Interspecific variation at the Y‐linked RPS4Y locus in hominoids: Implications for phylogeny Academic Article uri icon


  • Within- and between-species variation in restriction endonuclease recognition sites was examined at the Y-linked RPS4Y locus of six hominoid species: human (Homo sapiens), gorilla (Gorilla gorilla), chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), bonobo (Pan paniscus), orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), and gibbon (Hylobates lar). RPS4Y is an expressed gene that maps to the non-recombining region of the Y chromosome. An approximately 1,490 base pair fragment of the RPS4Y gene, including all of intron 3, was amplified by PCR from DNA extracted from each of the six species. Forty-seven restriction sites were identified on the six-species composite map derived from double-digest restriction analyses of the amplified fragment. As expected, maximum parsimony analysis indicated that chimpanzee and bonobo are the two most closely related living hominoids. The same analysis suggested that the closest living relative of Homo is Gorilla, not Pan, although support for this relationship was relatively weak. These results disagree with recently published phylogenies based on analyses of mtDNA sequences (Horai et al. [1995] Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 88:7401-7404) and the Y-linked ZFY locus (Dorit et al. [1995] Science 268:1183-1185). A combined data set derived from three distinct Y-linked loci-RPS4Y, SRY, and ZFY-was also analyzed. The maximum parsimony topology for the combined data provided only weak support for a shared common ancestor for Homo and Pan subsequent to divergence from the Gorilla lineage. Taken together, the data from the Y chromosome do not provide unequivocal support for any single, dichotomously branching species tree linking Homo, Pan, and Gorilla.

author list (cited authors)

  • Samollow, P. B., Cherry, L. M., Witte, S. M., & Rogers, J.

citation count

  • 6

publication date

  • November 1996