Human Chimp Genome Similarity

have you watched the video?

Martin, many of us find analogies like Chris posted helpful in understanding concepts. I think in the example you refer to, the question is “Would you expect the unsequenced portion to be roughly the same as that portion that has been sequenced?” What is your take on that question?
While there may be some differences, the answer most of us would give is yes, it should be similar. Now, the other question is " What does it mean?" Whether 99% or 96% or 90%, it is interesting to look at how much overlap there is with other primates and how much overlap there is within individuals in a species, using the same criteria.


i agree… even a 1% could be a big difference, still a lot of data … as we can clearly see… as far as i know, chimps don’t fly to the moon…

however, i wanted to point out, that scientists give some numbers on similarity, and then i found out, that both genomes were never fully sequenced…

i am an engineer… i don’t guess…

A little bit but it was too painful to watch it all. It appears to be done by someone with a limited knowledge of biology.

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can you be more specific?

I see I commented on that video a year ago (in response to the maker’s comment): “After viewing the video, I think it was made by someone who had no idea what they were talking about. Simply discarded 1.3 billion letters? Where did that whopping falsehood come from?” What makes you think this was made by scientists?


Hi Martin, I have a few comments on the video, then I’ll talk a bit about sequencing gaps.

First, the video was indeed secular, but not made by scientists. Second, the estimates of unsequenced genome are over-exaggerated and scientists are continuing to work on reducing the unsequenced portion.

It is a little puzzling why gaps exist when we were told in 2003 that the human genome had been completely sequenced. This is a legitimate observation. You posted an article by Sharon Begley (really good science writer) earlier, so let’s take a deeper look.

“A lot of people in the 1980s and 1990s [when the Human Genome Project was getting started] thought of these regions as nonfunctional,” said Karen Miga, a molecular biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “But that’s no longer the case.” Some of them, called satellite regions, misbehave in some forms of cancer, she said, “so something is going on in these regions that’s important.”

Miga regards them as the explorer Livingstone did Africa — terra incognita whose inaccessibility seems like a personal affront. Sequencing the unsequenced, she said, “is the last frontier for human genetics and genomics.”

Church, too, has been making that point, mentioning it at both the May meeting of an effort to synthesize genomes, and at last weekend’s meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. Most of the unsequenced regions, he said, “have some connection to aging and aneuploidy” (an abnormal number of chromosomes such as what occurs in Down syndrome). Church estimates 4 percent to 9 percent of the human genome hasn’t been sequenced. Miga thinks it’s 8 percent.

The reason for these gaps is that DNA sequencing machines don’t read genomes like humans read books, from the first word to the last. Instead, they first randomly chop up copies of the 23 pairs of chromosomes, which total some 3 billion “letters,” so the machines aren’t overwhelmed. The resulting chunks contain from 1,000 letters (during the Human Genome Project) to a few hundred (in today’s more advanced sequencing machines). The chunks overlap. Computers match up the overlaps, assembling the chunks into the correct sequence.

Basically, the actual “reading” of the DNA sequence is done in relatively tiny chunks that then must be assembled together.

That’s between difficult and impossible to do if the chunks contain lots of repetitive segments, such as TTAATATTAATATTAATA, or TTAATA three times. “The problem is, when you have the same exact words, it’s hard to assemble,” said Lander, just as if jigsaw puzzle pieces show the same exact blue sky.

It was long assumed that these repetitive sequences were likely unimportant because they could not hold the necessary DNA sequences used for making proteins. The difficulty of the task suggested that it was more trouble than it was worth.

At the beginning of the Human Genome Project, said Lander, now director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, “it became very clear these highly repetitive sequences would not be tractable with existing technology. It wasn’t a cause of a great deal of agonizing at the time,” since he and other project leaders expected the next generation of scientists to find a solution.

Begley’s report covers the renewed interest in these gaps, because researchers are starting to think there may be some valuable data in those regions, after all. The last few paragraphs discuss some of the reasons why researchers are increasing interest in these notoriously difficult-to-sequence regions. There is also a mention of a different sequencing technology that may be better suited to “cracking” those regions.


OK I did sit through the whole video.

Treating DNA as if it is only “a string of letters” is an extreme oversimplification.

The discussion of the differences in chimp and human genomes is also greatly simplified.

Then they throw out the 25% number which might have been valid 10 years ago but certainly isn’t valid now.

Edit to add: Did you catch the line at the 2:41 point? “We may not be 99% chimp but we are 100% great ape.”

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What are the names of these “secular scientists”?

The only way that DNA sequences can be compared is if we know where those DNA sequences fit into the genome and which section of the other genome they match up to. If these things aren’t known, then they are left out of the comparison because they simply can’t be compared. The false assumption you seem to be making is that unaligned sequence has 0% similarity to the other genome.

the names of these “secular scientists” are listed below the video… including the links of reference articles…

so easy…

p.s. i am a layman person, i am looking for truth … i looked careful, i can’t link this video to any creationist/ID community… neither the persons listed below the video …

Yes, perhaps these guys are not scientists, but they seem to be secular (the video ends with a conclusion that we are apes.)

This is why i posted the video here, to find an answer… because i am a layman, i am confused who to trust… do you see my point? The video is very comprehensive … even layman people can get most of it … is the video somehow misleading? Or do they lie ? I don’t now, you tell me… But i would like to hear more views on this, not only yours…

Because, the main idea of the video is very strong:

“yes, we share 99% of our DNA with chimps, if we ignore 18% of their genome and 25% of ours”

I am an engineer… so what should i think when i hear something like that?

So are our genomes “99% word-by-word similar” or not ? It is an easy question …

here you go …

yes, i did, see my previous post, that is why i think these guys are secular, or atheists, if you will … anyway, it is funny to hear from secular science fans that we may not be 99% chimps (after all) …

agreed, i chose wrong words… lets call them, secular science fans … however, i am not 100% sure that none of them is a scientist… there are some names listed below the video…

and Bill, one more thing… perhaps you have overlooked my other post:

“Psst, the human genome was never completely sequenced” (neither was chimp’s nor any other mammalian genome)

Like 9% of human genome data is missing…

can you comment on this?

Tell me Bill, i am new here, help me understand…

What kind of people visit this BioLogos forum?

I heard that BioLogos guys are theistic evolutionists… they believe that God used evolution (evolutionary creation) to create 10,000,000 species on Earth (i know, it was much more, 99% already extinct)

But, i suspect, here are some atheists as well … So help me understand who is visiting this forum… And, how educated are these people? is this some kind of hardcore science forum? because i am a layman …

Um… respectfully… you already asked this question, Martin. Why are you asking it again? You got not one but two comprehensive answers to this question. Are you making some kind of rhetorical point that is getting lost in translation here?

There are both practicing scientific professionals here and laymen like me and you. That should be relatively obvious from the various qualities of responses that you get, n’est-ce pas?


Um … respectfully…

i think, it is not difficult to understand why…

i would like to receive more answers, more views… Did i violate some rules? Are you a moderator ?

As i mentioned before, I am new here …

Um … respectfully… your reply does not look very friendly… in your case, one more reason to understand who am i talking to …

So who are you AMWolfe?

Do you believe in God?

no, it is not obvious… not to me… perhaps to you…not to me… you are definitely much smarter than i am

9% is way smaller than 25%. To me what is important is the amount of the genome that has been sequenced that is identical to the chimp.

All kinds. The people that are on staff at BioLogos are all Christians. See

I am a Christian who also happens to be an engineer like you. If you read enough posts it is not hard to figure out a person’s position.

It appears you are coming from an ID position. Am I correct? Can I ask why? To me EC is just ID with knowing who the designer is added on.

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