What does it mean to "share DNA"?

I think the original question leads to a male geneticist’s chat up line. ‘Can ah share some DNA with you?’

A simple view is that the extent to which we “share DNA,” or have identical DNA, with another person is a measure of how closely we are related (i.e., have common ancestors).

55% of my DNA matches my brother’s exactly. And my y-chromosome matches hundreds of guys named Talley or Tally or Tolley.


  • “Humans and chimps share a surprising 98.8 percent of their DNA.”

So how many chimps do you have among your DNA matches?

No chimps have shown up on my reports yet. I think there are at least a couple of reasons:

  1. Few, if any, chimps have purchased the tests and
  2. Common ancestors, if any, are so far back in time that the shared DNA doesn’t rise to the reporting level.

Are there any chimps in your matches?

I am no expert in this. I just monkey around with it some.


They have their own sets of tests for relatedness and migration history.

I suppose I should said that chimps haven’t purchased the same tests and I have not joined the same data bases.

It would be interesting to see what happens if you send a chimp’s dna into 23 and me or Ancestory.com. I bet someone has done it. Although, probably would just an inadequate sample reply.

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It appears that 23 and me uses DNA chip technology.

I would suspect that they use stringent conditions for DNA binding, so if the DNA doesn’t match the probes on the chip then you will not get a result. If the chimp DNA is identical to a human variant in the specific regions they are looking at then you would get a result.


Groan. :slightly_smiling_face:  

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None known yet, but I’m keeping an eye on some mischievous knuckle-draggers who’ve been showing up uninvited from time to time.

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