Smallest primate ever discovered


Hot off the press: Metagenomic data contains genetic evidence of the smallest primate ever discovered, by far. The bigfoot people should apply this technique. (Mark my words, it’s just a matter of time.)


You really should make it clear to those not versed in genomics terminology that this is satire…

Is this another one of those Paluxy River cases?

I don’t get it at all.

OK I’ll explain the joke. In metagenomics you amplify DNA from some environmental sample – here, seawater. You don’t bother culturing or identifying the microbes in the old fashioned way, you just sequence chunks of DNA from whatever is in the sample.

So this is done and the data is then put online and researchers dig through it. These clever wags found human Alu sequences which indicates that some lab technician’s DNA got into the sample (e.g. in sloughed off skin cells or something) and amplified along with everyone else.

But of course they pretend like they have discovered primate DNA indicating a tiny microscopic primate swimming around in the ocean with the bacteria.

Hmm, not as funny when you explain it, as usual…


They say that “the ocean sample sequences did not yield a perfect match to the human genome.” Could this be a case of “intelligent sloughing”? ;-)

Or possibly just bad dandruff

They should sequence the DNA of the researchers involved and compare them to Neandertal. If the DNA turns out to be some other primate they have to figure out who carried the sample contamination and where did they get it (could be embarassing). Maybe one of the researchers is Bigfoot.

Ron, you should read the comments too:

Kay at Suicyte Wrote:

while my posting is obviously a joke, the Alu elements in the ocean metagenome are real. It appears that (at least) most of them are human contaminants, as they can be found in human genome sequences. For some reason, many of these sequences did not make it into the final assembly. At least they are not found in Ensembl.

So a database search will not find the elements in the human genome, but they are still probably all human DNA samples. Plus, PCR does throw up errors every once in a while.

Obviously we’ve discovered our genetic link to Sea Monkeys.

I’ve always known that the phrase “man is the only animal that…” is always followed by a falsehood. Now I guess it’s also “Primates are the only order that…”

There is an alternative explanation here, after all these millennia of our traipsing around the oceans, having boats and ships sunk out from under us, and tons of humans drowning at sea, plankton (phyto and zoo) have incorporated alu genes into their DNA. That’s right, it’s sloppy lateral gene transference sex.

How shall we make it up to those poor, innocent rotifers?

SunSpiker suggests: “That’s right, it’s sloppy lateral gene transference sex.”

Professor Steve Steve is just spreading it around again. Or perhaps this is something new in Panda evolution, swimming Pandas.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on November 20, 2007 11:13 PM.

DI—Expelled for Plagiarism was the previous entry in this blog.

FTE and Jon Buell’s Day in Court is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.381

Site Meter