DNA hybridization is a technique, not a living creature

Kevin Scott kscott at maxwell.ucsf.edu
Tue Sep 12 00:09:54 EST 1995


I normally avoid threads like these, but I see this thread as being too
persistent.  I do not mean to be rude and disturb enjoyable speculation but the
man/ape hybridization was probably a reference to the type of work done by
Sibley and Ahlquist (1987) published in the Journal of Molecular Evolution.
They took the actual DNA and slapped it together to see how strongly the
different DNA strands could bond to each other.  The idea is that the
more similarity, I'll even say homology, between the strands, the
more tightly they would stick together.  They could then be heated up
and a "melting curve" would give an idea of just how closely humans and
apes are to each other in terms of molecular evolution.  Although Hasegawa
et al. (J Mol Evol 1985 22:160, I happen to have the paper nearby) speculate
on a man/chimpanzee hybrid as late as 3.3 million years ago (to explain
some surprising distances observed in mitochondrial DNA) they point out
it would be proto-humans.  Speciation is just that, speciation.  If actual
matings could be performed we would have a spectrum of human to ape.

What with the blur between reality and sensationalism nowadays, it is easy
to get lost in information.  Man/ape babies are stuff for the supermarket
tabloids.   I study molecular evolution and give you my word on this.
If the person who originally started this thread would like to mail me a
reference to the document that started this thread of conversation I would
be happy to explain it or de-bunk it.

I hope those who are casual observers to this newsgroup (actually, I
rarely post and consider myself such) continue to do so, a lot of useful
information passes through here.

It would be appreciated if follow ups were restricted to email.
Best Wishes,  Kevin Scott



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