Chimp and Human Y Chromosomes Proven Different

The chimp Y chromosome has now been fully sequenced, and the results are astounding.  A study in Nature reveals that the chimp Y chromosome is radically different than the human Y chromosome.   The chimp’s Y chromosome has only two-thirds the number of distinct genes/gene families, and 47% of the protein coding regions compared to its human counterpart.  Furthermore, more than 30% of the entire chimp Y chromosome has no counterpart in humans.   Even those segments that do have counterparts in the human Y chromosome are often located in different regions of the chromosome.  

One the lead researchers, David Page, told Nature News that “it looks like there’s been a dramatic renovation or reinvention of the Y  chromosome in the chimpanzee and human lineages.”Of course, this reinvention has to be explained in terms of common descent, so they speculate that the chimp Y chromosome experienced a loss of DNA, while humans experienced a gain.   The surprise of the scientists involved, however, demonstrates that this find is counter-intuitive to Darwinian expectations.

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