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Geneticists go ape for better primate family tree

The first gorilla genome and a more detailed look at chimp genetics provide new clues to evolution of humans and their closest relatives

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6:27pm, March 15, 2012

Reading the genetic instruction books of gorillas and chimpanzees has provided more insight into what sets humans apart from their closest primate relatives. The two new studies also provide details about how these primate species may have evolved.

Comparing a newly compiled genetic blueprint, or genome, of a western lowland gorilla named Kamilah with the genomes of humans and chimpanzees has revealed that the three species didn’t make a clean break when splitting from a common ancestor millions of years ago. Although humans are more closely related to chimps over about 70 percent of the human genome, about 15 percent of the human genome bears a closer relationship to gorillas. An international group of resear

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