You’ve probably heard that the humans and chimpanzees share 99% of their DNA and that humans share 50 percent of their DNA with bananas, 80 percent with dogs?
But, are all these true? Hmmmmm…
As the cute trivia implies, if you extracted one random cell from a chimp and a human, and untangled the DNA-laden chromosomes within, you’d be able to identify the exact differences in our DNA signatures. But as with all things genetic, it’s a whole lot more complicated than that, as the latest episode of MinuteEarth explains
Between 6 and 8 million years ago, early chimps and humans split off from our common ancestor, and through chance mutations and natural selection, our genomes changed radically, and allowed new species to arise. One of the most significant changes was that humanoid species ended up with 23 chromosomes, while chimpanzees retained 24. Other changes include whole sections of DNA being replicated or deleted, and many single letters in the genetic code getting switched out for something else.
And, strangely enough, it wasn’t these tiny, single letter differences that caused scientists the most grief when they were comparing chimp and human DNA – it was the large sections of code that proved very difficult to identify, according to MinuteEarth. Part of the problem, says the video, is that when scientists come across one section of genetic code that has been duplicated in the human genome but not the chimp genome, should that be counted as one change – say, a single ‘paragraph’ – or thousands of changes, if we count each individual letter?
Watch the latest episode of MinuteEarth above to find out what this means for more understanding on our relationship to our closest genetic relatives – the CHIMPS.
via Science Alert