Re: primate interrelatedness-a question?

Paul Arveson (
Tue, 21 May 96 11:04:58 EDT

In message <> "Gladwin Joseph" writes:
> Dear folk,
> I need some clarification on a statement. I know i can look
> up a book in a library for the answer. But having this
> high-tech resource (the internet) and the benefit of
> addressing this question to a community of thinking
> Christian minds makes this approach far more appealing.
> It is often stated by some evolutionary biologists that
> 99% of the human DNA is similar to that of the Chimpanzees
> and Gorillas. Is that a right statement? If it is, what
> does it specifically mean? A friend pointed out that we
> have not as yet mapped the human DNA, then how can we make
> such inter-species comparisons?

It isn't necessary to map the whole genome to make statistical statements
such as 99%. All you need to do is make a comparison of small samples. It is
the same idea that is done in using opinion polls to sample the views of the
whole country based on interviews of about 1200 people. You don't need to
interview 200 million people to get the opinions accurately.

Some of the proteins are identical, not only to chimps but much farther down
the line.

> If you could point me to a good book that addresses this and
> related questions on primate evolutionay biology for a
> non-geneticist, please let me know.
I think the journal literature, including Nature, Science, and the Journal
of Human Evolution might be more up to date than books. But this particular
correlation has been noted for at least 10 years. Sorry, the Internet doesn't
yet eliminate all work.

As far as what it means for a Christian, here are some suggestions:
1. Meaning is not found in matter (bones, DNA etc.) but in living people.
2. Even if all life evolved, that doesn't rule out creation in the proper
theological sense.
3. Science itself emerged from a Biblical view of nature.
4. All truth is God's truth.
5. If you're not already a member, join the ASA!

Paul Arveson, Research Physicist
(301) 227-3831 (W) (301) 227-1914 (FAX) (301) 816-9459 (H)
Code 724, NSWC, Bethesda, MD 20084
"Practice thoughtful kindness, and helpful acts of beauty."