Fun Genetics Fact: Humans And Chimps More Alike Than Cats And Lions

Just some fun playing with data sets today. As seen below, by using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) similarity, you can see how many differences there are between species. As it turns out, we’re more closely related to Chimpanzees than our cats are to lions. You might need to click on the image to enlarge it enough to read properly.

It’s also worth mentioning that all this data is freely available in the NCBI nucleotide database. Also, anyone can compare sequences with their BLAST program (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool) for free. It can be pretty cool to wander around the data and compare sequences to see what exactly makes a lion so different from a house cat. The amount of free data and tools available is pretty amazing!

The other tool I used to get data for the above image is Onezoom.org. This is another amazing free tool that anyone can use to wander around the tree of life. It’s super easy to use and visually appealing too. Primary sources for all their data are also properly referenced, which makes doing any deeper research really simple.

Maybe I’ll do explanations of how great NCBI and Onezoom are another time, but for now, enjoy today’s fun genetics fact.

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