Jump to content


Getting an "Insecure Connection" warning for Exisle? No worry

Details in this thread

Any news on the Bonobo genome?


  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 Orpheus

Orpheus

    I'm not the boss of you!

  • Administrator
  • 17,757 posts

Posted 11 May 2003 - 07:05 PM

A question for the active molecular biologists here (I haven't been active for many years)

For over 25 years, I have maintained that the Bonobo  was  man's closest relative, not the chimpanzee. The problem was (in the eyes of Victorian biologists) is that bonobos, which have many anatomical, behavioral and functional (e.g. gait, face to face sex, etc.)  similarities to man, are embarrassing.  (In fact, for a long time, Bonobos were dismissed as "pygmy Chimpanzees)

Chimps and bonobos were, the last time I checked, considered roughly equidistant from man genetically. But chimps got the nod in the late 1800's/ early 1900's for purely cultural reasons. Chimps are quite violent (enough to easily take on a man twice their mass) and use violence as a primary tool for social hierarchy - very much in keeping with Colonial mores, social Darwinism, and notions of 'proper savagery'.  Bonobos, on the other hand, use sex, almost exclusively, to lubricate social transactions. "Mind if I slide by you on this branch? I'll give you a quickie lick or blowjob!" - and yes, precisely that behavior has been observed.

Now, as a teenager, I predicted that we wouldn't dare to sequence the Bonobo genome by the year 2000 (back in the 70's when we sequenced Phi-chi-174,  "the year 2000" was an idiom for the distant future) But now, I'm getting antsy. With so much work having been done on chimps, and the outlines of the Human genome having been mapped (There is a huge difference between the various degrees of mapping , and actual sequencing - a fact the media seems to go out of its way to obscure)  I have to wonder: am I just looking in the wrong places, or is there really no substantial work being done on the genome of what is at worst our second closest relative - and possibly our closest?

Then again, maybe this was just one of my early theories that was summarily shot down by preliminary studies, and hence is considered of no enduring interest.

#2 Chrys

Chrys

    Pinions Anonymous

  • Islander
  • 279 posts

Posted 11 May 2003 - 07:48 PM

The only thing I found that had a real number in it was a quote from a May '94 Scientific American.  I haven't checked their sources yet, but they claim that:

Quote

This finding commands attention because the bonobo shares more than 98 percent of our genetic profile, making it as close to a human as, say, a fox is to a dog.

Do not disturb. I had a hard enough time getting turbed in the first place.
I bought some batteries, but they weren't included. So I had to buy them again.

#3 Jid

Jid

    Mad Prophet of Funk

  • Islander
  • 12,554 posts

Posted 11 May 2003 - 07:51 PM

Honestly, I think right now, the human genome and the chimp genome are getting the most attentions for two important reasons (one apiece, actually).

For the chimpanzees, I think you're right, its most that they are traditionally held as our closest genetic relative.  But also, as cited in this article, while both Chimps and Bonobos seem to be roughly 99% genetically similar to human genomes, Chimpanzees seem to be immune to developing AIDS, even after being infected with the HIV virus, and that 1% difference in genome could be the reason why.

(Wish i could find more, but without access to my University's online subscriptions to journals galore, its harder to find hard facts)

As for the continued concentration on the human genome, that's far more simple a reason for continued research:  Simply put *ka-ching!*

This is kind of the beginnings of the 'gold rush' for patenting genes.  Because if you can find one that looks like it has some special properties, courts *are* holding up patent claims, so far.  And *that* is why pharmaceutical companies are still devoting huge amounts of resources to continuing with the now almost completely mapped human genome.  Now that we know where everything is, its time to find out what everything does, and cash in.
cervisiam tene rem specta

#4 Christopher

Christopher
  • Demigod
  • 32,914 posts

Posted 11 May 2003 - 07:51 PM

Orpheus, on May 11 2003, 12:52 PM, said:

...bonobos, which have many anatomical, behavioral and functional (e.g. gait, face to face sex, etc.)  similarities to man....
Actually face-to-face sex isn't "natural" for humans, evolutionarily speaking; rather, it's a cultural adaptation.  If folks will forgive me getting a bit graphic, the position of the human G-spot only makes sense in the context of rear-entry ("doggy-style") intercourse, because that's the only position in which it's directly stimulated.

However, I think face-to-face intimacy is one "unnatural" invention which is much better than what evolution produced.

Kissing, BTW, is also a cultural invention, not universally practiced in all human cultures.  Which is why I get so annoyed to see it portrayed as something routine among aliens in SF.  At least D. C. Fontana's Vulcans and Romulans did that finger-stroking thing instead.
"You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right." -- xkcd

"The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas." -- "H. G. Wells," Time After Time


Written Worlds -- My homepage and blog
Facebook Author Page

#5 Tarandus

Tarandus
  • Islander
  • 2,139 posts

Posted 12 May 2003 - 10:35 AM

I haven't heard anything about a bonobo genome effort, but there are lot's of things I don't hear. I'm working on plants, so I don't keep up on animal genomics as I should.

I thought it was quite clear that the bonobo is closer to humans than chimpanzees are, but a reason for doing the chimp instead of the bonobo may very well be that more is known about the chimp, such as protein expression patterns, diseases etc. That makes it easier to make sense of the genetic data once they have it.

#6 Delvo

Delvo
  • Islander
  • 9,273 posts

Posted 13 May 2003 - 01:51 AM

AHA! I think I just figured out that the trouble I've often had getting quotes to work is that the site doesn't want to take a message with more than one quote if I hit the "Quote" button, whereas I'm free to use all the separate quotes I want and have it WORK when I hit "Add Reply" (as long as I spell the command correctly) instead!...

Edited by Delvo, 13 May 2003 - 02:27 AM.


#7 Delvo

Delvo
  • Islander
  • 9,273 posts

Posted 13 May 2003 - 02:24 AM

Christopher, on May 11 2003, 11:38 AM, said:

Actually face-to-face sex isn't "natural" for humans, evolutionarily speaking; rather, it's a cultural adaptation.
Not true. It exists in all cultures, and even in relatives of ours separated by a handful of millions of years (and is the easiest to do, given the human body's proportional oddities compared to most mammals).

Quote

If folks will forgive me getting a bit graphic, the position of the human G-spot only makes sense in the context of rear-entry ("doggy-style") intercourse, because that's the only position in which it's directly stimulated.
Here's the basic medical info on the legendary G-spot, from the first of the multiple links on this Web MD search results page...

Quote

The G-spot is simply a small area located on the upper wall of the vagina, toward the belly, about two to three inches from the opening. Although many women have not had success finding their G-spots, in a recent study its presence was confirmed in all of the women examined. That does not mean, however, that all women find stimulation of this area pleasurable...  Under normal circumstances, the G-spot is about the size of a pea; it can grow to the size of a walnut when stimulated... If you want to try to locate your own (or your partner's) G-spot, you should insert one or two lubricated fingers into your vagina. If you are lying on your back, your G-spot will be toward the "twelve-o-clock" position. Crook your fingers upward toward your stomach and make a "come hither" motion. The exact location will vary somewhat from woman to woman, but the G-spot is generally midway between the opening of the vagina and the cervix... Certain positions will make it easier to reach this spot. Most women say that being on top during intercourse works best... Some women, though, swear by rear-entry as the best way to hit the G-spot. Interestingly, because of its location, a shorter, smaller penis may actually be more effective at reaching the G-spot... some women say that they feel nothing when this area is stimulated, or worse, a downright unpleasant sensation.
In other words, it's neither diffucult enough to stimulate, nor consistently enough a good thing to stimulate, nor exclusive enough in what position stimulates it most, to indicate that one position or another is "natural" and others aren't. (Which is a weird concept all by itself...)

Quote

Kissing, BTW, is also a cultural invention, not universally practiced in all human cultures.
As a casual thing to do when not having sex, there are a few such cultures, but not many; and no culture is known that holds back from it completely (including during sex or foreplay). In addition to this, the idea that it's not naturally built in to us is also counterindicated by the inordinate supply of tactile nerves in that area and by the importance of taste and smell to sexual stimulation (in a species in which smell and facial tactile sense are generally not very important for anything else), and by the presence of oral sexual behavior in at least one other related species.

* * *

ANYWAY... How long ago was the bonobo discovered? I was under the impression that they just weren't studied much compared to chimpanzees because existing knowledge bases are easier to expand than new ones are to create, and the chimpanzees just had a head start, not to mention being more easily found and captured.

And what, precisely, is the evidence upon which you guys base the idea that one of them is more closely related to us than the other is? And have you ever heard if they seem more closely geneticly related to each other than they are to us? (I think I heard once that they're don't, but I'm not sure.)

Edited by Delvo, 13 May 2003 - 02:33 AM.


#8 QueenTiye

QueenTiye

    Behavior is not reproducible over multiple trials.

  • Islander
  • 24,302 posts

Posted 13 May 2003 - 06:18 AM

Re: Species face -to-face intercourse - I agree with Delvo but I'm still surprised that the most seemingly obvious reason for the switch in posture for humans (at least) hasn't been mentioned ...

while the proverbial "G-spot" is spotty at best in terms of it's relative merits - a whole other part of female anatomy is known to be primary in stimulating pleasure for human females - namely the clitoris... and various front facing positions make stimulating this organ a part of the act of reproduction... pretty nice payoff for the species to make the act of reproduction pleasurable ...

Regarding the Bonobo - correct me if I've misunderstood, but I believe the primary idea was that the Bonobo are JUST as genetically capable of being considered our next of kin as the chimpanzee is - but for cultural reasons has been overlooked.

Off topic:

Quote

AHA! I think I just figured out that the trouble I've often had getting quotes to work is that the site doesn't want to take a message with more than one quote if I hit the "Quote" button, whereas I'm free to use all the separate quotes I want and have it WORK when I hit "Add Reply" (as long as I spell the command correctly) instead!...

The board has a weird quote function that HIDES the quote command until you actually post.  The result is that all of your commands are embedded in a quote function.  The solution I've found to work most consistently is this -

1. Enter the end quote command for all but the last portion of the text you intend to quote and reply to.  Said better, enter the first {/quote} to close the first embedded command, type something, then open the quote command again {quote}, close it when you are done, type again, and keep repeating until you get to the last quote - open the quote but DON'T close it and...

2. Type your response to this last quote in the box where they want you to put text... and then the final and most important step...

3. Preview your post.  Something about the act of previewing makes the whole thing set right.  No clue why that works better than just posting - but it does.

Editing to sound a little less sure of myself... LOL!  

Edited by QueenTiye, 13 May 2003 - 06:23 AM.

Een Draght Mackt Maght


#9 QueenTiye

QueenTiye

    Behavior is not reproducible over multiple trials.

  • Islander
  • 24,302 posts

Posted 13 May 2003 - 06:46 AM

One more thing - found this reference from an old Scientific American article ...

http://songweaver.co...fo/bonobos.html (it seems that the Bonobo WERE discovered late...)

Een Draght Mackt Maght


#10 Delvo

Delvo
  • Islander
  • 9,273 posts

Posted 13 May 2003 - 06:57 AM

QueenTiye, on May 12 2003, 10:05 PM, said:

the most seemingly obvious reason for the switch in posture for humans (at least) hasn't been mentioned ... namely the clitoris...
Well, here's why I said the whole concept of the position of an organ making one position or another the "right" one or the "natural" one or whatever is weird... You'd have to treat the positions of those nerve clusters as fixed, something we're stuck with and that the rest of the body has to put up with and work around. But that's not the way it goes. The whole anterior surface of the vagina, including BOTH of the spots in question, is really one piece of tissue that begins as a spot on the skin of a fetus and stretches inward if it's a girl or outward if it's a boy. The whole thing's packed with erectile tissues and nerves. Thus, the location of a spot where the density of these cells is higher than elsewhere in the same organ is almost an arbitrary thing from a biological standpoint; they could be distributed anywhere within the whole structure without having really change the fundamental plan at all. So, if evolution can re-align our pelvises and all of the muscles and connective tissues in the area, and also move things like the rectum and urethra and kidneys and lower intestine to make that work, then it certainly can shift the balance in where nerve clusters and erectile tissues are going to be the most densely packed, by a whole whopping couple of inches, within an organ that's already packed with them anyway. In other words, whatever positions are suitable for the rest of the body, the hot spots in the groin will be wherever they have to be. After all, we inherited all of this stuff from quadrupedal ancestors, and the quadrupeds don't seem to have these things sitting around in useless places just waiting for bipedalism to come along.

#11 Christopher

Christopher
  • Demigod
  • 32,914 posts

Posted 13 May 2003 - 01:51 PM

Delvo, on May 13 2003, 12:44 AM, said:

Well, here's why I said the whole concept of the position of an organ making one position or another the "right" one or the "natural" one or whatever is weird...
I wish to make it very clear that I would never do anything as preposterous as to equate "natural" with "right."  Evolution is not driven by moral forces, nor is morality defined by biological ones. (In fact, if you ask me, saying that sex should only be done in one position is like saying that jumping up and down on one foot constitutes dancing.)

Quote

In addition to this, the idea that it's not naturally built in to us is also counterindicated by the inordinate supply of tactile nerves in that area and by the importance of taste and smell to sexual stimulation...

Well, the former point can be addressed by reference to nursing.  It's very important for an infant to be able to find the teat by touch before the other senses are developed.  I've read the theory that kissing is an adaptation of suckling behavior.  The latter point is good, though; I can't think of a counterargument.

On the quote thing, I don't know if we're using different browsers or what (I'm in Opera), but I have no trouble including multiple quotes.  I just hit "Quote" at the upper right corner of the message I'm replying to, and I get an edit window and below that another window containing the quoted text.  I just delete all the stuff I don't need to quote from the lower window -- or if I want to quote multiple parts of the same message, I cut and paste them from the "Original Post to Quote" window into the "Enter your Post" window and put quote brackets around them manually.
"You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right." -- xkcd

"The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas." -- "H. G. Wells," Time After Time


Written Worlds -- My homepage and blog
Facebook Author Page

#12 QueenTiye

QueenTiye

    Behavior is not reproducible over multiple trials.

  • Islander
  • 24,302 posts

Posted 13 May 2003 - 03:13 PM

*SNORT!!!*

No, it has nothing to do with browsers - just perhaps a slightly more organized brain than mine... LOL!  Yah - that makes way more sense than doing what I did...

Delvo - I apologize - I rather misinterpreted what was being discussed, and I realize now that I was talking out of two ends of the string here.  Anyway - I think what I was trying to get at is that our behavior (frontal sex) evolved because it works... well...

I wasn't trying to argue that our bodies evolved to accommodate the behavior (all appearances to the contrary notwithstanding!)

Editing again:  ARG!  I can't seem to get the communications thing down correctly at all!  :(  Anyway - all appearances here refer to appearances of me arguing other than stated here, NOT to appearances of nature evolving our bodies for any particular purpose...~sigh...~

QT

Edited by QueenTiye, 13 May 2003 - 03:40 PM.

Een Draght Mackt Maght



0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users