Lay Question: Microstructural Meaning of Human is Genetically

Raymond A. Chamberlin raych at
Wed Jan 27 05:19:52 EST 1999

Newspapers now often give percentages of commonality between the
genomes of different species.  Someone I met also presented me with a
percentage that was purported to be that of the variance of the human
genome within its species.  The latter percentage was greater than the
complement of any of the values commonly reported for commonality
between humans and other higher primates.  How, exactly, are such
agreed-upon (?) percentages arrived at?  Given the complexity of the
correlation of genetics to the material and behavioral makeup of
individuals, it would seem that there would be many different measures
of "commonality" between the genetic templates of different
individuals or whatever sorts or levels of traditional or other
groupings of them one might wish to consider.  I mean, given a bunch
of different and same sequences of different bases, all of different
lengths, what sort of algorithm is used to produce the number printed
in the newspaper.
Raymond A. Chamberlin
raych at
Graham Dellaire, Ph.D.


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