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Research Suggests Apes and Humans Separated By a Single Gene 243

Posted by timothy
from the nothing-between-me-and-calvins dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers believe that they have found the definitive difference between humans and other primates, and they think that the difference all comes down to a single gene."
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Research Suggests Apes and Humans Separated By a Single Gene

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @02:23PM (#42067839)

    Why don't you link to the original article [nature.com]?

  • Misleading summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fwipp (1473271) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @02:28PM (#42067879)

    TFA makes it clear that it was a difference in this gene that _started_ the divergence, between 6 and 1 million years ago. TFS makes it sound like flipping one gene would produce chimpanzees rather than humans.

  • Re:Uplift (Score:5, Informative)

    by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Thursday November 22, 2012 @02:29PM (#42067889) Homepage
    In case you don't get the parent post's literary allusion, he's talking about David Brin's Uplift series which starts with the novel Sundiver [amazon.com] . It's a science fiction work based on the idea that human intelligence is due to ancient interference by a mysterious alien race. I re-read it recently; enjoyable stuff and much less dated than one would expect.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @02:37PM (#42067965)

    Didn't realize that you were a man of the cloth.

    501? Man of the cloth? Are we talking about Levis?

  • by dissy (172727) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @02:48PM (#42068023)

    I'm still not sure. For something as complex as both of us, a single gene being able to toggle between humans and apes sounds a bit simple.

    Well yea, that's because you didn't read the article, and are ignoring all the many other genes that have been changed in the last 1-6 million years after this one first gene was changed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:10PM (#42068135)

    The scientific paper makes no such hyperboleus claim as to have found the gene that started the divergence.

    "Taken together, the unusual features of miR-941 evolution, as well as its potential association with functions linked to human longevity and cognition, suggest roles of miR-941 in the evolution of human-specific phenotypes. "

    This is the strongest general claim the authors have in the article. Both the summary and the linked article are extremely misleading.

  • Not a "single gene" (Score:5, Informative)

    by nomad-9 (1423689) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:38PM (#42068283)
    The article is crock. Scientists didn't pretend that "all the difference humans and apes comes down to a single gene", they stated that they discovered a new brain gene that is unique to humans .and they are hopeful to find more of the same to help explain what makes us who we are.

    They don''t even say that this gene was the "first" and sprang all the others. All they are saying is that it played a significant role in human evolution, and that it appeared from junk DNA after humans evolved from apes.

    Being unique to humans, and being the one and only single difference between humans and apes, are two different things. One is a scientific statement and the other is typical media sensationalist drivel.
  • by RDW (41497) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:43PM (#42068329)

    Most likely it's way too technical for today's /. average reader and editor.

    ...and probably because the conclusions of the paper have very little in common with the massively hyped version on medicaldaily.com. The original authors are much more cautious (and certainly don't claim that this is _the_ difference):

    "Taken together, the unusual features of miR-941 evolution, as well as its potential association with functions linked to human longevity and cognition, suggest roles of miR-941 in the evolution of human-specific phenotypes."

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:59PM (#42068423) Homepage Journal

    More than that, if they're right, then introducing that gene into other species should make them sentient?.

    No beacuse other ape species are sentient anyway.

  • by solanum (80810) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @05:11PM (#42068829)

    Why isn't this modded up? It's the single most useful post to this story. I've just read the actual Nature article as the submitted link was indeed horrible (with flash video auto-starting to boot), and it makes none of the claims that that the submitted article or the summary make. It is still rather interesting though.

  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @07:36PM (#42069799) Homepage
    "Sentient" merely means aware. A snail is sentient. The proper word is "sapient".

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