Can you genetically engineer a chimp to make a human? (Thinkstock)
Can you genetically engineer a chimp to make a human?
Lexile

You asked us, "If we share 98 percent of the same DNA with chimpanzees, could you genetically engineer the rest to make it into a human?"
 
Okay, Dr. Moreau, settle down, we're not making any human-animal hybrids around here, and even if we wanted to, it doesn't mean we can.
 
See, the important thing to realize is, even though we have 98 percent of the same DNA, it doesn't mean we're 98 percent identical.
 
Look at a banana, which shares about 50 percent of the same DNA as humans - and you'd never confuse one for the other.
 
DNA is basically a set of chemical instructions, which tell cells how to make proteins that in turn make us. Little differences in the instructions can make big differences in not just how separate species turn out, but even how members of the same species turn out.
 
So yes, since humans and chimps share a common ancestor, of course we share a lot of the same DNA instructions - instructions for things like opposable thumbs, no tail, or relying on sight more than smell, not to mention the many, many characteristics we share with all mammals.
 
We also have big differences. Pound for pound, chimps are stronger, but they can't throw as well. They can communicate simple ideas, but they don't really get pointing. They make tools out of sticks and we make tools that can sequence DNA.
 
But hopefully, we'll never make a tool to create a human-chimp hybrid. Because both species are remarkable enough on their own.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why can't we genetically engineer a chimp to make a human?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (33)
  • TehyaWhite-Ste
    1/08/2016 - 10:20 p.m.

    We can't genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because even though are DNA is 98% similar, it doesn't mean we are identical and even genetic modification won't change our drastic differences.

  • ethanw-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:14 p.m.

    We cant genetically make a chimp a human because we have different dna.

  • lucasp-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:17 p.m.

    We can't genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because even though are DNA is 98% similar, it doesn't mean we are identical and even genetic modification won't change our drastic differences

  • coled-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:18 p.m.

    CTQ: We can't genetically engineer a chimp into a human because sharing 98% DNA or genetics doesn't mean we can just craft a human. We would need the same skeletal structure, and many other things.

  • lances-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:19 p.m.

    we can't genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because were not the same even though we are 98%.

  • johnj-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:19 p.m.

    We can't genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because even tho our DNA is 98% similar doesnt mean we can replicate it.

  • mattv-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:20 p.m.

    We cannot genetically engineer a chimp to make a human due to a few distinct factors like body size, hair growth and speech. Despite having 98% the same DNA, we couldn't teach it to speak, stop growing full-body hair and force it to grow a bigger body.

  • elizabetht-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:20 p.m.

    We cannot genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because even though we shared 98% of the same DNA does not mean that we are identical in our genetic makeup and genetically modifying DNA wouldn't really make any large changes.

  • calaabj-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:20 p.m.

    We cant genetically engineer a chimp man because of a set of chemical instruction even though there a similarities there are way more differences.

  • kolbyd-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:21 p.m.

    We cant genetically engineer a chimp because while w share 98 percent of the same dna it doesn't mean we are 98 percent identical.

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