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International Consortium Sequences Chimp Genome; Difference Might Tell What Makes Us Human

NEW YORK, Sept. 1 (GenomeWeb News) - An international consortium of researchers has sequenced the chimpanzee genome and compared it to the human genome.


The members of the Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium -- from the US, Germany, Italy, Israel, and Spain -- sequenced the genome of a single male chimpanzee, Clint, a captive-born descendent of chimps from the West Africa subspecies Pan troglodytes verus, using a whole-genome shotgun approach with 3.5-fold coverage.


Like the human genome, the chimp's DNA has about 3 billion nucleotides and approximately 20,000-25,000 protein-coding genes. Accounting for DNA insertions and deletions, humans and chimps share 96 percent of their DNA sequence. That directly comparable sequence is 99 percent identical, translating into 35 million single nucleotide substitutions.


Most of the sequencing and assembly work was performed at the Broad Institute, and the Washington University School of Medicine. The scientists published their genome draft sequence, which covers approximately 94 percent of the genome, and their analysis in today's Nature.


The researchers hope the chimp genome will tell them about what distinguishes Homo sapiens from the great apes, which will require more detailed analyses.