Monkey Social Status and Immune Response
This activity guides the analysis of a published scientific figure from a study on how social status affects the expression of genes involved in immune system processes.
Lower social status often has negative effects on the health and survival of primates. In this study, scientists explored how gene expression levels varied among female rhesus macaque monkeys of different social ranks. The figure shows expression levels for the gene IL8RB, which is involved in the inflammatory immune response, for macaques of different ranks. A dominance ranking of 1 represents the highest social rank, and a dominance ranking of 5 the lowest.
The “Educator Materials” document includes a captioned figure, background information, graph interpretation, and discussion questions. The “Student Handout” includes a captioned figure and background information.
Student Learning Targets
- Analyze and interpret data from a scientific figure.
- Compare gene expression data from different groups of individuals in a population.
box-and-whisker plot, dominance, gene expression, IL8RB (interleukin 8 receptor, beta), immune system, inflammation, p value, social rank, trend line, white blood cell
Tung, Jenny, Luis B. Barreiro, Zachary P. Johnson, Kasper D. Hansen, Vasiliki Michopoulos, Donna Toufexis, Katelyn Michelini, et al. “Social environment is associated with gene regulatory variation in the rhesus macaque immune system.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109, 17 (2012): 6490–6495. http://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1202734109.
HS-LS2-8; SEP2, SEP4, SEP5
2.D.4, 3.D.2; SP1, SP2, SP5
2.4, 3.1, B.4
Math.S-ID.3, Math.S-IC.1; MP2, MP5
CC3; DP2, DP3