"They already use basic tools, have rudimentary language and star in TV commercials, but now scientists have proof that chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than other great apes.
Genetic tests comparing DNA from humans, chimps, gorillas and orang-utans reveal striking similarities in the way chimps and humans evolve that set them apart from the others.
The finding adds weight to a controversial proposal to scrap the long-used chimp genus "Pan" and reclassify the animals as members of the human family. The move would give chimps a new place in creation's pecking order alongside humans, the only survivor of the genus Homo."
The Washington Post New Analyses Bolster Central Tenets of Evolution Theory
"When scientists announced last month they had determined the exact order of all 3 billion bits of genetic code that go into making a chimpanzee, it was no surprise that the sequence was more than 96 percent identical to the human genome. Charles Darwin had deduced more than a century ago that chimps were among humans' closest cousins.
But decoding chimpanzees' DNA allowed scientists to do more than just refine their estimates of how similar humans and chimps are. It let them put the very theory of evolution to some tough new tests."redux [08.31.05]
MSNBC Chimp genetic code opens human frontiers
"Scientists unleashed a torrent of studies comparing the genetic coding for humans and chimpanzees on Wednesday, reporting that 96 percent of our DNA sequences are identical. Even more intriguingly, the other 4 percent appears to contain clues to how we became different from our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, they said."
"The researchers said the results confirmed the common evolutionary origin of humans and chimpanzees. Out of the 3 billion base pairs in the DNA coding for chimps and humans, about 35 million show single-base differences, and another 5 million DNA sites are different because of insertions or deletions of genetic code. Waterston estimated that 1 million of those coding changes are responsible for the functional differences between humans and chimps — thus defining our humanness."redux [05.26.04]
Nature: Science Update Chimp chromosome creates puzzles
"What is the difference between a chimp and a human? There could be a lot more to the answer than scientists thought, according to the first accurate DNA sequence of a chimp chromosome."
"Because chimps and humans appear broadly similar, some have assumed that most of the differences would occur in the large regions of DNA that do not appear to have any obvious function. But that was not the case."redux [04.05.04]
BBC New light shed on chimp genome
"A comparison of the chimp and human genomes casts new light on why the two species are so different despite having very similar genetic code."
"One of the leading scientists on the project says the answer lies in the process that orchestrates the genes as the chimpanzee is developing."Biomedcentral.com Comparing relatives
"The latest experimental results have solidified evidence of a roughly 10% difference in gene expression from several regions of the brain."
"The researchers have confirmed their findings in four regions of the cerebral cortex, and in the cerebellum and the caudate nucleus. On the other hand, evidence relating to the linear accumulation of differences over time means "we are coming to believe that these are not all functionally relevant," Paabo added."redux [12.12.03]
The New York Times Comparing Genomes Shows Split Between Chimps and People
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"In a preliminary screen, Dr. Clark and his colleagues have found that a large number of genes shows signs of accelerated evolution in the human lineage. Those are genes that, by a statistical test applied to changes in their DNA, appear to be under strong recent pressure of natural selection and so are likely to be those that make humans differ from chimpanzees.
A prominent set of accelerated human genes are those involved in hearing, particularly the gene that makes a protein called alpha-tectorin, a component of the tectorial membrane of the inner ear."
"Another group of selected genes is involved in brain development."redux [12.10.03]
Nature: Science Update Chimp genome draft completed
"Researchers today released a draft version of the genetic sequence of our closest relative, the chimpanzee Pan troglodytes .
The differences between the chimp's genetic code and ours should reveal what makes us human, scientists hope. The disparities might, for example, lie in genes that control the development of the brain and language, or of human-specific diseases such as Alzheimer's, AIDS and malaria."redux [05.20.03]
BBC Chimps genetically close to humans
"Scientists from the Wayne State University, School of Medicine, Detroit, US, examined key genes in humans and several ape species and found our "life code" to be 99.4% the same as chimps.
They propose moving common chimps and another very closely related ape, bonobos, into the genus, Homo, the taxonomic grouping researchers use to classify people in the animal kingdom."redux [04.29.03]
Nature: Science Update Chimps expose humanness
"By studying chimpanzees, scientists are honing their genetic view of humanity, researchers told this week's meeting of the Human Genome Organisation in Cancun, Mexico."
"The data call for some revision of the estimated genetic similarity between us and our closest relatives. Previously, human and chimp genetic sequences were quoted as being nearly 99% identical, with a difference of only a few DNA's letters. In fact, the similarity may be as low as 94-95%, says Todd Taylor of the RIKEN Genomic Sciences Center in Yokohama, Japan.redux [03.04.03]
Wired News You Can't Make a Monkey Out of Us
"Chimpanzees seem almost human, and scientists have maintained for decades that chimps are, in fact, 98.5 percent genetically identical to humans.
But the results of a new study call that figure into question, with a finding that there are actually large chunks of the human and chimp genomes that are vastly different."Genomeweb How to Compare Us to Our Hairy Cousins? New Papers Provide Techniques
"It involves sampling data from select regions of many different related species, and then comparing them within the context of their phylogenetic relationships. In the research described in the Science paper, Rubin and colleagues sampled 17 primate species closely related to human and spanning 40 million years of evolution -- insufficient time for significant genetic divergence to have taken place.
According to Rubin, phylogenetic shadowing compensates for the failure of traditional comparative genomics techniques, which "invariably miss recent changes in DNA sequence that account for primate-specific biological traits." The approach overcomes the primary challenge of comparing genomes of closely related species: the difficulty in distinguishing functional from nonfunctional sequences."
“Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.”BIOINFORMATICS IN THE 21st CENTURY
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