by Joe Deweese, Ph.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: A.P. auxillary staff scientist Dr. Deweese holds a Ph.D. from  Vanderbilt University in Biochemistry.]

With the rapid advancement of genome sequencing technology, researchers have dramatically increased the number of genomes that have been completely sequenced in the last few years. This genomic information has vastly increased our knowledge of living organisms. Recently, researchers reported the complete genome sequence of gorillas (Scally, et al., 2012).

Evolutionists consider gorillas to be one of our “closest” living evolutionary relatives, second only to chimpanzees (Scally, et al.). One of the goals of genome sequencing is to examine whether the sequence supports the proposed evolutionary relationships. Comparisons of the nucleotide sequences have been used to generate hypothetical relationship trees (sometimes called “trees of life”). [NOTE: Comparing nucleotide sequences is similar to comparing letters between two books; more letters in the same order leads to the sequences being considered “more similar”—which evolutionists interpret as a reflection of evolutionary relationship. It should be noted that sequences that are only present in one of the “books” and not the other are ignored—thus, these are often not included in calculations of “similarity.” This and other technical details can result in a misunderstanding of the true amount of differences between organisms (cf. Cohen, 2007).]

What did they learn from this work? By comparing the already available human and chimpanzee sequences, the researchers concluded that 70% of the human and chimp genomes are more similar to each other than to the gorilla (Scally, et al.). However, 15% of the gorilla sequence was more similar to the human sequence than the chimpanzee sequence, and the remaining 15% of the gorilla sequence was closer to the chimpanzee sequence than the human sequence (Flatow, 2012; Smith, 2012)…..

 

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