Monday, February 5, 2007

Humans & Chimps--Similar DNA thoughts

99.4% of the most critical DNA sites are identical in human and chimp genes”
What do you make of this?

It does seem like we are like chimps in every way, from our body structure to our behaviors and temperment. This probably has huge implications for research and understanding human biology and evolution, next to the human genome itself, particularly what sets us apart from other animals. From the knowledge that I've acquired, I know that speech is a human-specific trait, but beyond that I don't know what our other genetic differences are. I did additional research because I was a bit skeptical of this statistic, and I found while many similarities between the human and chimp genomes exist, about 35 million DNA-base pairs differ, each of which, like most mammalian genomes, contains about 3 billion base pairs. In addition, there are another 5 million sites that differ because of an insertion or deletion in one of the lineages, along with a much smaller number of chromosomal rearrangements. So, although 99% makes it sound like human and chimps are the same, we still have huge amounts of genetic differences along crucial genetic protein lines.

I also found this passage from a random website to be interesting: "Human DNA is 98 percent the same as the DNA of chimpanzees; but it's also 70 percent the same as the DNA of yeast. So what makes humans uniquely different from chimpanzees or yeast? One thing might be the way in which we created language and culture, and how we developed these things in different ways all over the earth." Fun thoughts. . . . .

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