Annalee Newitz, io9.com: It’s Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday [Feb. 12th], and we still don’t know why humans and chimps share 99 percent of their DNA, yet are such different animals. A new study published advances a weird new theory.
A group of researchers at the University of Washington have discovered that there is one area where human and ape DNA mutated very rapidly during the time that they were diverging on the evolutionary tree. Both species’ genomes mutated a great deal in areas where there are a lot of repeat sequences of DNA. Humans, like most creatures, have areas of their genome where the same chunk of genetic code is repeated once or several times.