‘Junk DNA’ Defines Differences Between Humans and Chimps, so said some data, again

Science Daily news,october 25, higlights a recent paper from Georgia Insitute Tech: Nalini Polavarapu, Gaurav Arora, Vinay K Mittal, John F McDonald. Characterization and potential functional significance of human-chimpanzee large INDEL variation. Mobile DNA, 2011; 2: 13 DOI: 10.1186/1759-8753-2-13. The punch lines: “Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have now determined that the insertion and deletion of large pieces of DNA near genes are highly variable between humans and chimpanzees and may account for major differences between the two species.”

the right to marry a 99% close species is next

The fact that the variabiality is found doesnt point to a mechanism to emerge two different species. We are still in the dark as to what is regulated and translated and how these  differences account for the astounding phenotypic disparities, fortunately,  between chimps and us. A puzzling observation is that according to the team: we may have dragged some cancer propensity in exchange for a larger brain and presumably “higher” cognitive faculties.

In Yvonne Rekers, Daniel B.M. Haun and Michael Tomasello. Children, but Not Chimpanzees, Prefer to Collaborate. Current Biology, 2011 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.08.066, Tomasellos’ group at the Planck say (via Science Daily): “A preference to do things together instead of alone differentiates humans from one of our closely related primate cousins,” said Daniel Haun of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. “Once we know the underlying motivations of this tendency, we will have learned something new about human nature that differentiates it from chimpanzee nature.”

 It is a bewildering thought to jump from different intercalated sequences, pressumably regulatory, to children cooperating. An uber reductionist would jump to oxytocin and prairie vole social and bonding “genes”, search for D-cycloserine receptors, shown to enhance pair bonding, whatever that is.

Is it that simple? Humans a product of regulatory short sequences?


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