A More Accurate Chimpanzee Genome | The Institute for Creation Research

A More Accurate Chimpanzee Genome

Evolutionists claim that genetics has proved humans and chimpanzees are close evolutionary relatives. The current chimpanzee genome, however, was not constructed on its own merits. Instead, the human genome served as a framework for developing it. All of the short DNA sequences produced from the chimpanzee genome were assembled onto the human genome, using it as a reference sequence.1,2 This problematic shortcut was taken due to budget constraints, convenience, and a healthy dose of evolutionary presuppositions that humans evolved from apes.

Another serious potential problem with the chimpanzee genome is human DNA contamination—human sequences inadvertently included with the chimp sequences. That would also help to produce a more human-like chimpanzee genome. In 2011, a very interesting study was published in which the researchers screened 2,749 non-primate public DNA databases from all over the world and found 492 to be contaminated with human sequence—almost 18%.3 These DNA databases represented species ranging from bacteria to plants to fish. Ape and monkey databases were not tested, leaving the question open as to how much human DNA contamination may be present in them.

Given that these problems may very well have led to the development of a chimpanzee genome that appears more human-like than it actually is, ICR has initiated research to assess the quality of chimpanzee DNA sequences. This involves testing for anomalies that would indicate human DNA contamination. DNA sequence datasets that appear to have reduced levels of human DNA contamination will then be used to reassemble the chimpanzee genome in a de novo assembly, meaning that no reference genome will be used.

At present, there are 101 DNA sequence datasets available to the public that were produced using an older technology that yielded much longer chunks of DNA than current technologies, which produce a greater amount of total bulk sequence of much shorter lengths. The longer the length of the DNA sequence, the easier it is to computationally assemble into contiguous genomic regions called contigs. I downloaded all 101 of these datasets and end-trimmed the sequences to remove poor-quality bases and bacterial DNA contamination, since that type of sequencing process utilized a lab strain of the E. coli bacterium.

To ascertain the quality of each chimpanzee end-trimmed dataset, 25,000 DNA sequences were selected at random and queried against the human genome using a new version of the BLASTN algorithm. This not only checked for differences in individual bases but also allowed for small gaps in the compared sequences. When basic statistics were performed on the resulting data, it was clear that a major difference existed between the datasets for overall DNA similarity—a trend that corresponded with the timeframe in which the sequences were produced.

The initial chimpanzee genome publication was drawn from sequences produced early on in the chimpanzee genome project. These sequences were considerably more similar to human than those that were produced later in the project, by an average difference of about 5%. In fact, many datasets exhibited over a 10% difference in similarity. It may be that greater precautions against human DNA contamination were taken later in the project and thus produced less contamination. If the data from these seemingly less-contaminated sets are considered, the chimpanzee genome is no more than 86% identical to the human genome—a number that is in stark disagreement with evolution. We are now actively exploring these promising findings.

References

  1. The Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium. 2005. Initial sequence of the chimpanzee genome and comparison with the human genome. Nature. 437 (7055): 69-87.
  2. Tomkins, J. P. 2011. How Genomes Are Sequenced and Why It Matters: Implications for Studies in Comparative Genomics of Humans and Chimpanzees. Answers Research Journal. 4: 81-88.
  3. Longo, M. S., M. J. O’Neill, and R. J. O’Neill. 2011. Abundant Human DNA Contamination Identified in Non-Primate Genome Databases. PLoS ONE. 6 (2): e16410.

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

Cite this article: Jeffrey P. Tomkins, Ph.D. 2016. A More Accurate Chimpanzee Genome. Acts & Facts. 45 (4).

The Latest
NEWS
How Algae Do Fine When Tossed at Sea
How would you do if someone spun you around every few seconds all day long? Marine algae repeatedly get tossed about in coastal surf, and they cope quite...

NEWS
Butterfly Wing Design Repudiates Evolution
The takeoff and flight of butterflies has long been derided by evolutionists as being an unstable and inefficient product of evolution. However, a new...

NEWS
Reconciling Two Different Calculations of the Hubble Constant
An interesting article1 on physics.org caught my attention. Its title is “Solved: The Mystery of the Expansion of the Universe.”...

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Institute for Creation Research Awarded Highest Rating from Charity...
DALLAS, February 11, 2021–The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) recently earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator—America’s...

NEWS
Reminder: Saturn’s Moon Titan Really Looks Young
Scientists led by Valerio Poggiali of Cornell University’s Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science have used Cassini spacecraft data to learn...

NEWS
Is Newfound Dinosaur Fossil the Biggest Ever?
Whether dealing with athletes, sports teams, skyscrapers, or animals, we always want to know who or what takes the top spot. Researchers just published...

NEWS
Inside February 2021 Acts & Facts
What is the mission of the Institute for Creation Research? What legacy did Dr. Henry M. Morris III leave behind? How will our Ice Age model impact...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Jupiter
You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with ICR’s special Creation Kids learning...

ACTS & FACTS
Planting, Watering, and God's Increase
During construction of the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History, I spent a lot of time working with various crews of artists and craftsmen....

APOLOGETICS
Buried Secrets Can Be Worth Uncovering
Buried secrets sometimes surface, revealing hidden things. However, if no one is willing to do some diligent digging, much of what is concealed will...