Sunday, June 24, 2007

Humans and Chimps are Genetically Similar

The following is from on a continuing discussion about evolution arising from a post dated July 1, 2006.

Another comment showing there are scientific fields producing evidence for evolution was: Genetics: The DNA of different species can show a trail of common ancestry, in fact, humans and chimps contain 98 % of the same DNA.

This is a myth that has been around a long time.

There has been some research done in this area. The correct statistic is 96% similarity.

First recognize that there has been no chimp genone project. So there is no direct comparison. There was a study of chimp genes that was limited to 97 selected genes. It was determined that looking at these selected genes, there was a 96% similarly to the genetic information found somewhere in human genes. This was determined using a crude technique known as DNA hybridization. It involves combining single strands of DNA from a human and a chimp to observe similarities.

What is not discussed are the genetic differences. DNA contains a huge amount of information, equal to about a thousand 500 page books. If we accept the 96% similarity number as true, a 4% difference is equivalent to 40 large books or 12 million words arranged meaningfully.

The science of population genetics show that human-like animals can produce no more than 1,700 mutations per 20 year generation. It is genetically impossible for humans and chimps to have a common ancestor, even if we allow 10,000,000 years.

On the other hand, similarities can also come from a common designer. For example, a car maker uses the same parts in different models. A 1961 Ford and a 2006 Taurus have four wheels, a steering wheel, windshield wipers, bumpers and many other similar components. No one would say the Taurus naturally evolved from the older car... they had a common designer. If there is a design that performs a function well, it makes sense to use that same design in multiple organisms.

By the way, there is a 75% genetic similarity between a nematode worm and human DNA. There is also a 50% genetic similarity between a banana and human DNA. The same genes, in different objects, can have different functions.

A good web site with information on the subjects we've been discussing is: Darwinism Watch

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