Primate Comparison

posted Mar 10, 2016, 5:58 AM by Jerrid Johansen   [ updated Mar 11, 2016, 6:49 AM ]

Primate Comparison

posted Mar 10, 2016, 7:58 AMMar 10, 2016, 7:58 AM by Jerrid Johansen   [ updated 5 minutes agoMar 10, 2016, 11:22 AM ]
To continue with our human, chimp, and gorilla comparison you are going to use a service called UNIPROT.  This is an online database of thousands of protein sequences for all types of organisms, ranging from humans to pandas to whales to birds.  Today you will use UNIPROT to analyze the hemoglobin subunit alpha protein sequence for 5 primates:  HUMAN, CHIMPANZEE, GORILLA, ORANGUTAN, BABOON.
  1. Go to the UNIPROT DATABASE
  2. In the search bar at the top type in hba human and click the search button.
  3. In the next screen click on the checkbox on the left side of the hba human entry.  Make sure it is the Hemoglobin Subunit Alpha for human.  Also note the scientific name for the organism, and write it down.  It will come in handy when you're trying to read the cladogram at the end.
  4. Once you have selected it click on the Add to Basket button near the top.
  5. Repeat this process for the remaining 4 primates, each time typing "hba" before the organism's name.
  6. Once you have added all 5 organisms to the basket, click on the Basket button near the top right corner.  A new drop box will appear. 
  7. Select all 5 entries and click the Align button at the bottom of the drop box. 
  8. The database will align the 5 protein sequences and automatically run a comparison for all five of them. 
  9. After the alignment has taken place a new screen will appear with the results.  Click on the Similarity button in the left-hand margin of the page.  It will highlight the similarities, and indicate the differences in the amino acids for the primates.  Notice how similar all of the sequences are.
  10. The cladogram that we are after is near the bottom of that results page.
  11. Sketch the cladogram and indicate who the biggest "oddball" of the group is, and who the closest relative(s) of humans is/are.

After you've completed the introductory activity, spend some time attempting to answer the following:
  1. Beyond the primates (apes, monkeys, gorillas, chimps) what group of animals are most closely related to humans?
  2. What group of 4-legged animals is most closely related to whales?
Make sure you use the Hemoglobin Subunit Alpha protein.
Comments