back to article Boffins unlock gorilla genome, find lazy sperm gene

Genes controlling hearing, the creation of knuckle pads and sperm formation have caught the interest of boffins who today published the first sequenced gorilla genome. The data from the project, which sequenced over 140 billion base pairs over a five-year period, implies that in 30 per cent of its genome, the gorilla is closer …


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  1. Christoph

    Our three great apes . . .

    "The project completes the trilogy of great ape gene sequences: the human genome was published in full in 2003, the chimpanzee genome in 2005 and the orangutan genome in 2011."

    So this trilogy covers four of the five great apes? (Bonobo still to come)

    1. dogged

      Re: Our three great apes . . .

      Aren't bonobos just a breed of chimps? A bit smaller and darker but no more "divergent" than say, rottweilers from doberman pinschers?

      On a different note, are they planning to sequence gibbons? Because that could also be interesting.

      1. Alister

        Re: Our three great apes . . .

        Chimpanzees are of the genus "Pan" which is normally agreed to have two distinct species: Pan paniscus (the Bonobo) and Pan troglodytes (the common Chimpanzee).

        Dogs, however are all considered to be a single species, Canis familiaris.

        The distinction is due to the amount of differences between the DNA of the types, and also whether it is genetically possible for different types to interbreed - in the case of dogs, apart from sheer physical incompatability any breed of dog can produce viable offspring with any other breed of dog.

        This is not believed to be possible between robust and gracile chimps.

  2. Eddy Ito

    Lazy sperm gene?

    Do you think it has any relation to a couple of lazy sacs at the office?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do we know enough about gorilllas?

    Do we know enough about gorillas to say that they do not have heart attacks or suffer from dementia? I should think that the sample is much smaller for gorillas than it is for humans. Correct me if I am wrong.

    1. Jess

      Re: Do we know enough about gorilllas?

      I bet if they sat at a desk all day and spent the evenings in front of a TV eating junk food they would have heart attacks.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Good stuff

    Nice to see that they've finally pinned down where we differ from the rest of the apes. What I really want to know, though, is when are they going to make use of this knowledge and try splicing in human genes to see if we can make them more intelligent?

    (I really wanted a 'Frankenstein' icon, but this will have to do.)

    1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

      Re: Good stuff

      make them smarter? Are you mad?!? Chuck Heston is no longer able to save us!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good stuff (Chuck Heston)

        It'll have to be Chuck Norris then.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "splicing in human genes..."

      " to see if we can make them more intelligent..."

      Actually, splicing them in to the **Homo sapiens** genome, for the same reason, is both easier and more urgent....

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: "splicing in human genes..."

        Good un.

        Shit, though, you've just flipped my paranoia switch. Find the genes that code for docility in the face of authority (which they must have to form their communities) and plug them into the human population.

        1. Eddy Ito

          Re: "splicing in human genes..."


          But it would be easier for gorillas since their communities are based around a single male, presumably one who can get pretty much what he wants, when he wants. Unless of course you were speaking of docility in the females and reducing the male population by an order of magnitude. Of course if you reduced the male population that much, you might not need the gene in the first place.

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Gorillas more resistant to dementia?

    How is it known there are not a bunch of confused gorillas walking about who've forgotten what a banana looks like?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    “Gorillas live in groups with one male and lots of females, so there's not much opportunity for sperm competition,”

    Count me in for the next study !

  7. The last doughnut

    So we've sequenced the genes of all the great apes

    Sun readers next?

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