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Jean Louis Nahon Les gènes "spécifiques-humains": de l'hérésie à la réalité.

Abstract :


H
umans and other Anthropoids share very similar chromosome structure and genomic sequence as seen in the 98.5% homology at the DNA level between us and Great Apes. However, anatomical and behavioral traits distinguish Homo sapiens from his closest relatives. I will review several recent studies that address the issue by using different approaches : large-scale sequence genome and transcriptome comparison between human and chimpanzee, characterization of segmental duplications in the human genome and analysis of exemplary gene families. As a major breakthrough in the field, the heretical concept of « human-specific » genes has recently received some supporting data, as exemplified by the discovery of the PMCHL1/PMCHL2 genes and detailed characterization in my laboratory. In addition, specific chromosomal regions have been mapped that display all the features of « gene nurseries » and could have played a major role in gene innovation and speciation during primate evolution. Intriguingly, a majority of these « new » genes displayed differential expression in the brains of primates and could therefore candidate genes for emergence of « primate-specific » brain cellular development and neuronal functions. 

Selected publications

Guyon A, Rovere C, Cervantes A, Allaeys I, Nahon JL.
Stromal cell-derived factor-1alpha directly modulates voltage-dependent currents of the action potential in mammalian neuronal cells.
J Neurochem. 2005 May;93(4):963-73.
Guyon A, Banisadr G, Rovere C, Cervantes A, Kitabgi P, Melik-Parsadaniantz S, Nahon JL.
Complex effects of stromal cell-derived factor-1 alpha on melanin-concentrating hormone neuron excitability.
Eur J Neurosci. 2005 Feb;21(3):701-10.

Erwan Bézard