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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Why Humans and Gorillas are Closely Related?

Recent research in the field of evolutionary genetics reveals the mystery of the proximity between humans and gorillas. Species of great ape that is the "cousin" the closest man after a chimpanzee.

"The analysis showed the genetic code of humans and gorillas last had a common ancestor in 10 million years ago," said Aylwyn Scally, researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, in Cambridge, the United States.

Gorillas are the last great ape species are described complete genetic code. Prior to the species, humans, chimpanzees, and orangutans had already undergone genetic decoding.

The scientists led by researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston found 15 percent of the genetic code gorillas were closer to humans than between humans and chimpanzees, a species of great apes that have been rated the most closely related to humans.

In that study, the scientists unravel the genetic sequence of We are the, a female lowland gorilla western born in captivity and now lives in the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. They also analyzed a portion of the genomes of two western lowland gorillas as well as other parts of eastern lowland gorillas.

The results reveal how evolutionary tree linking humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas, it was much closer than previously known. Scally said the genomes of three species that are very similar in some respects. Humans and chimpanzees share more than 98 percent of their genes. "While humans share more than 96 percent of genes with gorillas," he said.

The study, published in the journal Nature reveals the most recent common separation ancestor of human, gorillas, and chimpanzees. They found that the ancestor of humans and chimpanzees split at the new intersection at 6 million years ago, so the two are very close evolutionary kinship.
The first full genome analysis has revealed that 15% of gorillas' genetic code is closer between humans and gorillas than it is between humans and chimpanzees. (Picture from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/)
Today, gorillas are classified as critically endangered and populations have plummeted to below 100,000 individuals in recent decades due to poaching and disease. They are restricted to equatorial forests in countries including Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, Nigeria, Republic of Congo and Angola.

"As well as teaching us about human evolution, the study of great apes connects us to a time when our existence was more tenuous," say the researchers in Nature. "And in doing so, highlights the importance of protecting and conserving these remarkable species." *** [GUARDIAN | LIVESCIENCE | MAHARDIKA SATRIA HADI | KORAN TEMPO 3820]
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