Comparative analysis of apoptotic function between humans, chimpanzees and macaques
Arora, Gaurav S.
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Humans and chimpanzees differ in a number of phenotypic traits chief among them being a larger sized human brain and an increased propensity for cancer in humans. Apoptosis or programmed cell death plays a role during brain development and disease progression to cancer. Results from my study, based on gene expression analysis, suggest that the apoptotic function may be generally reduced in humans relative to chimpanzees. In this thesis, I test the hypothesis that the apoptotic function is generally reduced in humans relative to chimpanzees by gene expression and experimental data. The experimental data are consistent with the hypothesis and also suggest that the apoptotic function may be reduced in humans relative to chimpanzees and macaques, suggesting that the reduced apoptotic function may be an evolutionary derived condition within the human lineage. I also evaluate the role of this reduced function in humans during brain development and disease progression to cancer. In addition, I also correlate Insertion/Deletion sequence variation between humans and chimpanzees with differences in gene expression between the two species.