Human and Chimp DNA--Nearly Identical? | The Institute for Creation Research

Human and Chimp DNA--Nearly Identical?

For the past several decades, the standard mantra has been that humans are 98 percent genetically identical to chimpanzees. However, this claim is based on cherry-picked data and does not take into account the vastly different regions of the two respective genomes.

Major research published over the past decade comparing human and chimpanzee DNA was recently reviewed and critiqued.1 In every single publication, researchers only reported on the highly similar DNA sequence data and discarded the rest—apparently because it was too dissimilar. In fact, when the DNA similarities from these studies were recalculated using the omitted data, markedly lower levels—between 81 and 86 percent similarity—were found. Even the well-known chimpanzee genome paper published by evolutionists in 2005 provides a genomic similarity of only about 80 percent when the discarded nonsimilar data are included and only 70 percent when the estimated size of the chimpanzee genome is incorporated.2,3

In 2011, I tested a wide variety of DNA alignment parameters for 40,000 segments of chimpanzee DNA that were already known to be similar to human. The parameters that gave the longest DNA alignment matches produced 86 percent similarity.3 Another interesting outcome from this study was that the 740-base-long chimp DNA sequences became too different to align after just a few hundred bases, on average.

Clearly, a more informative technique was needed to accurately compare the entire chimp genome to that of humans—specifically, something that counteracted the problem of the algorithm breaking off the match in regions of low similarity. By digitally slicing entire chimp chromosomes into small pieces, I found that the algorithm could effectively compare chimp and human DNA piece-by-piece.3 This involved doing multiple experiments to find the optimal DNA sequence lengths, or “slices,” to fully ascertain the average overall similarity for each chimp chromosome when compared to its alleged human counterpart.

Not counting the Y-chromosome, the results of my comparison showed variability between 66 and 76 percent similarity for the different chimp chromosomes, with an overall genome average of only 70 percent similarity to human chromosomes. In reality, many chromosomal regions are vastly different between chimps and humans, and several areas of the genome that are present in chimps are completely absent in humans—and vice versa.

While it is true that there are sections of the chimp genome that are very similar to humans, this is not the complete picture. DNA sequence comparisons that include all the relevant data plainly show that the human and chimp genomes are not nearly identical at all. Instead, they are as distinct as one might expect based on the obvious differences in the resulting anatomies and behavioral capacities.

Hypothetical evolutionary processes cannot explain the extremely broad differences between chimp and human DNA when the whole genomes are considered. The similar regions between genomes are easily interpreted as the basic reuse of effective code—a concept very familiar to software engineers. Such evidence points to a Master Designer who has orchestrated all the wondrous diversity of life on Earth after its own kind.

References

  1. Tomkins, J. and J. Bergman. 2012. Genomic monkey business—estimates of nearly identical human-chimp DNA similarity re-evaluated using omitted data. Journal of Creation. 26 (1): 94-100.
  2. Tomkins, J. 2013. Comprehensive Analysis of Chimpanzee and Human Chromosomes Reveals Average DNA Similarity of 70%. Answers Research Journal. 6: 63-69.
  3. Tomkins, J. 2011. Genome-Wide DNA Alignment Similarity (Identity) for 40,000 Chimpanzee DNA Sequences Queried against the Human Genome is 86–89%. Answers Research Journal. 4: 233- 241.

* Dr. Tomkins is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and received his Ph.D. in genetics from Clemson University.

Cite this article: Jeffrey P. Tomkins, Ph.D. 2014. Human and Chimp DNA--Nearly Identical?. Acts & Facts. 43 (2).

The Latest
NEWS
Remembering Patti Morse
But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from...

CREATION PODCAST
What Happened with Washington's Violent Volcano? | The Creation...
How did a 1980 volcanic eruption change our understanding of geology? What impact did this event have on the age assignments of sediments? Join us for...

NEWS
Fossil Insect Predation Shows No Evidence of Evolution
Some recent science news stories have come out describing fossils of insects feeding on plants supposedly many “millions of years ago.” What...

NEWS
Adaptive Genetic and Epigenetic Changes in Plants
Being sedentary organisms, plants are essentially stuck where they are planted and need to dynamically adapt to the conditions around them to not only...

NEWS
Dr. Tim Clarey Awarded Adjunct Professor of the Year
Congratulations to ICR Research Scientist and geologist Dr. Tim Clarey! He received the Adjunct Professor of the Year award from King’s University,...

NEWS
Mars Rover Records Dramatic Solar Eclipse
NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover has filmed the Martian satellite (or moon) Phobos eclipsing the sun, and this short but impressive video may be viewed...

CREATION PODCAST
Darwin or Design? CET Pt. 2 | The Creation Podcast: Episode 22
How does design provide a better explanation for biological functions and adaptations than natural selection? And how can engineering principles help...

NEWS
Resurrecting “Ancient” Enzymes?
The most abundant protein on Earth is probably an enzyme (biological catalyst) called RuBisCO (or Rubisco) designed by the Creator to function in photosynthesis.1...

NEWS
Inside May-June 2022 Acts & Facts
How can Christians stand up to scientific elitism? What does the plant fossil record in Iceland tell us about the global Flood? Does a new bacterium...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Grand Canyon
by Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation...