Chimp genome sequence completed reported news@nature, ScienceNOW 31 Aug 2005, and Nature, vol 437, p69, 1 Sep 2005. The Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium, a group of 67 scientists working from 23 scientific institutions in five countries, have published the first draft of the complete chimpanzee genome and have begun to make comparisons with the human genome. The differences found between chimps and man were “35 million single nucleotide substitutions (DNA letter changes), 5 million insertions and deletions, local rearrangements and a chromosome fusion.”
Editorial Comment: Whilst most articles about the chimp genome are concentrating on how similar chimps and humans are, the millions of differences now known for sure actually indicate how unalike the two different groups are.
Genes are like long sentences made up of many words. Just as it is possible to completely change the meaning of a sentence by changing a few letters, or inserting or removing a few words, a few small changes in DNA letters can completely change the way a gene works. In the last few years we have also learnt more about how genes are turned on and off. Small changes to the controlling genes that turn other genes on and off can result in very big differences in resulting structure and function. The first clue to how significant these types of differences are came in May 2004 when genome scientists closely compared one chromosome (no. 22) from the chimp with its human equivalent. Despite the wide spread claim that chimp and man have 98% similar DNA code letters, after looking at the effects on actual gene function made by the substitutions, insertions and deletions, they concluded equivalent chimp and human chromosomes were actually 83% different. Creation Research predicts that when the two genomes are fully analysed they will find just as much difference for the whole genome as they did for this one chromosome. (Ref. genome, genetics, information)