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Scientists Decode Chimpanzee Chromosome For First Time



10/19/2005 5:11:32 PM

Scientists have for the first time decoded a Chimpanzee chromosome and compared it to its human counterpart, opening the way to fuller understanding of the mutations that gave rise to humans, the journal Nature said. The last common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans lived six million years ago, and we still share 99 percent of our genetic material with Chimpanzees. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, while chimpanzees have 24. Scientists believe that humans emerged when two pairs of their chromosomes merged together, while these remained distinct entities in chimpanzees. An international group of 40 scientists led by Asao Fujiyama of Japan sought to look for signs of genetic changes in the chromosomes that would help in the acquisition of human characteristics, such as bipedism or the use of language. They compared chromosome 22 of the chimpanzee with its human counterpart, chromosome 21.

Read at New Scientist
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