Molecular evolution of the ψη-globin gene locus: Gibbon phylogeny and the hominoid slowdown

Wendy J. Bailey, David H.A. Fitch, Danilo A. Tagle, John Czelusniak, Jerry L. Slightom, Morris Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An 8.4-kb genomic region spanning both the ψη-globin gene locus and flanking DNA was sequenced from the common gibbon (Hylobates lar). In addition, sequencing of the entire orthologous region from galago (Galago crassicaudatus) was completed. The gibbon and galago sequences, along with published orthologous sequences from 10 other species, were aligned. These noncoding nucleotide sequences represented four human alleles, four apes (chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan, and gibbon), an Old World monkey (rhesus monkey), two New World monkeys (spider and owl monkeys), tarsier, two strepsirhines (galago and lemur), and goat. Divergence and maximum parsimony analyses of the ψη genomic region first groups humans and chimpanzees and then, at progressively more ancient branch points, successively joins gorillas, orangutans, gibbons, Old World monkeys, New World monkeys, tarsiers, and strepsirhines (the lemuriform-lorisiform branch of primates). This cladistic pattern supports the taxonomic grouping of all extant hominoids into family Hominidae, the division of Hominidae into subfamilies Hylobatinae (gibbons) and Homininae, the division of Homininae into tribes Pongini (orangutans) and Hominini, and the division of Hominini into subtribes Gorillina (gorillas) and Hominina (chimpanzees and humans). The additional gibbon and galago sequence data provide further support for the occurrence of a graded evolutionaryrate slowdown in the descent of simian primates, with the slowing rate being more pronounced in the great-ape and human lineages than in the gibbon or monkey lineages. A comparison of global versus local molecular clocks reveals that local clock predictions, when focused on a specific number of species within a narrow time frame, provide a more accurate estimate of divergence dates than do those of global clocks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-184
Number of pages30
JournalMolecular Biology and Evolution
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1991


  • Cladistic classification
  • DNA hybridization
  • Maximum parsimony
  • Noncoding nucleotide sequences
  • Primate phylogeny
  • ψη-globin gene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular evolution of the ψη-globin gene locus: Gibbon phylogeny and the hominoid slowdown'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this