Can you genetically engineer a chimp to make a human? (Thinkstock)
Can you genetically engineer a chimp to make a human?
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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)
  • hannaha-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:25 p.m.

    We can't genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because our DNA isn't all the same. In the passage it says "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." This proves that you can't do that.

  • mimir-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:25 p.m.

    We cannot genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because even though we share 98% of the same DNA they are not identical.

  • hollyk-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:26 p.m.

    We can't genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because 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.

  • avereyd-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:26 p.m.

    We can't genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because we aren't 98% identical, our DNA is which means its genetically impossible to make drastic changes.

  • brooklynk-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:26 p.m.

    We can't genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because even though we share 98 percent of the same DNA, that doesn't mean that we look or act the same. DNA gives us some of the same traits, but we also have differences, making it impossible to make a chimp into a human.

  • ethanb-1-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:26 p.m.

    We cannot genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because we cannot identical change a chimp from ape to human even though we have 98% DNA match.

  • donovanl-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:27 p.m.

    We can't genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because even though we share 98 percent of the same DNA we are very different in ways.

  • helenaw-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:28 p.m.

    We can't genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because even though we share a large percent of DNA it doesn't mean we are identical, DNA is just instructions for how to make proteins and little differences in the instructions can make huge differences in the outcome.

  • connorh-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:28 p.m.

    We can't genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because just because we have 98% of the same DNA doesn't mean we are exactly the same. There are some things alike but we still are different in many ways.

  • haleyd1-fel
    2/04/2016 - 02:28 p.m.

    The reason we cant genetically engineer a chimp to make a human is because even though our DNA is very similar Genetic modification couldn't even change our drastic differences.

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