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Where ~exactly~ do chimp and human DNA differ?

A.P.Jason de Koning apjdk at albany.edu
Sat Oct 5 10:28:29 EST 2002

Dear Peter,

This is at present an open question that will only be answerable once the
chimpanzee genome has been fully sequenced.  (Another great ape's genome
such as gorilla would be nice so that we could see which changes occured on
the human lineage, and which ones on the chimp.  In general the more
genomes, the more confidence we could have in which changes occurred where
and when.)  Sequencing is underway (see Project Silver,
http://sayer.lab.nig.ac.jp/~silver/ among others); the Human Genome
Sequencing Consortium also recently announced that sequencing the Chimp's
genome is a "top priority".

There is a large amount of chimp data available, and many of us have been
working on analysing it  (see, for example,

There are two classic hypotheses for what makes humans and chimpanzees
different: either key differences in a few important protein-coding genes,
or differences in the timing and pattern of gene expression.  The first is
addressable by genomic comparison of protein coding regions, as done in the
above paper, while the second is more complicated to look at (this is called
the "regulatory hypothesis", and was advanced by Alan Wilson and Mary-Claire
King a few decades ago).  You can see the following paper for some

M.C. King and A.C. Wilson, "Evolution at Two Levels in Humans and
Chimpanzees," Science 188 (1975): 107-116.

Lots of people are very interested in this problem (see for instance, this
piece from Science by science-writer Ann Gibbons: Which of our genes make us
human?, posted for public access at

Expect some interesting results on this topic through the next few years!

Hope this helps,
- Jason de Koning

 A.P. Jason de Koning, Doctoral student          Email: apjdk at albany.edu
 Department of Biological Sciences               Lab: (518) 442-4347
 University at Albany, SUNY                      FAX: (518) 442-4767
 1400 Washington Ave., Albany NY 12222, USA      Mobil: (518) 210-4504

"Peter F" <fell_spamtrap_in at ozemail.com.au> wrote in message
news:ankkcp$i19$1 at mercury.hgmp.mrc.ac.uk...
> Do you (who pass by here) know something about in what DNA regions the
> biggest (or "most key") of these differences are located?
> [To me, developmental molecular biology is one of the most awesome new
> avenues for scientific research. Can only wish I was educated and smart
> enough to thoroughly follow, even more so participating in, what is going
> in this field.]
> Peter
> --
> I am the guy who against his own insight and better knowledge has tried to
> convince people to share his thinking, understanding, and opinion in terms
> of that our human phenotype *should* become famous for its advanced but
> aimless "AEVASIVE" handling of "SHITS" come "CURSES".


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