AR (Androgen receptor)

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True   Likely   Speculative
Human Uniqueness Compared to "Great Apes": 
Likely Difference
Human Universality: 
Individual Universal (All Individuals Everywhere)
MOCA Domain: 
MOCA Topic Authors: 

The androgen receptor (AR) is a nuclear receptor that binds testosterone or dihydrotestosterone. AR is responsible for the development and function of both male and female sexual organs and the development of both primary and secondary male sexual characteristics. A human lineage specific 60.7 kb deletion upstream of AR removed a regulatory region that when investigated in transgenic mouse embryos resulted in loss of expression of AR in sensory vibrissae and penile spines. As humans lack both of these characteristics this regulatory DNA loss is a likely candidate.


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): 
Genetics Topic Attributes
Gene symbols follow the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee standard.
Type of Human-Specific Changes
Expression Pattern Change


  1. Human-specific loss of regulatory DNA and the evolution of human-specific traits., McLean, Cory Y., Reno Philip L., Pollen Alex A., Bassan Abraham I., Capellini Terence D., Guenther Catherine, Indjeian Vahan B., Lim Xinhong, Menke Douglas B., Schaar Bruce T., et al. , Nature, 2011 Mar 10, Volume 471, Issue 7337, p.216-9, (2011)
  2. Molecular insights into androgen actions in male and female reproductive function from androgen receptor knockout models., Walters, K A., Simanainen U, and Handelsman D J. , Hum Reprod Update, 2010 Sep-Oct, Volume 16, Issue 5, p.543-58, (2010)