Cynomolgus macaques ( Macaca fascicularis) are widely used as experimental animals in biomedical research and are closely related to other laboratory macaques, such as rhesus macaques ( M. mulatta). We isolated 85,721 clones and determined 9407 full-insert sequences from cynomolgus monkey brain, testis, and liver. These sequences were annotated based on homology to human genes and stored in a database, QFbase http://genebank.nibio.go.jp/qfbase/.
We found that 1024 transcripts did not represent any public human cDNA sequence and examined their expression using M. fascicularis oligonucleotide microarrays. Significant expression was detected for 544 (51%) of the unidentified transcripts. Moreover, we identified 226 genes containing exon alterations in the untranslated regions of the macaque transcripts, despite the highly conserved structure of the coding regions. Considering the polymorphism in the common ancestor of cynomolgus and rhesus macaques and the rate of PCR errors, the divergence time between the two species was estimated to be around 0.9 million years ago.
Transcript data from Old World monkeys provide a means not only to determine the evolutionary difference between human and non-human primates but also to unveil hidden transcripts in the human genome. Increasing the genomic resources and information of macaque monkeys will greatly contribute to the development of evolutionary biology and biomedical sciences.