A groundbreaking study published in the journal Science brings some new data on human evolution after studying the great ape DNA. The scientists adventured in finding what differentiate humans from apes to comprehend humans’ ancestral bloodline and discovered that genetic variation is one of the keys to solving this mystery.
According to the scientists’ announcement made on Thursday, they were able to sequence a complete collection of all the great ape genomes, a research which, they think, will open the roads to more studies of the similarities and differences between us, the humans, and the other hominids on the Earth.
Humans and great apes share a common ancestor
It is well-known that, despite our greater intellect and emotions, humans are still a sort of an ape. Even more, to argue this theory, the researchers noticed that humans and great apes share a common ancestor which lived about 6-8 million years ago and comparing the ancient human genomes with great ape DNA could reveal more information on this ancestor.
The researchers sequenced chimpanzee and an orangutan genome in over 500,000 full-length genes from each of these two species.
Comparing human DNA with great ape DNA revealed that genetic variation differentiate humans from apes
“We are beginning to get a sense of how some regions of our genome have been radically restructured, specifically in the human lineage,” says Evan Eichler, a professor of genome sciences at the University of Washington and the co-author of this groundbreaking study.
The scientists compared human genome with the ape genome and gorilla genome to notice comprehend how the genome has been restructured.
Accordingly, the human genome presented over 17,000 DNA variations, characterized by modifications in the gene regulation. The most of these variations were observed in those genes linked to brain morphology.
As the scientists explained it, these are great proofs that genes dictated the cortical expansion but the team still has to fill about 1,000 gaps in the great ape DNA to successfully examine the human evolution.