Comparing the Human and Chimpanzee Genomes


The idea that chimpanzees share a close relationship with humans extends as far back as the early nineteenth century. However, only during the last 50 years has mounting genetic evidence demonstrated that chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than to gorillas or other apes. Whole‐genome sequences now available for both human and common chimpanzee confirm their close genetic relationship, whereas also identifying differences that may have contributed to the emergence of species‐specific phenotypes. To better understand the potential phenotypic significance of these differences, additional comparative genomic data from other primate, mammalian and vertebrate taxa are required.

Keywords: phylogeny; Pongidae; Hominidae; phenotype; Homo (Pan)

Figure 1.

(a) Estimated pairwise genomic identity between humans and rhesus macaques, humans and chimpanzees and between two chromosomes from a single human individual. Data are from whole genome comparisons as reported in Consortium , Gibbs et al. and Levy et al.. (b) Estimated pairwise identity between humans and chimpanzees, humans and gorillas and humans and orangutans based on comparisons of the approximately 95 kb BRCA1‐encoding region as reported in Pavlicek et al..



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Uddin, Monica, Wildman, Derek E, and Goodman, Morris(Jul 2008) Comparing the Human and Chimpanzee Genomes. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020743]