APOC1 (apolipoprotein C-I)

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Human Uniqueness Compared to "Great Apes": 
Absolute Difference
Human Universality: 
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Apolipoprotein C-I (APOC1) is a member of the apolipoprotein family which are proteins that reside on surface of lipoproteins, where one side interacts with the aqueous environment of the blood and the other with the hydrophobic interior of the lipid core. On chromosome 19 of great apes there are two apoC-I genes; one encodes a positively charged 57 amino acid protein and the other a negatively charged 57 amino acid protein, however humans lack an active apoC-IA gene due to the presence of a stop codon in the third exon. In the other great apes, there is no stop codon and the apoC-IA gene encodes an acidic apolipoprotein. Because there is only the basic form in humans, the suffix B is not used. APOC1 has been shown to play an important role in brain function and in prevention of coronary artery disease through its regulation of triglyceride metabolism. It is possible that the pseudogenization of one copy of APOC1 may have some impact on human rates of coronary artery disease.


Timing of appearance of the difference in the Hominin Lineage as a defined date or a lineage separation event. The point in time associated with lineage separation events may change in the future as the scientific community agrees upon better time estimates. Lineage separation events are defined in 2017 as:

  • the Last Common Ancestor (LCA) of humans and old world monkeys was 25,000 - 30,000 thousand (25 - 30 million) years ago
  • the Last Common Ancestor (LCA) of humans and chimpanzees was 6,000 - 8,000 thousand (6 - 8 million) years ago
  • the emergence of the genus Homo was 2,000 thousand (2 million) years ago
  • the Last Common Ancestor (LCA) of humans and neanderthals was 500 thousand years ago
  • the common ancestor of modern humans was 100 - 300 thousand years ago

Definite Appearance (Lineage Separation Event): 
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Genetics Topic Attributes
Gene symbols follow the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee standard.
Gene Symbol Type of Human-Specific Changes
apolipoprotein C-IA and apolipoprotein C-IB Pseudogenization


  1. Apolipoprotein CI knock-out mice display impaired memory functions., Berbée, Jimmy F. P., Vanmierlo Tim, Abildayeva Karlygash, Blokland Arjan, Jansen Paula J., Lütjohann Dieter, Gautier Thomas, Sijbrands Eric, Prickaerts Jos, Hadfoune M'hamed, et al. , J Alzheimers Dis, 2011, Volume 23, Issue 4, p.737-47, (2011)
  2. The apolipoprotein C-I content of very-low-density lipoproteins is associated with fasting triglycerides, postprandial lipemia, and carotid atherosclerosis., Hansen, John-Bjarne, Fernández José A., Notø Ann-Trude With, Deguchi Hiroshi, Björkegren Johan, and Mathiesen Ellisiv B. , J Lipids, 2011, Volume 2011, p.271062, (2011)
  3. Detection of two distinct forms of apoC-I in great apes., Puppione, Donald L., Ryan Christopher M., Bassilian Sara, Souda Puneet, Xiao Xinshu, Ryder Oliver A., and Whitelegge Julian P. , Comp Biochem Physiol Part D Genomics Proteomics, 2010 Mar, Volume 5, Issue 1, p.73-9, (2010)
  4. Baboon apolipoprotein C-I: cDNA and gene structure and evolution., Pastorcic, M, Birnbaum S, and Hixson J E. , Genomics, 1992 Jun, Volume 13, Issue 2, p.368-74, (1992)
  5. Two copies of the human apolipoprotein C-I gene are linked closely to the apolipoprotein E gene., Lauer, S J., Walker D, Elshourbagy N A., Reardon C A., Levy-Wilson B, and Taylor J M. , J Biol Chem, 1988 May 25, Volume 263, Issue 15, p.7277-86, (1988)