientists announced on Wednesday that they successfully deciphered the DNA of last of the living ape species, Gibbons. A resident of the dense tropical forests of South East Asia, the Gibbon is one the few apes whose DNA profile has been recently revealed.
Jeffrey Rogers, a primate genetics researcher at the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston said, “We now have whole genome sequences for all the great apes and, with this work, also the small apes – gibbons. This provides new information and insight into the history of the human genome, in evolutionary terms,”
The study revealed that the genetic underpinning which gave the apes the extraordinary capability to swing from tree to tree at speeds of up to 35 mph. It also detected an extraordinary number of structural changes in their DNA. The DNA of the Gibbons had undergone mutation n which ordinarily in other species like Man would have caused a number of problems but for Gibbons they are perfectly well.
The study leader, primate genomics expert Lucia Carbone of the Oregon Health & Science University and the Oregon National Primate Research Center said, “The gibbon genome fills the gap between Old World Monkeys like macaques and baboons and the great apes.”
The study reveals that Gibbons have a genome which is 96% similar while the Genome of chimpanzees, our closest ape cousin is 98% similar.
Gibbons are highly endangered species. The Hainan gibbon is almost to the brink of extinction, since it has only 20 individuals left. Gibbons are omnivorous just like men and their food include, high forest canopy, eating fruit, leaves, bird eggs, insects and birds. They are also monogamous just like man.