Gap between humans and chimps widens

An article from the National Geographic website has a basic laydown about the results of the latest mapping of the human genome.

According to the story, our DNA varies more widely from person to person. This is one of the conclusions scientists and geneticists had after analyzing new researches about the human genome. The genetic material found in every cell of our bodies that define and make us humans.

The new map provides a much clearer picture of human genetic variation, says geneticist and co-researcher Charles Lee of the Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.

“This evidence is showing that we are more genetically unique from one another—we all have individualized genomes,” he said.

Personalized DNA? You can bet a monkey’s butt on it. Which is not really surprising when one would consider that we humans are among the most dispersed organisms in the planet. We inhabit almost every terrain on Earth and continue to expand our territories, often with harmful effects to other species.

Evolutionary theory would support this and say that since we have a very wide range of distribution-we’re found almost anywhere in the planet, we would have more variation in our DNA since we have adapted and continue to adapt to more types of different habitat.

This also justifies the difference between ethnic groups and help us understand how they adapted to their specific environments; e.g. Why Asians have a smaller body build compared to their European cousins and why our African brothers are more resistant to HIV infections compared to our South American cousins and so forth.

Aside from shedding more light into those topics mentioned earlier, medicine will greatly benefit from this new research because now, we could better understand the effects of genes on diseases, how they originate, how they spread, how they are passed on from one generation to the next and of course the why-counterparts of these questions and more. We answer those questions, we would finally have a cure, even prevent age-old diseases like cancer, deformities and AIDS.

Lastly, as pointed out in the title of this piece, we have also come to the surprising suggestion that we humans are now more distant to chimpanzees that we previously thought. Before, studies suggested that we shared 99% of our genome with chimps, that has now changed and the figure is now somewhere between 96-97% similarity.

A difference of roughly 3% over the past million years has made us more humans than chimps. The question now is, what particular genes made us more humans instead of chimps?

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