- By Dwaipayan, 23 October 2020 | 4 MIN READ
Humans are long known to be closely related to chimpanzees and other primates, but did you know that humans also share more than half of our genetic material with bananas, chickens, and fruit flies?
Ever since the human genome was first sequenced in 2003, the research turf of comparative genomics has uncovered that we share common DNA with many other living organisms — and banana the yellow peeled fruit.
A Recipe for Proteins
No wonder, all living creatures come with an instruction manual, its genome, which tells it how to grow, build itself, and function. These instructions are made up of DNA that tells an organism how to make protein molecules. And proteins make us who we are. They establish physical characteristics of eye and hair color, and contain substances essential for life, such as antibodies, enzymes, and hormones.
By sequencing the complete genome of various organisms, including yeast, rice, and frogs, researchers found out that all living things on our planet have similarities in their instruction manuals. The connection exists because we all have evolved from a common ancestor, a single-celled organism that existed three or four billion years ago, recognized as the last universal common ancestor (LUCA).
Countless of these common genes have been conserved through billions of years of evolution. Analyzing our genes common to other organisms is helping us to know what makes us distinctively human, as well as to understand the genetic underpinnings of ailments and diseases.
Continue to read and see how genetically similar we are to these living things:
Chimpanzee: 96 percent match
How can we be so different from chimps and yet a 96 percent match! Researchers are hoping to understand what makes us uniquely human. While we don’t have that answer yet, recent studies reveal that certain genes and parts of DNA that regulate the expression of genes are the grounds for the greater complexity and size of the human brain.
Chicken: 60 percent identical
Mapping the genome of the Red Jungle Fowl, researchers discovered the genetic differences between birds and mammals. Some remarkable potential similarities were found: The genes coding for proteins found in chicken eggshells and bones could have some related counterparts involved in bone calcification in mammals. And the gene for some immune response proteins, like interleukin 26, previously thought to be specific to mammals, was also found in chickens.
Banana: more than 60 percent identical
Many of the “housekeeping” genes that are essential for basic cellular function, such as for replicating DNA, managing the cell cycle, and assisting cells divide are shared between many plants (including bananas) and animals.
Fruit fly: 60 percent identical
Lots of studies have been undertaken on fruit flies. These tiny winged insects share common genes for many biological processes engaged with growth and development. Nearly 75 percent of genes that cause disease in humans are also found in fruit flies, making them good beneficiaries for the study of human diseases.
These are just some of the fascinating facts we’ve gathered to inspire youngsters to pick a career in science and engineering.
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