Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 29083404
Link to DOI – 10.1038/ng.3980
Nat Genet 2017 Dec; 49(12): 1705-1713
Vervet monkeys are among the most widely distributed nonhuman primates, show considerable phenotypic diversity, and have long been an important biomedical model for a variety of human diseases and in vaccine research. Using whole-genome sequencing data from 163 vervets sampled from across Africa and the Caribbean, we find high diversity within and between taxa and clear evidence that taxonomic divergence was reticulate rather than following a simple branching pattern. A scan for diversifying selection across taxa identifies strong and highly polygenic selection signals affecting viral processes. Furthermore, selection scores are elevated in genes whose human orthologs interact with HIV and in genes that show a response to experimental simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection in vervet monkeys but not in rhesus macaques, suggesting that part of the signal reflects taxon-specific adaptation to SIV.