Rather than only being what makes us all different, DNA also shows how similar people and all life on Earth are, writes 23andMe's Anne Wojcicki in an essay at the New York Times. The essay is part of a philosophical series exploring what it means to be human.
Wojcicki recalls becoming fascinated by genetics at an early age and says she was always awed by "simplicity and commonality of life."
The diversity of life on Earth, she notes, is just made up of different combinations of adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine. There's only a 0.5 percent difference in the DNA of any two people and only slightly larger differences between a person and a chimpanzee or even a banana, she adds. Much, she says, is shared.
But what makes humans different, she writes, is "our ability to think and advance."
"As we pioneer we have a responsibility — a moral imperative — to not only understand the effect we are having on this world but also to step up and own that responsibility," Wojcicki adds. "I like to think that is what makes me human."