The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI, sorry no clever acronym) has announced the next primate genome to be sequenced: the white cheeked gibbon (pictured right). This genome is of particular interest due to the large amount of segmental duplications, which are of both medical and evolutionary interest. Here is Francis Collins, the NHGRI Director, pimping the project:
“The gibbon genome sequence will provide researchers with crucial information when comparing it to the human genome sequence and other primate genomes, shedding light on molecular mechanisms implicated in human health and disease – from infectious diseases and neurological disorders to mental illness and cancer.”
Collins added that none of these findings will provide evidence that humans have evolved and/or are evolving. Okay, Collins didn’t actually say that, but he was definitely thinking that. I know because I’ve got telepathy, and I can read Frank’s mind.