Quantifying genetic commonality

Nancy Bennett nancyb at ignet.com
Sat Feb 17 11:31:32 EST 2001

Please excuse a question from a non-professional (I have a graduate degree
in ethology and studied population genetics, but have a very superficial
understanding of genetics in general) but I have been "surfing the net" for
the answer to a question and am trying all possible sources of information.

My question is -- can anybody even wildly estimate the degree to which any
two randomly chosen humans (or let's make it easier and say any two randomly
chosen Europeans) are, in fact, genetically similar?  I recently read on the
Human Genome Project web site that humans may have as few as "one gene in
500" that differs between individuals.  This would suggest that, on average,
the genes at 99.8% of all loci are identical.  Is this an accurate

Thanks for any info you can pass on.

Nancy Bennett


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