Human molecular evolution since the human-chimpanzee divergence

Published on March 18, 2015   24 min

You are viewing a talk that is a part of one of our comprehensive courses. Additional learning material: case studies, projects, workshops and recommended reading; multiple choice questions and suggested exam questions with model answers are available on application. Learn more

Other Talks in the Series: Human Population Genetics II

My name is Katherine Pollard. I'm a Senior Investigator at the Gladstone Institute and a professor of human genetics and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco. Today, we're going to be talking about human molecular evolution since the human-chimpanzee divergence.
My lab studies the genetic basis for what makes us human. From an evolutionary perspective, this is the same as asking what makes us different from chimpanzees and other apes. Chimps are our closest living relatives on the tree of life, and we had a common ancestor about 6 million years ago.
Despite the fact that humans have often thought of ourselves as particularly unique, from many points of view, we are just typical apes. Even some traits, such as tool making or counting, that were previously thought to be specific to humans, have been observed in non-human primates and other animals. However, for every similarity to chimpanzees, there are also interesting differences. These include our unique spoken language and also our susceptibility to a number of deadly diseases. For example, primates can all become infected with immunodeficiency viruses very similar to HIV, yet the resulting AIDS disease is much more severe in humans.

Human molecular evolution since the human-chimpanzee divergence

Embed in course/own notes