MYH16 (myosin, heavy chain 16 pseudogene)

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MYH16 is abbreviation of myosin heavy chain 16.  Stedman et al. (2004) found that this gene is nonfunctional in human, but chimpanzee and other non-human primate species seem to have functional MYH16 gene.  Because human has MYH16 pseudogene, its localized expression in masticatory muscle in non-human primates is lost, causing marked size reduction in human.  They estimated time of nonfunctionalization of MYH16 to be approximately 2.4 million years ago.  Perry et al. (2005), however, comparing larger nucleotide sequence data between human and chimpanzee, reestimated nonfunctionalization date as 5.3 million years ago.


Contributed by Saitou Naruya, Genetics domain leader.

Genetics Topic Attributes
Gene symbols follow the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee standard.
Gene Symbol Type of Human-Specific Changes
MYH16 Pseudogenization


  1. Insights into hominin phenotypic and dietary evolution from ancient DNA sequence data, Perry, G., Kistler L., Kelaita M., and Sams A. , Journal of Human Evolution, 02/2015, Volume 79, p.55-63, (2015)
  2. Comparative analyses reveal a complex history of molecular evolution for human MYH16., Perry, George H., Verrelli Brian C., and Stone Anne C. , Mol Biol Evol, 03/2005, Volume 22, Issue 3, p.379-82, (2005)
  3. Myosin gene mutation correlates with anatomical changes in the human lineage., Stedman, Hansell H., Kozyak Benjamin W., Nelson Anthony, Thesier Danielle M., Su Leonard T., Low David W., Bridges Charles R., Shrager Joseph B., Minugh-Purvis Nancy, and Mitchell Marilyn A. , Nature, 2004 Mar 25, Volume 428, Issue 6981, p.415-8, (2004)