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Biotech Science

Scientists Map DNA of Rhesus Monkeys 104

KingKong writes "Scientists have unraveled the DNA of another of our primate relatives, this time a monkey named the rhesus macaque — and the work has far more immediate impact than just to study evolution. These fuzzy animals are key to testing the safety of many medicines, and understanding such diseases as AIDS, and the new research will help scientists finally be sure when they're a good stand-in for humans. 'Having a third primate will allow scientists to compare the three genomes, with an added emphasis on singling out the genes possessed by humans alone. The end goal is to reconstruct the history of every single one of the approximately 20,000 genes, to determine when they first appeared in history, and in what species. All of this requires an extraordinary amount of information.'"
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Scientists Map DNA of Rhesus Monkeys

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  • Yeah RIGHT (Score:5, Funny)

    by Absolut187 (816431) on Friday April 13, 2007 @02:26PM (#18723027) Homepage
    Like we really evolved from *monkeys*.


    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ArcherB (796902) *
      Like we really evolved from *monkeys*.


      Well, at least not chocolate and peanut butter monkeys!
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Mockylock (1087585)
        I wouldn't doubt that we somehow evolved from crap-slinging, organ-grinding, spider monkeys. My 2 year old reminds me of it every day.
      • We, as Atheists, affirm that once life appeared as a very basic form of joint C-H-O-N molecules. From that on, evolution. We don't know yet all the steps in that evolution, but we are sure that once life on earth didn't exist, then a very basic form appeared just because the environment caused those chemical reactions, and that those very basic forms of life somehow evolved into us, into monkeys, into birds ... We may not know the specifics, but we know THAT. And we are also sure that, because of this, at s
        • We, as Atheists, affirm that once life appeared as a very basic form of joint C-H-O-N molecules...

          Why must you be an Atheist to believe in evolution? Who am I, as a Christian, to say that God didn't create the creatures of the world via evolution, or the universe via the big bang? All I can be sure of is that I don't know much of anything beyond my own existence, and even then I sometimes have my doubts. :-) It's like the time I asked Descartes if he could prove MY existence. He started by saying, "Well
          • by Ramze (640788)
            I understand that if you don't take the Genesis creation story as fact, you can believe in evolution and still be a Christian. However, I live in the deep south (South Carolina) where most people would consider you to be a non-Christian for believing in evolution. You'd be dismissed as a heretic or member of a cult (like the Mormons) for not believing in "the sacred and literal word of God that is the Bible".

            I understand that individuals each have their own beliefs -- even if they fall un
            • Very well said sir.

              In order to have a theory that explains why we exist, you have to deduce parting from NOW. Religion just sets an arbitrary starting point and determines other arbitrary facts. To put it in a different, mathematical expression:

              Science uses squares and division, That is, I accept that all i know is that i currently AM, and even that is just is something that my mind experiences, and from empiric observations establish the existence and relation to "the real world". From then on, i deduce wh
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      What will these creationists do as science and facts continue to pile up?

      And what will mankind do if they find that humans were manipulated at some point rather than having a slow progressive evolution? Then the argument would be God vs. Alien intervention.

      This could be fun! :-) But in actuality it will probably all be pretty mundane :-/

    • by misleb (129952)
      I realize you're probably joking, but I'd like to make it clear that "related to" != "evolved from." Saying that we evolved from some species just because we are related to it would be like suggesting that your aunt gave birth to you.

      • by ArcherB (796902) *
        I realize you're probably joking, but I'd like to make it clear that "related to" != "evolved from." Saying that we evolved from some species just because we are related to it would be like suggesting that your aunt gave birth to you.

        Excellent analogy. I hope you don't mind if I extend it one step further by saying it would be more like cousin gave birth to you, since both we and modern monkeys are of the same evolutionary generation.

      • by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday April 13, 2007 @02:54PM (#18723483) Journal

        Saying that we evolved from some species just because we are related to it would be like suggesting that your aunt gave birth to you.
        I'm a hillbilly, you insensitive clod!
        • by misleb (129952)
          Damn, you're right! It is possible for your aunt to have given birth to you if your father slept with his sister. She'd be your mother AND your aunt. I hadn't thought of that.

          • by maxume (22995)
            It doesn't even have to be incestuous, the father could just be a bit of a cad(or even had legitimate relationships with a pair of sisters).
            • by misleb (129952)
              Just because your father has a child with your aunt, that doesn't make your aunt your mum. She's still only your aunt. She just happens to be the mother of your half-sibling.

              • by maxume (22995)
                I don't think we really need to explain the obvious to each other, but given the correct sequence of relationships, she could very easily be your step mom.
                • One day I'm going to draw a diagram and work out if this song makes sense:

                  Oh, many, many years ago
                  When I was twenty-three
                  I was married to a widow
                  Who was pretty as can be
                  This widow had a grown-up daughter
                  Who had hair of red
                  My father fell in love with her
                  And soon the two were wed

                  This made my dad my son-in-law
                  And changed my very life
                  For my daughter was my mother
                  'Cause she was my father's wife
                  To complicate the matter
                  Though it really brought me joy
                  I soon became the father
                  Of a bouncing baby boy

                  This little baby th
                • by misleb (129952)
                  That doesn't really count. We're talking about genetics, not social constructs.

      • by shaitand (626655)
        'I realize you're probably joking, but I'd like to make it clear that "related to" != "evolved from." Saying that we evolved from some species just because we are related to it would be like suggesting that your aunt gave birth to you.'

        Technically you are right. It only means you shared a common ancestor. Just as you shared a common ancestor with your aunt.

    • Clearly, we're the work of His Noodlyness. Do you think it's coincidental that our DNA looks like this [google.com]? Don't ever question our Durum Deity again, or you will surely boil in the eternal Pot o' Haggis! Ramen.
    • What do you mean evolved FROM monkeys? Some of us are quite happy to stay up here on the tree.
      • What do you mean evolved FROM monkeys? Some of us are quite happy to stay up here on the tree.
        Fa! Even the trees were a bad move. Noone should have left the oceans.
    • hmmm good thing we didn't then eh... not any modern version of a monkey in any case... our ancestors split from the modern monkey 10s of millions of years ago, so no we did not evolve from monkeys, though we do have a common ancestor with the great apes way way back 7 million years: Sahelanthropus tchadensis [wikipedia.org]. Here's the timeline [wikipedia.org] if you want to see where we split from monkeys... circa 35 MYA.

      OT rant:
      OH and birth control, preferably through properly timed intercourse, is a much better version of abortion if y
  • Next... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Mockylock (1087585)
    Their next feat will be to DNA map Michael Jackson, in an attempt to find out his origin. This will prove whether Michael is IN FACT a human. The problem lies within finding Michael, though DNA has been found on several African children.
  • have we already mapped the differentiation between individuals in our own species?

    say, 10 male, 10 female, those with a preponderance of posts on slashdot vs those who do not?

    I would imagine that this would be necessary to prevent false impressions.
    • Good question. I think that they just really like playing with monkeys.
    • Re:but first. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday April 13, 2007 @02:49PM (#18723399) Journal

      say, 10 male, 10 female, those with a preponderance of posts on slashdot vs those who do not?
      But sir, you repeat yourself. ;)

      Besides, what good is it to map the DNA of those who aren't contributing to the gene pool? ;P

      Seriously, though, if we wanted to map variation in human DNA, we'd need far more than 20 samples. Here [wikipedia.org]'s some info that might interest you -- it's an effort headquartered at Stanford to map the 1% of the human genome that differentiates human populations from eachother.
      • Thank you for the link. That article saddened me though. People squawk about supporting diversity and racial pride, but I guess they don't want it qantified. Racially targeted bio-weapons? Are these people for real?
        Where's that big asteroid when you need one?
    • by CrazyJim1 (809850)
      "say, 10 male, 10 female, those with a preponderance of posts on slashdot vs those who do not?"

      Ha. Trick question. There aren't 10 females who post on Slashdot.
  • Unfortunately this is about the Rhesus Macaque. Not the Crab-eating Macaque. Or we'd finally understand how Maggie makes her picks! [wikipedia.org]
    • by guruevi (827432)
      Maggie makes her picks by spinning the wheel. As you will see from the results, she has an average of 50% correctness (8-7,7-8,...), which would make it a statistically correct random spin. It's not like she's correct 90% of the times, because that would indeed be weird.
  • ... towards discovering and isolating the 'poop flinging' and 'knob fiddling' gene in monkey. At last we'll be able to breed special monkeys for use in family friendly zoos.
  • Please tell me this research isn't being done at Fort Wyvern [wikipedia.org]
  • I had always wondered what's inside those little chocolaty candies, but always hated to ask.
  • do monkeys taste like men?

    Gay zoophiles, please chime in.
  • by alisonchilla (1025560) on Friday April 13, 2007 @03:30PM (#18724067)
    If you're interested in the nitty-gritty details, go to http://www.sciencemag.org/sciext/macaque/ [sciencemag.org] . The entire special issue, including the research articles, is free for all.

    And if you're not into reading scientific papers, there is an "interactive poster" with videos for the common man.

    From the website
    "In the 13 April 2007 issue, Science unveils the genome sequence of one of biology's most important model organisms -- the rhesus macaque monkey (Macaca mulatta). In Science, a Research Article and four Reports, as well as two News stories, detail the biomedical and evolutionary insights gained from the macaque genome, only the third primate genome to be completed after human and chimpanzee. Online, an interactive poster enhanced with images, discussions, and videos explores the significance of the rhesus macaque and its draft genome sequence to studies of primate biology and evolution. Accompanying the online feature is an educational resource for high school biology teachers, which includes teacher background information, a lesson plan, and student worksheet."

    (sorry if this has already been mentioned. I checked but didn't see it)
  • No, it won't. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Empiric (675968) on Friday April 13, 2007 @03:42PM (#18724259)
    "This brings us much closer to understanding what makes us human," said Richard Gibbs, the project leader and director of Baylor's Human Genome Sequencing Center.

    No scientific effort will ever differentiate the basic category of "human", much less tell us "what it means". From the perspective of DNA, we're simply a biological continuum with animals, and no further objective conclusions will be forthcoming on this question.

    The basic ability to formulate this necessary distinction is based purely in metaphysics.

    • There is a point here, though. If we accept that we are descended from the same stock as the monkeys and apes (well, technically all life is from the same stock, but anyway...) and we look at their behavior, "what makes us human" is the wish to rise above our biological nature.

      If you look at chimps and monkeys, you'll see rape, murder, infantcide, war, and so on. Evolution-haters would tell you that you see the same things in humanity because we teach evolution, but I think it's because we don't think

    • Who the hell modded this up? Yes, we most certainly will be able to scientifically differentiate "human" from "other animals". There are many unique specific traits to humans, and those are all encoded in our DNA. We can already do DNA tests to find out of a sample is human or not using features unique to human DNA.
      • by Empiric (675968)
        No, you can test for what you informally call "human" (largely, probably via cultural assimilation). You do not have a basic differentiating definition of "human" as rendered in a particular DNA pattern.

        If the notion of genetic "chimeras" doesn't make this clear to you, I'm not sure what will.
        • Yes, we informally call it human, and formally call it homo sapiens. We can test for that already, its not a future thing. Trying to pretend there is some spiritual question here isn't going to change that. And chimeras requires no quotes, and doesn't have anything to do with it. A chimera is both species. If you test its DNA, you will get either species it contains, depending on which cell you got the DNA from. This is very clear and not in any way confusing.
          • by Empiric (675968)
            You realize you're utterly evading the question at hand, with a purely tautological pseudo-definition, right?

            You can test for species X, demonstrating correspondence with your arbitrary declaration of what is included in a species. That is, demonstrating nothing relevant to my point.

            Anyway, this has gone on too long. The issue is of rather particular practical application, and that application won't be soon, personally.
  • Monkey DNA is nice, but wake me when they genetically engineer one with four asses.

  • Once scientists code the DNA of Arachis hypogaea and Theobroma cacao then we can begin our genetic experiments and give birth to the Reeses Monkey!

  • scientists have finally found all the Rhesus Pieces?
  • Freaky monkeys (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Friday April 13, 2007 @06:08PM (#18726215)
    The Rhesus monkey is close enough to our genetic makeup to help us research many diseases. But of course, the closer its DNA, the more helpful it would be. I wonder how much temptation there is to start modifying Rhesus monkey DNA to be closer to our own. How much human DNA can you splice in there before you have something that is in effect human? What do you have if it's only half human?

    This could become rather weird.
  • The rhesus monkey torture kit.
    (monkey not included).
  • scientists patent DNA of Rhesus monkey, news at 11..
  • There's no right way to eat a rhesus

Power corrupts. And atomic power corrupts atomically.