Monday, 28 May 2012

Gorilla genomes are keys to uncover human’s evolution history

Chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans are always said to be human’s closest relatives. There is a very high possibility that human are the later generation of them. From the existing literature, it is known that chimpanzees share 99% of human’s DNA while gorillas and orangutans share 98% and 97% of human’s DNA respectively (Ghosh, 2012). Moreover, by comparing their genomes, results indicate that the human family divided from orangutans 14 million years ago, gorillas 10 million years ago, and chimps 6 millions years ago. Ghosh (2012) also points out that the most surprising thing is the dates are earlier than many scientists had expected while not the order of events. Recently, a group of scientists did a test which compared the genome of the western lowland gorilla and about 11000 of its key genes with humans, Homo sapiens and chimpanzees. The finding is that both before gorillas separated from the other apes and before gorillas themselves divided into two main groups, a comfortable amount of gene flow or inter-bleeding existed between slightly different genetic strains (ABC Science, 2012).

Gorilla and child
The study shows that humans are more similar to gorillas than previously thought

According to the most recent research in Cambridge, professors have figured out the genetic code of the gorilla. Now they can compare human DNA with that of all other apes or gorillas or chimpanzees. At the same time, scientists point out that researchers can now start to observe the relationships between apes. This is a great step in terms of uncovering genetic mutations. It is also hope that researchers will have greater knowledge about what happened in human’s evolution history and of how those genes affect the  brain and other properties that make us modern humans (Ghosh,2012). Another experiment was carried out by extracting genetic code from a female western lowland gorilla called Kamilah. By analysing that data, Jha (A, 2012) stated that something that is similar in genes involved in sensory understanding, hearing and brain development. Genes combined with proteins (which function is to strengthen the skin) were also especially vigorous in gorillas. It goes some way to explaining the it’s shape and size on gorillas' hands. The human being’s hearing genes’ speedy development was connected to the evolution of language. Kelland (K, 2012) indicates that hearing genes have grown in gorillas at a nearly same speed to those in humans.

gorilla baby
The first full genome analysis has revealed that 15% of gorillas' genetic makeup is closer between humans and gorillas than it is between humans and chimpanzees. Photograph: Luanne Cadd

However, it is very attention-worthy that gorilla is an endangered spice. Their numbers are decreasing significantly in this few decades due to human activities like hunting and city development and habitat loss. Researchers (ABC Science, 2012) states that “the study of the great apes or gorillas link to a time when the existence of human was more slender, as well as teaching about human evolution. These definitely highlighted the importance of protecting and conserving these remarkable species," 

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