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2/12/2016

IBE (CSIC-UPF): Interview with Tomàs Marquès-Bonet: "No matter how clever we are, humans will disappear"

IBE (CSIC-UPF): Interview with Tomàs Marquès-Bonet: "No matter how clever we are, humans will disappear"


News from IBE (CSIC-UPF)


Tomàs Marquès-Bonet is an ICREA researcher at the Department of Health and Life Sciences (DCEXS) at UPF and head of the Research Group on Comparative Genomics of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE), a joint UPF and CSIC centre, and of the CNAG-CRG. His research focuses on the study of the genome. His group uses genomics, transcriptomics and epigenetics to understand the basis of the features that are exclusively human, explore the impact of demographic changes on diversity and the impact that variants in the number of copies in the DNA have on the phenotype.

His latest article is published in Science, in which he reveals ancient crosses between chimpanzees and bonobos and creates new opportunities for the conservation of the species.

- The results of your latest study, published in Science, will help with the conservation of chimpanzees and bonobos. How can this research help to improve the current situation of these species?

Chimpanzees and bonobos are species in danger of extinction. There are two threats to their survival: deforestation, where my research can do little to help, and illegal trafficking. Poachers capture the animals and sell them at markets for consumption or they even keep them as pets. When these animals are intercepted at customs, they cannot be returned to their country of origin because no one knows where they came from. Our article proves for the first time that there are genetic differences between the chimps of different countries, that is to say, the genome of a chimpanzee in Gabon is different from that of one in Uganda. From now on, when a chimpanzee is intercepted, by means of genetic analysis we will be able to know what country it belongs to and we will be able to return it there. In this way we can also perform statistics and calculate which country the bulk of the traffic is coming from so that the country can adopt the necessary measures to prevent it (...)

More information:
IBE (CSIC-UPF) website