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)
  • courtneyh-1-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:22 p.m.

    We can't genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because they can communicate simple ideas, but they really don't get pointing. they make tools out of sticks,we make tools that can sequence DNA.

  • garretta-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:22 p.m.

    We can't genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because even though we share 98% of the same DNA we are hardly alike at all.

  • austing-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:23 p.m.

    We can't genetically engineer a chimp to make it human because even though we have 98% the same DNA it doesn't mean we are identical.

  • victoriae-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:24 p.m.

    We can't genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because even though we have 98% of the same DNA, doesn't mean they are identical.

  • ethany-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:24 p.m.

    We can't genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because we have 98% of the same DNA but we are not identical.

  • audreya-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:24 p.m.

    We cant genetically engineer a chimp make a human because they'll never make a tool to create a human-chimp hybrid and both species are remarkable enough on their own.

  • callans-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:24 p.m.

    We can't genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because we are not the same. Even thought we have 98% of the same DNA, that doesn't mean we are the same. It just simply means that we do the same things the same way.

  • austina-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:24 p.m.

    We cant genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because even though we have 98% of the same DNA, were not 98% identical.

  • brooklynf-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:24 p.m.

    We can't genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because chimps make tools out of sticks, but humans make manmade tools. 50 percent of our DNA is the same, they would be making the same thing but in a different way.

  • jacih-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:25 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.

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