Numbers Don't Lie

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Humans are 98% chimp

In Sept. 2005, the 1st analytical comparisons of the chimpanzee and human genomes were published in Nature. The results were unsettling: man is 98.77% chimpanzee. Since chimps and humans parted ways on the evolutionary chart about 6 millions years ago, most Homo sapiens proteins have accumulated a grand total of 1 unique change.

Of course, humans are not merely chimps. This Nature's publication revealed that natural selection didn't go about redesigning us base pair by base pair; rather, by changing how our genes are expressed (when, where, how much). By so doing natural selection achieved profound effects with minimal rewriting.

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3 Comments:

Blogger WayneDawg said...

Wow- it's that 2% that makes all the difference in the owrld.

4:39 PM

 
Blogger Chris Chatham said...

yep, very interesting (though I'm surprised to hear it's really the first).

I have read that there is actually a larger percent of genetic variation between various human ethnicities than there is between the "average" human and the chimpanzee.

So which 2% of our genes comprise the radical difference between human and chimp, while other genes can be modified without creating such large variations?

And don't say junk DNA... recent research suggests that junk dna may be conserved more consisitently and repaired more accurately than other areas of the genome....http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3703935.stm

3:03 PM

 
Blogger Rusty said...

You say the results are 'unsettling'. I am guessing that means you are not so happy with your family tree.

Chimpanzees have not yet invented the atomic bomb, created wars that killed millions of their kind or staged terrorist attacks on innocent civilians. They also haven't locked us up in cages or tested thousands of viruses and diseases on us (yet).

So why would you find that link with their DNA so unsettling?

11:59 AM

 

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