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Research Suggests Apes and Humans Separated By a Single Gene 243

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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  • Uh huh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by ( 245670 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:17PM (#42067799)

    And some are separated by less.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I was gonna says it's the Hy-gene, but're right.
      Damn smelly geeks

    • Re:Uh huh. (Score:5, Funny)

      by H0p313ss ( 811249 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:56PM (#42068065)


    • Re:Uh huh. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by war4peace ( 1628283 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @04:29PM (#42068229)

      After watching human beings for over 3 decades, that gene is rare. Very rare.

    • In some cases, they are separated by a few micrometers of rubber.
  • Uplift (Score:5, Funny)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:21PM (#42067825) Homepage

    If this is indeed true, you know somebody is going to try it.

    (Although the reverse experiment has apparently been done, a casual perusal of C-span makes that obvious.)

    • Re: Uplift (Score:5, Funny)

      by Dupple ( 1016592 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:25PM (#42067857)

      Well, I'll be a monkeys uncle!

    • Re:Uplift (Score:5, Informative)

      by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:29PM (#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 [] . 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.
      • Re:Uplift (Score:5, Interesting)

        by H0p313ss ( 811249 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @04:02PM (#42068087)

        It's a science fiction work based on the idea that human intelligence is due to ancient interference by a mysterious alien race

        Actually it's not that clear, in the series Humanity is often referred to as a "wolfling" species. It is unclear to all players on the Galactic scene if there was an unknown "uplifter" or Humanity is one of the rare exceptions in the Galaxy.

        This uncertainty always seemed like an allusion to human religious belief, most alien species are so convinced that it is actually impossible for a species to attain sapience without intervention that they'll even go to war over it. Intelligent Design anyone?

        Note that I am not suggesting that Brin is promoting intelligent design, I'm pointing out that most of the aliens in the series are as delusional as the religious types who refuse to accept the universe for what it is beyond their very narrow beliefs.

    • Well, the way the article says it, it rather gives in to the notion that the mutation isn't accidental and was both rather recent and abrupt.

      I have already read some theories into the idea that humans are genetically modified apes. That the mysteries of how the ancient Babylonian culture and languages seemed to appear from nothing into a fully complex form has left many very confused about how it all came about. That we are all the product of a "Stargate" style alien race who needed slave laborers doesn't

      • Several things. First, Babylon didn't come from nothing. We have lots of prehistoric evidence of gradually increasing levels of civilisation (stone age, bronze age, iron age, and so on). Second, it doesn't seem too far fetched to assume that a writing system is either a product of, or a stimulator for, a large number of other social developments. To have writing, you need to have people who can dedicate enough of their lives to learning how to read and write, which means at least a degree of agriculture

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:23PM (#42067839)

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

    • Why don't you link to the original article []?

      Thanks AC, the original link was quite horrible.

  • by igaborf ( 69869 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:24PM (#42067851)
    We should be serving bananas for Thanksgiving!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:27PM (#42067877)

    a group of baboons is called a Congress...

  • Misleading summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fwipp ( 1473271 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:28PM (#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.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @04:10PM (#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.

      • by HiThere ( 15173 )

        While the don't claim it started the human divergence, they do leave it wide open to interpret as being the reason we grew large brains. Quite possibly the divergence had already happened, but the timing is about right for the gene to have appeared in Homo erectus. Or perhaps a bit earlier. That was not a species with a large brain. Perhaps other mutations were required to allow the skull size to expand.

        Caution: I am not an anthropoligist.

    • I was thinking something similar. That separation is always expected to star by a single gene.
      This is like surprising at realizing that two branches of a tree are separated at the beginning by a single micron.
  • From TFA:

    ...The gene is highly active in the regions of the brain that control language learning and decision making, indicating that it may play a significant role in the higher brain functions that make humans, well, human.

    Recalling my experience when trying to socialize with people so far, I believe this gene in a significant proportion of humanity works only partially...
  • ... what GMO food they eat....

  • Gene Simmons they're talking about....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @04:11PM (#42068141)

    I always wonder at the first human to appear.

    Looking terribly odd. No-one to talk to. Nothing to read. Nowhere to shop.

    How bleak.

  • It's the genetic drive to buy useless shit you don't really need. Humans that lack this drive are actually less evolved but better at handling their own money.
  • Not a "single gene" (Score:5, Informative)

    by nomad-9 ( 1423689 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @04:38PM (#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 PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @04:53PM (#42068393)

    ... its even one gene.

    I'll give it some more thought after the NFL games are over today.

  • I suppose this is the equivalent of flinging poop at y'all...

    I wonder how long it will be before someone tries splicing this into a chimp or great ape genome and see what happens... :-)

  • I'm shocked that humans aren't considered apes.

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      Humans are considered primates, simians, hominidae (great apes) and of the genus homo which in itself has ~15 species (most extinct, homo sapiens sapiens being the only extant species in "modern times" - the last roughly 100,000 years). For the first half of our species existence we had about 5 other species (the 3 major erectus, neanderthal and rhodesiensis) of the genus homo to contend with which we potentially/intermittently/allegedly interbred with and eventually caused them to be non extant.

      Although re

  • So, since genes come in pairs, this is about a pair of genes? As I always suspected, the real difference is in the trouser department, then.

  • Humans did not evolved from monkeys. Humans are just of of the many kinds of monkeys.

    It is just a monkey that learned to put down thoughts on papyrus, clay tablets, papers, electronic display. etc.

    This is it. It is the state of the science on this.

"Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context."