Goodman, Morris Department of Anatomy, Wayne State University College, Detroit, Michigan.
Last reviewed:January 2020
- DNA data
- Primate phylogeny
- Rates of molecular evolution
- Ongoing evolution
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The study of primate phylogeny and human evolution through the genetic information in the DNA of genomes and in the proteins that genes encode. The first studies in molecular anthropology used immunological and biochemical methods to obtain information from proteins on the degrees of genetic similarity of humans and other primates. These results not only placed chimpanzees and gorillas closest to humans rather than to orangutans, but also indicated that the very close kinship between chimpanzees and gorillas was not any closer than the kinship of each to humans. Subsequent studies that extracted genetic information directly from DNA extended this original finding. Indeed, the accumulating comparative DNA sequence data provide extensive, commanding evidence that the closest genetic kinship is between chimpanzees and humans rather than between chimpanzees and gorillas.
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