Sep 4, 2009

Comparing Chimp and Human DNA

We may be coming a little bit closer to understanding what actually makes humans 'human' by studying certain specific genes in both humans and chimps. Whereas before we had a simple idea that we shared a great number of genetic similarities with chimps, now we may be able to isolate the exact genes that denote our evolutionary change. The Spittoon has a wonderful article about exactly what is being studied:

The new study found several genes that were once silent and nonfunctional in our primate ancestors, and seem to have awakened around the time that humans formed a new evolutionary branch.

Researchers at the University of Dublin compared sections of the human genome with those of chimps and other primates to find active genes that are absent from the chimp genome. They found three human genes, CLLU1, C22orf45 and DNAHI0OS, that were present but inactive in non-human primates.

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