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    Hotspots of rapid genome evolution hold clues about human adaptation. We present a comparative analysis of nine whole-genome sequenced primates to identify high-confidence targets of positive selection. We find strong statistical evidence for positive selection in 331 protein-coding genes (3%), pinpointing 934 adaptively evolving codons (0.014%). Our new procedure is stringent and reveals substantial artefacts (20% of initial predictions) that have inflated previous estimates. The final 331 positively selected genes (PSG) are strongly enriched for innate and adaptive immunity, secreted and cell membrane proteins (e.g. pattern recognition, complement, cytokines, immune receptors, MHC, Siglecs). We also find evidence for positive selection in reproduction and chromosome segregation (e.g. centromere-associated CENPO, CENPT), apolipoproteins, smell/taste receptors and mitochondrial proteins. Focusing on the virus-host interaction, we retrieve most evolutionary conflicts known to influence antiviral activity (e.g. TRIM5, MAVS, SAMHD1, tetherin) and predict 70 novel cases through integration with virus-human interaction data. Protein structure analysis further identifies positive selection in the interaction interfaces between viruses and their cellular receptors (CD4-HIV; CD46-measles, adenoviruses; CD55-picornaviruses). Finally, primate PSG consistently show high sequence variation in human exomes, suggesting ongoing evolution. Our curated dataset of positive selection is a rich source for studying the genetics underlying human (antiviral) phenotypes. Procedures and data are available at © The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


    Robin van der Lee, Laurens Wiel, Teunis J P van Dam, Martijn A Huynen. Genome-scale detection of positive selection in nine primates predicts human-virus evolutionary conflicts. Nucleic acids research. 2017 Oct 13;45(18):10634-10648

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    PMID: 28977405

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