Essay on Genetic And Behavioral Parallels Of Apes And Humans

784 Words 4 Pages
Scientists are often called upon to answer fundamental questions about human variation and its ramifications. While it is easy to get caught up in the idea of being so vastly genetically similar to our ape-like relatives, the assumptions underlying genetic data have more significance than the data itself. This can be seen when studying genetic and behavioral parallels of apes and humans, and how each affects the other with regards to phenotypic similarity.
For all of its grandeur, a DNA sequence is highly singular in its process of creation. It utilizes a long series of A, G, C, and T subunits that code for every protein and aspect of our genotype. These strands of DNA, as well as the proteins they create, are often used as a basis for genetic comparisons between species, as skewed or inaccurate as they may be (Marks 2002: 33). Align a pair of sequences from different species, and one could easily tabulate their similarities: two species could strike a match fifty out of one hundred times, making said species fifty percent genetically identical. Geneticists have been able to determine that humans and chimpanzees are over ninety-eight percent similar, and that figure has become one of the “most overexposed factoids in modern science” and popular scientific literature (Marks 2002: 13). This, however, calls into question whether or not this supposed grand genetic similarity actually translates into phenotypic resemblance. Ninety-eight percent genetic similarity may not…

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