Chimp and human

Ian A. York iayork at
Sun Nov 26 11:25:35 EST 2000

In article <Pine.SGI.3.96.1001126161251.12446198A-100000 at>,
Michael Witty  <mw132 at> wrote:
>> In fact, you're quite wrong.  Whole genomes can and have been compared, by
>> looking at the kinetics of renaturing of thermally denatured DNA, and this
>You are right, I had forgotten about this.  Can you tell me what level of
>accuracy this has? I would be interested to know if the number 98% really
>is justified.

The accuracy has been intensively debated, but the ballpark is certainly
accurate.  That is, the debate might be whether the number is actually
97.5% or 98.5%, not whether the number is 50% or 98%: the 98% is almost
certainly very close to the "real" number.  As I say, this has been
generally confirmed by sequencing, and a moment's thought should tell you
this is quite a reasonable figure, given the levels of similarity between
such much-more-distant genomes as human and C elegans.

>I have only ever heard this 98% figure from people who want to drag a
>scientific figure, which they don't understand very much, into a
>sociological argument.  Mike.

They might not understand it very much, but it turns out they were more
accurate than you.  There might be a lesson in there somewhere. 


    Ian York   (iayork at  <>
    "-but as he was a York, I am rather inclined to suppose him a
     very respectable Man." -Jane Austen, The History of England

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