by Jerry Bergman and Jeffrey Tomkins
One of the leading molecular arguments for human evolution from a shared common ancestor with apes, particularly chimpanzees, is the ‘chromosome 2 fusion model’. This scenario involves the claim that the fusion of two small chimpanzee-like chromosomes (2A and 2B) formed one stable chimera chromosome in humans, leading to the difference in diploid chromosome numbers between humans and great apes. A majority of the data for the fusion model is based on DNA hybridization and chromosomal staining experiments conducted prior to the sequencing of the human and chimpanzee genomes. In the present paper, we present a new analysis of the scientific literature, and in a companion paper (part 2 in this issue) a re-analysis of the available DNA sequence data that calls into question the validity of the fusion model.
One of the most popularized molecular arguments for human-primate evolution is the hypothetical prehistoric head-to-head fusion of two primate chromosomes (corresponding to 2A and 2B in chimpanzee) to form human chromosome number 2. Much of the research supporting this hypothetical model is based on indirect evidence derived from DNA hybridization and chromosomal staining techniques. These techniques provide only approximate estimates of sequence similarity, with hybridization-based analyses being more accurate than the analysis of stained chromosomal bands. This type of initial evidence, along with some targeted DNA sequencing of small genomic regions in human, seemed to indicate support for the fusion model.1,2
While the chromosome 2 fusion model is routinely touted as dogma, very little new genomic data, although readily available for analysis, has been presented as evidence. In addition, several science authors have recently published books for the general public popularizing this hypothetical model as one of the supposedly strongest arguments for human evolution from a shared common ancestor with apes, particularly chimpanzees.3,4
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