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← RDF TV - Nebraska Vignettes #3 - Comparing the Human and Chimpanzee Genomes

RDF TV - Nebraska Vignettes #3 - Comparing the Human and Chimpanzee Genomes - Comments

bentleyd's Avatar Comment 1 by bentleyd

These little video snippets should come in very handy for countering creationist fundies with their short attention spans. Thanks Richard and Josh!

Thu, 16 Jul 2009 12:41:00 UTC | #379797

mannylee's Avatar Comment 2 by mannylee

So we're just posh apes really. Thinking about it, we're not even posh

Thu, 16 Jul 2009 12:50:00 UTC | #379801

Primate's Avatar Comment 3 by Primate

I wish he had compared their anatomy, too. A human and chimp skeleton side-by-side are nearly identical, save for scale and posture. The side-by-side comparison, I think, is more visually impacting than letter comparison in gene sequences. It's just that this video, as non-technical as it is, may still fly over the heads of people who need it the most.

Thu, 16 Jul 2009 12:56:00 UTC | #379806

Bruno's Avatar Comment 4 by Bruno

Would be nice to see an explanation of chromosome #2 within the human genome. I have seen the video of Ken Miller discussing chromosome #2, but seeing Dawkins do it in even a more concise way would be valuable.

Thu, 16 Jul 2009 12:57:00 UTC | #379808

the archangel's Avatar Comment 5 by the archangel

These videos are awesome. I hope they keep coming.

Thu, 16 Jul 2009 13:31:00 UTC | #379830

mattincinci's Avatar Comment 6 by mattincinci

excellnt video ...if you liked the video make a donation to the Richard Dawkins Foundation

Thu, 16 Jul 2009 13:33:00 UTC | #379831

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 7 by the great teapot

Looks quite good from what I've seen so far.
I'll watch the second half tomorrow.:)
Happy Lunavesary everyone.

Thu, 16 Jul 2009 13:39:00 UTC | #379833

Deek's Avatar Comment 8 by Deek

These really are superb. I've always thought that real genius is clarifying the complex.
Just compare these little gems with the tortured doublespeak of creationists or theologists.
I'd urge the foundation to get these out to the widest possible audience. I confess I don't know how but I'm sure the good people here are loaded with ideas.
Perhaps the Beeb would be interested? a little visual equivalent of "thought for the day"?

Thu, 16 Jul 2009 13:42:00 UTC | #379837

Mango's Avatar Comment 9 by Mango

The link to download doesn't work. [Sorry, just fixed it. - Josh]

Thu, 16 Jul 2009 14:13:00 UTC | #379855

gyokusai's Avatar Comment 10 by gyokusai

I love this series. Its snack size comes in handy if you don't have much time, they're well thought-out, and beautifully executed by Josh. Richard's just lovely, and I'm not exactly missing any well-worn interview questions (not to speak of live callers).


Thu, 16 Jul 2009 14:14:00 UTC | #379856

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 11 by mordacious1

Where's Paabo?

Do they have the evil twin Paabo in the black and yellow shirt?

Thu, 16 Jul 2009 14:49:00 UTC | #379863

BweWeston's Avatar Comment 12 by BweWeston

Really enjoying these small videos thankyou.

I poked around a little and found a link to this on Paabo's website.

The animation is a little clunky (being my profession I feel it's ok to comment >.<) but i found it interesting as someone not knowing too much about the subject.

Thu, 16 Jul 2009 16:04:00 UTC | #379870

Pluvialis's Avatar Comment 14 by Pluvialis

Maybe this is completely dense of me, but for the life of me I don't how you can write out the human genome like that when obviously two people are going to have As, Ts, Cs and Gs non-matching in one or two places unless they're twins.

So...what, do scientists know precisely which As, Ts, Cs and Gs never change from one human to the next? Are they sure? When you see, say, 5% (or whatever the number is) of the letters in a chimpanzee's genome are different from a human's, how do you get from that observation to a general statement like "there are 5% (or whatever the number is) genes that distinguish chimpanzees from humans".

Confused :/

Thu, 16 Jul 2009 17:26:00 UTC | #379880

AverageSwede's Avatar Comment 15 by AverageSwede

Svante Pääbo was recently in the news on the topic of Neandertal genome too. I'd love to see Richard interview him.

Thu, 16 Jul 2009 18:58:00 UTC | #379886

shekar raghavan's Avatar Comment 16 by shekar raghavan

How much do the genomes differ? Before the human genome project, we were thought to match with chimps 98%, but now I understand the gap is bigger.

Thu, 16 Jul 2009 20:00:00 UTC | #379893

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 17 by Richard Dawkins

Maybe this is completely dense of me, but for the life of me I don't how you can write out the human genome like that when obviously two people are going to have As, Ts, Cs and Gs non-matching in one or two places unless they're twins.
You are right, I should have explained better, you are entirely right to be confused by this. Let me try to say what I should have said in the filmed vignette.

If we were to lay out the genomes of two individuals in the same way, say yours and mine, we would again see huge lengths of identical DNA sequences, plus a few little Paabo icons to indicate differences. But the Paabos would be EVEN RARER than when we lay out the genomes of a human and a chimp. When scientists work on 'the' human genome, they either choose the genome of one particular individual (such as Dr Craig Venter himself) or they work on a mixture of, say, 150 individuals and take a statistical average in those few DNA slots where there are differences. The number of differences between a pair of humans is just much less than the number of differences between a human and a chimp.


Thu, 16 Jul 2009 21:09:00 UTC | #379906

natselrox's Avatar Comment 18 by natselrox

Wouldn't the video have been much better if showed more clearly the 'littleness' of the difference? Just a thought.
Nevertheless, keep up the good work.

Thu, 16 Jul 2009 21:52:00 UTC | #379912

Follow Peter Egan's Avatar Comment 19 by Follow Peter Egan

Extremely useful vignette. I'm going to forward the link to a few people I know who've shown an interest in this but don't know too much about it yet.

Thu, 16 Jul 2009 23:58:00 UTC | #379925

Pluvialis's Avatar Comment 20 by Pluvialis

Comment #397299 by Richard Dawkins

Thanks for the clarification! I get the picture now.

Fri, 17 Jul 2009 00:42:00 UTC | #379933

markystar's Avatar Comment 21 by markystar

i've been a long time fan and lurker on this site (i get daily updates via RSS, well, daily... lol). and i finally registered and can comment. so hello to all the faces i already know and after some time, hopefully you'll get to know me.

i was really excited about this series, especially in light of richard's new book "the greatest show on earth" (terrifically accurate title, by the way).

as a long time atheist (but a passive one), i'm more and more inspired to become more activist (because of sam harris, richard, christopher hitchens and pz myers). anyways, the whalesâ†\'rhinos episode was brilliant.

in this episode i was left with a cliffhanger.
the chart was interesting, but i feel it would be unconvincing (to a fence-sitting creationist).

like in the concise whale-rhino episode, i would have liked to have seen more of the diachronic changes of these animals after their separation from the common ancestor.

anyways, this is a brilliant series and nothing will keep me away from this site!!! :)

Fri, 17 Jul 2009 08:14:00 UTC | #380109

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 22 by Jos Gibbons

Comment #397502 by markystar

Glad to have you. It's a hippo, by the way, not a rhino. As for human/chimp intermediates, unfortunately we would be limited to the human side of the lineage, since chimpanzees' post-split ancestors lived in Africa, where fossils simply haven't formed. I know - weird.

Fri, 17 Jul 2009 08:39:00 UTC | #380115

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 23 by rod-the-farmer

Great stuff. If I might make a small suggestion, I would ask that we have a link to a video that shows how these DNA sequences are found. One can easily imagine the die-hard creationist saying "I don't know where you get all that DNA stuff, I just know I am not related to monkeys".

It would be nice to show how we get the DNA sequencing, and mention the latest technology (see Dawkins/Venter tour video) that enables us to generate DNA sequences for individuals in a few hours.

I also think it would be good for someone who is willing to do the swab thing for Spencer Wells, get their own DNA, and then publish it right here so we can all see what sorts of things are revealed. I' would be willing, I just am a bit short of cash to pay for it at the moment.

Fri, 17 Jul 2009 12:18:00 UTC | #380168

locutus7's Avatar Comment 24 by locutus7

Very good video. My suggestions run along lines similar to above posters:

1. give some sort of sense in overall percentage of difference between chimp and man (say 97% similar, for example).

2. And, use a phenotypic example to show the meaning of a particular difference: example: "here the chimp has a cluster of AAT instead of ATA, and that means he will have a smaller frontal cortex."

As a non-biologist, that would be helpful.

Fri, 17 Jul 2009 12:59:00 UTC | #380179

ricklend's Avatar Comment 25 by ricklend

I don't see how one could explain evolution and the makeup of the human genome any better or simpler than Dr. Dawkins does. He seems to have a passion for making sure his explanations are understood by all those who are interested in what he has to say.

Fri, 17 Jul 2009 13:00:00 UTC | #380180

Sciros's Avatar Comment 26 by Sciros

2. And, use a phenotypic example to show the meaning of a particular difference: example: "here the chimp has a cluster of AAT instead of ATA, and that means he will have a smaller frontal cortex."
I was under the impression that we're not quite there yet in terms of research. Maybe for some DNA sequences we can draw reliable correlations to phenotype, but I don't think it's very many right now.

Fri, 17 Jul 2009 13:05:00 UTC | #380183

Gregg Townsend's Avatar Comment 27 by Gregg Townsend

21. Comment #397502 by markystar

Welcome and well met!

Fri, 17 Jul 2009 13:11:00 UTC | #380187

Bernd_M.'s Avatar Comment 28 by Bernd_M.

Thank you very much for this video....
I would like to have a carpet of those genom-sequences at home :)

Fri, 17 Jul 2009 13:19:00 UTC | #380194

ridelo's Avatar Comment 29 by ridelo

Surprised that we do weird things from time to time?

Fri, 17 Jul 2009 13:43:00 UTC | #380198

HappyPrimate's Avatar Comment 30 by HappyPrimate

First time I ever saw chimps at the zoo, at about age 4, it was obvious to me that we were very much more alike than different. Maybe that helped me fully accept the concept of evolution when I later learned about it.

Liked the video very much but was sorry Richard omitted to explain more fully about the comparison method. I am sure he explains things far better in his new book which I am anxiously awaiting.

A hardy welcome to Markystar.

Fri, 17 Jul 2009 15:58:00 UTC | #380223