Humans and chimps seen as not as similar as once thought

chimpanzee and human
Mary-Claire King's first major research project mapped the similarities between humans and chimpanzees

When geneticist Mary Claire King became the first scientist to compare the genes of chimps and humans in 1975, she was in for a surprise. The humans and chimpanzees were not 50 percent similar genetically, or 60 percent, or even 80 percent, they were 98 to 99 percent similar, nearly identical. All of the differences between us and them, must relate to the 2 percent.

What has followed has been a rich and detailed consideration, a consideration that is still very much underway, of the 2 percent. We now know many of the genes that lead human chimpanzee immune systems to be so different, and have some suspicion as to which genes are associated with chimpanzees never get the kind of heart attack we get (for more on that, see the last three chapters of The Man Who Touched His Own Heart). But there was a catch.

While geneticists were comparing humans and chimps, another tribe of biologists, parasitologists, were doing something very different, tallying lists of the species that live in chimps or live in humans (and every other species for that matter). For parasitologists these included both big things (worms and mites, for instance), little things, such as protists, and truly tiny things including viruses. But there was a barrier to progress. The parasitologists studying humans and those studying chimpanzees, they weren’t friends. And so while each group had a tally of the organisms found in their study animals, the tallies were not compared, EVER. But such a comparison is important. A large proportion of the genes (and their products, including proteins, but also our behaviors and much more) of any organism are those of its parasites and pathogens.Someone with more than one worm species, for instance (many people have more than one worm species), may actually be dragging around more worm genes than human genes! We are what eats us.

Read full, original article: Chimps and Humans are Les Similar than We Thought

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend