Thursday, August 14, 2008

Apes ARE Different from Humans

Well, that's a relief, although I know some folks....ahhhh, nevermind.

...the entire advocacy line that "humans and chimps share 98% of our genes" is plain false.

First, the 98% figure is probably overstated. An article in Science puts the actual figure at 94%. (Jon Cohen, "Relative Differences: The Myth of 1%, June 29, 2007). But even these figures are only measuring about 2% of our total genetic makeup - that is, those genes that code for proteins, the building blocks of our physical bodies and functions.

The vast majority of our DNA, known as "non-coding DNA" - sometimes called "junk DNA" because it was once thought not to have function - is very different in humans from most non-coding genes found in chimps and other apes.

Research continues as to the exact nature and functions of non-coding genes, but given the wide differences between human and ape non-coding DNA, even if the purported 98% genetic similarity to coding DNA is true, it is actually only 98% of a much smaller percentage of our total genetic makeup, perhaps as low as 98% of 2%.

Proponents of the Great Ape Project might reply in defense that the coding genes are the ones that really count, but that is not scientifically supported anymore...

Oh, well. Another "scientific" announcement all fall down. But there's always the chance that the theory will be called a 'non-debatable consensus.'

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