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 (15)
  • michaelm1-ver
    1/08/2016 - 02:59 p.m.

    This reminds me of Jurassic Park. It'd be cool if could actually create a hybrid though.

  • kieranw-3-bar
    1/08/2016 - 04:12 p.m.

    We are not able to engineer a chimp into a human because we may share similar DNA but that does not make us identical. We share many differences. I find this article very cool because it informs us readers about how closely related we are to bananas ans chimps.

  • landonp-
    1/11/2016 - 02:34 p.m.

    We can't do it because our DNA isn't exactly 98 percent identical. We also don't have the equipment yet.That is why we can't do it.

  • kailyns-bru
    1/11/2016 - 02:51 p.m.

    In the article, "Can you genetically engineer a chimp to make a human?" The article states, "Though we have 98% of the same DNA, that does not make us 98% identical." Bananas have mostly the same DNA as us and they look very different. If we were to modify a chimp we would look the same but we would evolve differently.

  • caitlynk-2-bar
    1/12/2016 - 12:33 a.m.

    We can not genetically engineer a chimp to make human because, as stated in the text,"(...)even though we have 98 percent of the same DNA, it doesn't mean we're 98 percent identical.(...) DNA is basically a set of chemical instructions, which tell cells how to make proteins that in turn make us." This quote tells the reader that we share a lot of the same proteins as monkeys, but we are not 98% the same. This article was interesting because it explained that we were made up of many of the same things as monkeys. this article was surprising because it shared that humans were 50% of the same DNA as banana.

  • landonp-
    1/12/2016 - 02:30 p.m.

    We can't do it for a couple of reasons. We can't do it because we don't have the equipment for it. We also don't do it because we don't have similar DNA.

  • wesw2-
    1/12/2016 - 09:59 p.m.

    This article is related to science because its talking about how scientist can collect the DNA and try to make a human hybrid from a chimp

  • carsonk-2-bar
    1/13/2016 - 04:14 p.m.

    We aren't able to engineer a chimp to make a human because we have similar DNA except we aren't exactly identical. "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 article surprised me because I didn't know that there was that many similarities of DNA. This article is very interesting because I thought it was cool that were almost identical to chimps.

  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    1/13/2016 - 07:32 p.m.

    I have always thought that we could genetically engineer a chimpanzee-human. Now that I read this, it is not possible since we do not have identical DNA information. There are a lot of things that make us different from chimpanzees. They are stronger but they cannot throw things. The fact that we share 98% of the same DNA is cool.
    Why can't we genetically engineer a chimp to make a human?
    Answer: We cannot genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because our DNA are not identical.

  • davidd-4-bar
    1/13/2016 - 11:14 p.m.

    We can't genetically engineer a chimp to make a human because "even though we have 98 percent of the same DNA, it doesn't mean we're 98 percent identical." paragraph-3.
    Those "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." paragraph-6. So "even if we wanted to, it doesn't mean we can" paragraph-2. Something I found that was very interesting to me is that we share 50% percent of the same DNA as a banana but we don't look anything like a banana.

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