Re: Humans and chimps

Opiowade (
8 Aug 1995 20:27:48 -0400

Simply because chimps and humans have 97% identical genetic makeup (that
is, the same types of genes at the same sites on the chromosomes), does
not mean they can mate. In order for two species to cross-breed, they
must at least have close to the same number of chromosomes. Optimally,
they must have the same number of pairs, but occassionally, sterile
offspring can result from the mating of species with different numnbers
(like the mule which is a cross between a donkey and a horse which have a
different number of chromosomes). The answer, then, is no, they can't

An interesting thing to note, however, is that almost all mammals are 90%
identical genetically. This is why so much genetic research that benefits
humans is done on other animals. The genes that affect heart disease in
dogs, for example, are the same genes responsible for the same ailments in

In fact, genetically speaking, gorillas are over 99% identical to humans,
but culturally, we seem to have more in common with chimpanzees. We can't
mate with gorillas either, by the way.

In the words of Maya Angelou "We are more alike, my friend, then we are

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