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September 01, 2005

Comments

 razib

It's a shame the actual research article wasn't made freely available though

these were at least free:

Initial sequence of the chimpanzee genome and comparison with the human genome

A genome-wide comparison of recent chimpanzee and human segmental duplications

Human subtelomeres are hot spots of interchromosomal recombination and segmental duplication

Conservation of Y-linked genes during human evolution revealed by comparative sequencing in chimpanzee

(find them here:http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v437/n7055/edsumm/e050901-01.html

Abiola Lapite

Ah, thanks! Just what the doctor called for.

Factory

"regions over the next few years will give tremendous headaches to the "intelligent design" [sic] crowd."
Hardly, there is enough evidence of evolution to provide a strong case for it, adding more evidence can hardly make it that much better. The success of the anti-evolution movements have been to move the argument to a position where evidence can be ignored.

Abiola Lapite

On the contrary. The chimpanzee genome creates particular difficulties for creationists because man is supposed to be a special part of God's creation, made in His image and given dominion over the rest of nature. The sheer extent of the similarities between man and chimp suggests that God's image was probably extremely hairy and beetle-browed, while the unraveling of the evolutionary history of the human brain should put paid once and for all to any claims that there is something uniquely inexplicable about how human intelligence arose.

Andrew

"the unraveling of the evolutionary history of the human brain should put paid once and for all to any claims that there is something uniquely inexplicable about how human intelligence arose."

Allow me just to put in a plug for my own field and say that simply identifying the genes that changed between chimps and humans won't tell us much without filling in the details about how those genes function in the development (and function, but probably most dramatically development) of the brain. But yes, I'm very excited about the chimp genome sequencing too!

Abiola Lapite

Yes, I'm well aware of that, but you have to know what said genes *are* before you can do all of the subsequent work, and if you re-read what I wrote, nowhere did I say that it was a sufficient condition. Without comparative data from other great apes to work with, it's not going to be possible to carry out the necessary tests to work out coalescent times for particular variants, CpG divergence rates, whether particular recombination hotspots are species-specific, whether evidence of positive-selection really does imply functional differences unique to humans etc., and all those things are now becoming possible thanks to the chimp genome.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v437/n7055/full/nature04072.html

Andrew

Yes, of course I agree with you, and I knew you knew that, I was just saying...

João da Costa

One thing we all already knew about these differences is that they are only a "few" (percentwise) genes in the total.
But this shows also how a few hot spots in the genome can carry with them a very big difference in the final behaviour of the defined animal.
We must also be aware that this thought about different specieses can be generalized to a thought about intra-species differentiation: somebody can claim that even few genes can have a big impact in individual other racial differences inside the human species too.
For me, must interesting is to think how individual genes tell us only a part of the story. How gene-complexes function as whole entities will be the next step, I suspect.

Abiola Lapite

"somebody can claim that even few genes can have a big impact in individual other racial differences inside the human species too."

Anybody can claim anything they want, but it's up to them to prove it. In any case, no set of facts has ever stopped race cranks from making outlandish claims in the past.

pete

'Anybody can claim anything they want, but it's up to them to prove it.' Not strictly true. If you are politically correct you are entitled to be believed without the need for proof. Being pompous, patronising and insulting to those who don't agree with you is all that is required, not proof. This is why we see the ostracism of academics whose research finds things that aren't 'acceptable'.

Abiola Lapite

"This is why we see the ostracism of academics whose research finds things that aren't 'acceptable'."

It's a conspiracy by the liberal scientific establishment! Help, help, we're being oppressed! Yada yada yada ...

I knew it was a matter of time before one of you lot showed up. Save yourself the trouble, go directly to race-crank limbo, do not pass go, do not collect £200. It's amusing how much rhetorical overlap there is between you guys, the HIV-deniers and the creationists.

Pete

[Blogroach splatted.]

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