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Are chimps our second cousins?

October 2005

The mapping of the complete chimpanzee genome, announced recently, has raised again the question of man’s relationship to other primates. Man and chimp share 99% of their functional genes and 96% of their overall genome (total genetic material).

This only confirms something that has been known for decades — that human and chimp DNA sequences are very similar indeed.

However, man has around 3 billion genetic-code ‘letters’ that spell out his total genome, so even a 4% overall difference means there are still 40 million genetic differences between man and chimp. This is ten times greater than the genetic variations that occur among human beings.

But even more important is the fact that the way genes are ‘expressed’ (how they are switched on and off) can have a profound effect on the characteristics of a living creature. Identical genes do not necessarily play the same role or produce the same effects in different organisms.

Perhaps this is why the recent announcement was rather low-key. Normally when something of this nature is publicised the media trumpet it as further ‘proof’ that man evolved from apes. But not this time round. Why not?

Ironically, the demonstration that chimp and human genomes are almost the same actually sets back the cause of evolution because it means that differences between species cannot, after all, be simply explained by genetic mutations — as required by current neo-Darwinian theory.

It is beginning to dawn on people that evolutionary mechanisms still cannot explain the mystery of what one famous evolutionist called ‘the biological uniqueness of man’. Only the Bible, with its doctrine of special creation, can provide a logical and self-consistent answer to that mystery.