Major chimpanzee-specific structural changes in sperm development-associated genes

Funct Integr Genomics. 2011 Sep;11(3):507-17. doi: 10.1007/s10142-011-0220-9. Epub 2011 Apr 12.


A comprehensive analysis of transcriptional structures of chimpanzee sperm development-associated genes is of significant interest for deeply understanding sperm development and male reproductive process. In this study, we sequenced 7,680 clones from a chimpanzee testis full-length cDNA library and obtained 1,933 nonredundant high-quality full-length cDNA sequences. Comparative analysis between human and chimpanzee showed that 78 sperm development-associated genes, most of which were yet uncharacterized, had undergone severe structural changes (mutations at the start/stop codons, INDELs, alternative splicing variations and fusion forms) on genomic and transcript levels throughout chimpanzee evolution. Specifically, among the 78 sperm development-associated genes, 39 including ODF2, UBC, and CD59 showed markedly chimpanzee-specific structural changes. Through dN/dS analysis, we found that 56 transcripts (including seven sperm development-associated genes) had values of greater than one when comparing human and chimpanzee DNA sequences, whereas the values were less than one when comparing humans and orangutans. Gene ontology annotation and expression profiling showed that the chimpanzee testis transcriptome was enriched with genes that are associated with chimpanzee male germ cell development. Taken together, our study provides the first comprehensive molecular evidence that many chimpanzee sperm development-associated genes had experienced severe structural changes over the course of evolution on genomic and transcript levels.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Fertilization / genetics
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Genetic Loci
  • Genetic Structures
  • Humans
  • INDEL Mutation
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pan troglodytes / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Sperm Capacitation / genetics
  • Sperm Motility / genetics
  • Spermatogenesis / genetics
  • Spermatozoa / physiology*
  • Testis / physiology


  • RNA, Messenger