We have all become familiar with the use of DNA in forensics and paternity disputes. All humans share 99.9% of their genome in common, but that still leaves plenty room for variation.
Geneticists are able to study sections of DNA that identify an individual and their closest relatives. Mostly these genetic markers are found in our non-coding DNA such as the sections of code known as transposons.
One type of transposon is known as the ALU element. These tiny bits of parasitic code, just 300 base pairs long, don't code for anything they just hitch a free ride in the genome of all primates. Imagine highlighting 300 characters in a bit of computer code, pressing Ctrl+C, then clicking at a random place and holding down Ctrl+V. Sometimes called "jumping genes", ALU elements have done this so many times that they now make up 10% of the 3 billion letters in our genome.
Most of them are harmless but some land in the middle of important genes and are associated with diseases such as hemophilia, leukemia, breast cancer, heart disease and anemia.
Since ALU elements are found in all primates and since their location in the genome is random, they provide a perfect opportunity to study human relationships with other primates. If two identical ALU elements are found in analogous places in the genome of different species it would be evidence that they share a common ancestor.
The results of this work brilliantly confirmed the common ancestry of humans with other primates. Looking at just one gene, the alpha-globin cluster, seven separate ALU elements have been discovered. All seven of them are found in precisely the same location in the corresponding chimpanzee gene. This puts the evolutionary relationship between humans and chimpanzees beyond all reasonable doubt.
Anybody who rejects this evidence for human evolution ought to be consistent and refuse to serve on a jury where forensic evidence will be presented.
|Part 1 - Protein Functional Redundancy ------||Part 5 - Vitamin C|
|Part 2 - DNA Functional Redundancy||Part 6 - Human Chromosome 2|
|Part 3 - ERVs||Part 7 - Human Egg Yolk Gene|
|Part 4 - Smelly Genes|