The genome of the Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla ssp. gorilla) has been sequenced at a high level of quality beginning to approach that of the human genome, says a team of scientists led by Prof. Evan Eichler from the University of Washington. Prof. Eichler and his colleagues used long-read sequencing technology, along with a unique combination of algorithms, to reconstruct a much more accurate genome, using DNA isolated from a Western lowland gorilla named Susie at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. “The genome assembly that results from using the long-read data provides a more complete picture of gene content, structural variation and repeat biology, as well as allows us to refine population genetic and evolutionary inferences.” These results provide a better understanding of genetic variation between our species and our non-human cousins, but also demonstrate ways to sequence other mammalian genomes with better accuracy.
The results were published in the April 1, 2016 issue of the journal Science.