MadSci Network: Genetics

Re: Which animals are genetically closest to genetically distant from humans?

Date: Sun Feb 20 13:17:46 2005
Posted By: Michael S. Robeson II, PhD Student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Dept.
Area of science: Genetics
ID: 1108225122.Ge

I assume you want to know the relationships of the closest primates to humans? In that case I will keep the discussion to that of primates and their ancestors. The first human ancestors broke away from the great apes about 8 million years ago according to the fossil record. So, the closest relatives we have today are the great apes. There has been controversy early on and still to some degree, as to which of the great apes is the closest relative of humans. Recent molecular evidence (i.e. based on comparing specific sets of DNA sequences) suggests that Chimpanzees are the closest relative to humans. Gorillas are the next closest relative followed by Orangutans and then Gibbons. Following this are the smaller primate relatives like mokeys, tarsiers, and lemurs etc... I have provided below a list of references which should take you much further. One of the references actually shows you the "genetic distance" of many of the closely related primates. Also explore the tree of life links below. The tree of life links are provided at ever narrowing levels up to the primate realtionships - so follow the links in order or search around yourself! :-) -Enjoy! -Mike Robeson References: biology/scarr/Phylogeny_of_Primata.htm http:// primegendist.html Tree of Life Links: Main Site: phylogeny.html Amniotes: group=Amniota&contgroup=Terrestrial_Vertebrates Mammels: group=Mammalia Placental Mammels: http:// Primates: tree?group=Primates&contgroup=Eutheria Wen-Hsiung Li (1997) "Molecular Evolution" pages 149-155, Sinauer Associates Inc., Sunderland Massachusetts 01375 USA

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