A multi-center U.S. research team has placed the draft genome sequence of the rhesus macaque monkey into a free public database for scientists worldwide.
The U.S. National Human Genome Research Institute, one of the National Institutes of Health, says the database may be used by the worldwide research community.
The rhesus macaque is the second non-human primate, after the chimpanzee, whose genome has been sequenced. It is the first of the Old World monkeys to have its DNA deciphered.
Overall, the rhesus genome shares about 92 percent to 95 percent of its sequence with humans and more than 98 percent with the chimpanzee. Consequently, researchers say the rhesus provides an ideal reference point for comparisons among the three closely related primates.
The researchers said sequencing is also under way on the genomes of a number of other primates, including the orangutan, marmoset and gorilla.
The sequencing of the rhesus genome was conducted at the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center in Houston, the Genome Sequencing Center at Washington University in St. Louis, and at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Md.