Feeds

Men more different from chimps than women, say boffins

if you have any poo, fling it now - ladies

3 Big data security analytics techniques

In genetic terms, as everyone but religious extremists acknowledges, human beings are in general very similar indeed to chimpanzees. However, scientists have now discovered that the Y chromosomes - found only in the males - of the two species are extremely dissimilar.

The new study is reported this week in hefty boffinry mag Nature, covering a study by David Page of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, America, and his colleagues.

According to the boffins' analysis, most parts of the human and chimp (Pan troglodytes) genome are very similar, differing by "less than one per cent" in gene number. But the human male's Y chromosome is hugely more complex than that of our remote arboreal cousins.

The chimp Y chromosome has only two-thirds as many distinct genes or gene families as the human Y chromosome and only 47% as many protein-coding elements.

The massive divergence between the relatively basic chimp male chromosome and the complex, information-packed one found in men is theorised to be the result of rapid evolution taking place over the six to seven million years since humanity's remote ancestors split off from those of chimps.

"If you're marching along the human chromosome 21, you might as well be marching along the chimp chromosome 21. It's like an unbroken piece of glass," Page tells Nature. "But the relationship between the human and chimp Y chromosomes has been blown to pieces."

What this means, of course, is that women are in fact much closer genetically to being chimps than men are. Some have even interpreted the research to mean that men are "more evolved" than women, having left their heritage as apes further behind than the ladies.

Technically speaking this is correct, but Page and his colleagues caution that most of the rapid changes taking place in men haven't involved anything that modern civilisation would necessarily regard as evidence of superiority: the shift from poo-flinging to speech and writing as means of expressing oneself, for instance, is unrelated to the Y chromosome.

What the Y chromosome is mainly about, seemingly, is spunkiness.

"When we sequenced the chimp genome people thought we'd understand why we have language and write poetry," says Page. "But one of the most dramatic differences turns out to be sperm production." ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
So, just how do you say 'the mutt's nuts' in French?
Vital linguistic question interrupts LOHAN spaceplane mission
95 floors in 43 SECONDS: Hitachi's new ultra-high-speed lift
Guangzhou skyscraper denizens to hold on to hats
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
STEALTHY NANOROBOTS dress up as viruses, prepare to sneak into YOUR BODY
Cloaking techniques nicked from viruses tackle roadblocks on way to medical frontier
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.