Thursday, 8 October 2009

Well Well Well

We share 50% of our DNA with bananas…

It's true. Humans share 50% of their DNA with bananas. Apparently Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics at University College, London is credited with stating this information. Kind of freaky when you think about it. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is what makes us all different, but the difference between us and the next species or even a fruit isn't as significant as you would think.

However, according to Penn State University, a human DNA sequence, if it were a half an inch of a twine, would stretch from New York to the the west coast of California. That makes that 50% seem all the more distant when you think of the whole number/complexity that the percent refers to.

Other DNA facts you don't need to know:
- A parent and child share 99.5% of the same DNA.
- We share 40-50% of our DNA with cabbages.
- Humans share 98% of their DNA with chimpanzees.
- Every human on earth shares 99% of their DNA with every human.
- Identical twins share the exact same DNA - is 100% identical.
- We share 60% of our DNA with a fruit fly.
- Researchers at Cambridge University are convinced that the mud worms not only share DNA with humans but that they are also our closest invertabrae relatives.


A Heron's View said...

Hence then the expression about someone being a right old nana
is quite near the mark :-)

Simon Kelley said...

The fact that we share 50% of our DNA with bananas isn't so surprising really. Humans and bananas and all other multi-cellular creatures are really just big lumps of cells which have learned the trick of co-operating with each other. You can think of the cells which make up your body as a load of particularly clever bacteria which are all related to each other and conspire together to get more done than they would if they had just stayed as so much bacterial slime.

Once you see yourself and bananas as both being jumped-up bacteria, it's pretty easy to see which you should have so much DNA in common. It is bacteria which perfected all the really hard bits of being alive, and multi-cellular life just took all that "stuff" when it started being clever. Making energy, making proteins, reproduction, turning simple chemicals into clever biology, it's all done by bacteria and it's all done by human cells and banana cells too, in the same way that bacteria do it. The only unique bits are the bits to do with being a human (or a banana), all the basics are them same for every living thing.