Genetically speaking we’re all chicken, banana too

In terms of genes, we’re similar to several other living things as well.

Written by Arun Prashanth Subramanian | Published:November 8, 2016 10:57 am
genes, genetics, rajnath singh, genetic similarities, health news, indian express, Research shows that we share about 60% of our DNA with the humble fruit. (File Photo)

Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said the opposition to cow slaughter was “not linked to only faith and culture, but has economic, historical and scientific aspects”. According to a “report of the US Department of Agriculture”, 80% of genes found in the cow are found in humans too, he said. Indeed, a 2009 report in the journal Science said domesticated cattle share about 80% of their genes with humans — however, as other studies have shown, seen in terms of genes, we’re similar to several other living things as well. A few examples.

96% Chimpanzee
A 2005 study by the Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium, and published in Nature, found that the typical human protein has accumulated just one unique change since chimps and humans diverged from a common ancestor about 6 million years ago.

90% Cat
A 2007 study published in Genome Research reported that about 90% of the Abyssinian domestic cat’s genes are the same as humans’. Cats help in the study of human infectious diseases; feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a genetic relative of HIV.

85% Mouse
The National Human Genome Research Institute states that rats share nearly 85% of human DNA — a similarity attributable to a shared ancestor about 80 million years ago, and the basis for use of mice in lab experiments.

84% Dog
The best friend shares 84% of its DNA with man — and is, therefore, important in the study of human disease. Researchers are especially interested in diseases like retinal disease, cataracts, retinitis pigmentosa, cancer and epilepsy.

70% Acorn worm
It is not just land animals that humans share their DNA with. As per a study published in Nature in 2015, in terms of genetic makeup, we are 70% similar to acorn worms — a kind of slithery, underwater critter.

61% Chicken
Even the bravest human is (more than half) chicken, genetically speaking. A study published in Nature in 2004 said that the DNA sequences diverged in ways that may explain important differences between birds and mammals.

60% Banana
As humans are chicken, they’re bananas too, it would seem. Research shows that we share about 60% of our DNA with the humble fruit.

26% Yeast
These single-celled organisms have many genes that are the same as those in humans, including those that enable the breakdown of sugars.

We’re all the same, almost

99.9 % No two individuals, except for identical twins, are genetically identical, but our differences are in fact only 0.1% of the entire human genome. According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, we each have approximately 3×109 base pairs of DNA, of which any two people have about 6×106 different base pairs, which translates into a difference of 0.1%. It adds that this minuscule unique DNA, plus the interaction of genetic and environmental factors, is what leads to our different phenotypic features.