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Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are 1 base pair differences in the genetic code when compared to same sequence from another individual. Many population geneticists who study human genetics compare and contrast SNPs between different populations to understand ancestry and genaology. A new database of non-human primate SNPs, MonkeySNP, has been recently released, and was announced in the journal Bioinformatics.

I don’t regularly announce such news, but I consider this a pretty significant tool for any researchers who are studying primate diversity. As you may know many primate species are severely endangered and any successful conservation effort requires an understanding of the genetic diversity of the surviving population. This database will help currate this genetic diversity.

But the database is rather limited right now. Only 827 SNPs are listed, and are only macaque SNPs. I’m hopeful that as the genes and genomes of more primates species and individuals are sequenced this database will grow. In the mean time, I suggest you bookmark this site and keep an eye on it.

    S. Khouangsathiene, C. Pearson, S. Street, B. Ferguson, C. Dubay (2008). MonkeySNP: a web portal for non-human primate single nucleotide polymorphisms Bioinformatics, 24 (22), 2645-2646 DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btn493
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