UT BIO 311D - Comparing Genomes Shows Split Between Chimps and People (2 pages)

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Comparing Genomes Shows Split Between Chimps and People



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Comparing Genomes Shows Split Between Chimps and People

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Pages:
2
Type:
Miscellaneous
School:
University of Texas at Austin
Course:
Bio 311d - Introductory Biology II
Edition:
2
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Comparing Genomes Shows Split Between Chimps and People By NICHOLAS WADE Published December 12 2003 acquired a new function that helped confer the gift of speech By comparing the human genome with that of chimpanzees people s closest living relative scientists have identified a partial list of the genes that make people human They include genes for hearing and speech genes that wire the developing brain genes for detecting odors and genes that shape bone structure The comparison reported yesterday in Science was undertaken by Dr Michele Cargill and colleagues at Celera Diagnostics in Alameda Calif who decoded most of the genes in the chimp s genome and Dr Andrew G Clark and colleagues at Cornell who made the analysis A more complete version of the chimp genome is being prepared by government financed DNA sequencing centers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Washington University School of Medicine The two centers made a draft of their sequence available yesterday on public DNA databases Humans and chimps shared a joint ancestor as recently as five million years ago Biologists have long supposed that if they could identify the genes that changed in the evolutionary lineage leading from the joint ancestor to people they would understand the genetic basis of how people differ from chimps and hence the essence of what makes humans human Because the sequence of DNA units in the two genomes is 98 8 percent identical it seemed that just a handful of genes might define the essence of humanity The project received a lift two years ago when a large London family with barely intelligible speech was found to have mutations in a gene called FOXP2 Chimpanzees also have a FOXP2 gene but it is significantly different The human version shows signs of accelerated evolutionary change in the last 100 000 years suggesting that the gene But the process of transforming the joint humanchimp ancestor who was probably a very chimpanzee like creature into a human seems much



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