Mol Genet Genomics 2014 Feb 8;289(1):37-45. Epub 2013 Nov 8.
Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, 48201, USA.
Recent studies have suggested that selective forces and constraints acting on genes varied during human evolution depending on the organ in which they are expressed. To gain insight into the evolution of organ determined negative selection forces, we compared the non-synonymous SNP diversity of genes expressed in different organs. Based on a HAPMAP dataset, we determined for each SNP its frequency in 11 human populations and, in each case, predicted whether or not the change it produces is deleterious. We have shown that, for all organs under study, SNPs predicted to be deleterious are present at a significantly lower frequency than SNPs predicted to be tolerated. However, testis-specific genes contain a higher proportion of deleterious SNPs than other organs. This study shows that negative selection is acting on the whole human genome, but that the action of negative selection is relaxed on testis-specific genes. This result adds to and expands the hypothesis of a recent evolutionary change in the human male reproductive system and its behavior.