Because evolutionary changes in gene regulatory factors (GRFs), such as transcription factors, can have a big impact on changing the phenotype between species, we set out to test all human GRFs proteins for positive selection within primates. Using information from 27 publicly available primate genomes we especially focused on the human lineage. From more than 3,000 human GRFs, we revealed with high confidence five GRFs that have been positively selected on the human lineage and one GRF that has been positively selected on the great ape lineage. Since each positively selected GRF contains several sites with evidence for positive selection, we suggest that these GRFs participated pleiotropically to phenotypic adaptations in humans.
Vladimir M. Jovanovic, Melanie Sarfert, Carlos S. Reyna-Blanco, Henrike Indrischek, Dulce I. Valdivia, Ekaterina Shelest, and Katja Nowick