Chimpanzee genomics

This week's Nature (9/1/05) has a special feature on the chimpanzee genome (subscription required). The introduction is this perspective by Chris Gunter and Ritu Dhand:

We are therefore extremely pleased to present this special section to commemorate the genome of the common chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes. In doing so, we hope to provide a resource for more than just genomics. We introduce the section with a timeline that charts the history of the chimp. This is followed by four Progress pieces that review recent work on chimp culture and behaviour, psychology and neural processing of number systems, as well as a closer look at brain anatomy and neurogenetics at the single-gene level.
On page 69, the Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium reports analysis of the long-awaited draft genome sequence. This is supported on page 101 by Hughes et al., with the sequence of part of the chimpanzee Y chromosome. Comparing the genetic code of humans and chimps will allow us to comb through each gene or regulatory region to find single changes that might have made a difference in evolution, and the authors list some new candidates for further study. Two more research papers by Cheng et al. (page 88) and Linardopoulou et al. (page 94) detail changes in highly variable regions in the human and chimp genomes; additions or deletions of larger chunks of DNA may be as important as single nucleotide changes in shaping our genomes (links deactivated because they aren't functional).
Finally, we need physical evidence to tell us how chimps and humans may have lived millions of years ago. Surprisingly, to date there has been no fossil record of the chimp; on page 105, McBrearty and Jablonski report the first unequivocal fossil evidence of the genus Pan.

I'll be working through several of the papers and posting my comments on them, as well as links to more information. Keep checking back for updates. Together with some interesting stuff coming next week, this is going to be a busy time here!