From: Bundrick, David (BundrickD@evangel.edu)
Date: Tue Sep 24 2002 - 16:26:42 EDT
In view of the discussion on this listserv a few months ago re
"Brachiators on Our Family Tree," I thought the following article
would be of interest to the ASA.
From: Stacey Ake [mailto:ake@METANEXUS.NET]
Sent: Tuesday, September 24, 2002 10:51 AM
Subject: NewScientist: Human-chimp DNA difference trebled
The World's No.1 Science & Technology News Service
Human-chimp DNA difference trebled
22:00 23 September 02
NewScientist.com news service
We are more unique than previously thought, according to new comparisons of
human and chimpanzee DNA.
It has long been held that we share 98.5 per cent of our genetic material
with our closest relatives. That now appears to be wrong. In fact, we share
less than 95 per cent of our genetic material, a three-fold increase in the
variation between us and chimps.
The new value came to light when Roy Britten of the California Institute of
Technology became suspicious about the 98.5 per cent figure. Ironically,
that number was originally derived from a technique that Britten himself
developed decades ago at Caltech with colleague Dave Kohne. By measuring the
temperature at which matching DNA of two species comes apart, you can work
out how different they are.
But the technique only picks up a particular type of variation, called a
single base substitution. These occur whenever a single "letter" differs in
corresponding strands of DNA from the two species.
But there are two other major types of variation that the previous analyses
ignored. "Insertions" occur whenever a whole section of DNA appears in one
species but not in the corresponding strand of the other. Likewise,
"deletions" mean that a piece of DNA is missing from one species.
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