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Human and chimp genomes differ by more than one percent (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Human and chimp genomes differ by more than one percent (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.

Claim CB144:

For years, evolutionists have hailed the chimpanzee as "our closest living relative" and have pointed out that the DNA is 98 to 99 percent identical between the two. Scientists now say the difference is 4 percent, double what they have been claiming for years.

Source: DeWitt, David A. 2005. [Chimp genome sequence very different from man.]

CreationWiki response:

(Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. The difference between chimpanzees and humans due to single-nucleotide substitutions averages 1.23 percent, of which 1.06 percent or less is due to fixed divergence, and the rest being a result of polymorphism within chimp populations and within human populations. Insertion and deletion (indel) events account for another approximately 3 percent difference between chimp and human sequences, but each indel typically involves multiple nucleotides. The number of genetic changes from indels is a fraction of the number of single-nucleotide substitutions (roughly 5 million compared with roughly 35 million). So describing humans and chimpanzees as 98 to 99 percent identical is entirely appropriate.

Talk Origins is actually showing 100% factual agreement with DeWitt, they are only disagreeing on the interpretation of those facts. Talk Origins’ effort to downplay the extra 3% just shows how one can adjust the calculations of similarities and differences to suit whatever fits best with your preconceptions.

2. The difference measurement depends on what you are measuring. If you measure the number of proteins for which the entire protein is identical in the two species, humans and chimpanzees are 29 percent identical. If you measure nonsynonymous base pair differences within protein coding regions, humans and chimps are 99.75 percent identical. The original 98.4 percent estimate came from DNA hybridization experiments, which measured (indirectly, via DNA melting temperature) sequence difference among short segments of the genomes that are similar enough to hybridize but with repetitive elements removed. Whatever measure is used, however, as long as the same measurement is used consistently, will show that humans are more closely related to chimpanzees (including the bonobo, sister species to the common chimpanzee) than to any other species.

Only if one assumes a common ancestor. What it objectively shows is that humans have more in common with chimpanzees than any other Created kind, but so what? Some kind has to have that designation, and it just happens to be chimpanzees.

Note also, though, that evolution has not been uniform throughout the genomes, so estimates of human-chimp divergence which consider only part of the genome can give different results.

It can also be said that God created humans and chimp genomes with varying amounts of differences.

Related References