DNA survey finds all humans are 99.9 percent the same. What do you think about this statement? Are humans genetically similar? Read the article to know more.
Whether you hail from South America, Ulan Bator or Nairobi, your genetic makeup is strikingly similar to that of every other person on Earth. An analysis concludes today that humans are genetically similar to each other.
READ ALSO: How genetics works?
Humans are genetically similar to each other
Although scientists have long recognized that, despite physical differences, all human populations are genetically similar. The new researchers found out that populations from different parts of the world share even more genetic similarities than previously assumed.
All humans are 99.9 percent similar and, of that small 0.1 percent difference, 94 percent of the variation is among individuals from the same populations and only six percent of individuals from different populations.
Nonetheless, the team found that tiny differences in DNA can provide enough information to identify the geographic ancestry of individual men and women.
The results of the study, published today in the journal Science, have implications for understanding ancient human migrations and for resolving an ongoing debate about the use of family histories in medical research.
How similar are humans genetically
The team analyzed DNA from 1,056 people from 52 populations in five major geographic regions of the world: Africa, Eurasia (Europe, the Middle East, Central and South Asia), East Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
In order to identify distinct populations the research team looked for 377 "microsatellites" - short segments of human DNA that occur in specific patterns, which are passed down from generation to generation.
Each microsatellite had between four and 32 distinct types. Most were found in people from several continents, suggesting that only a tiny fraction of genetic traits are distinctive to specific populations. It means that visible differences between human groups - such as skin color and skull shape - result from differences in a tiny proportion of genetic traits.
Using powerful statistical techniques that use many independent genes, it was possible to pinpoint the old continent of virtually every individual from Africa, East Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
People from Eurasia - which includes Europe, the Middle East, and Central/South Asia - were among the most difficult to assign ancestries, Prof Feldman noted, due to a "complex history of migrations, conquests and trade over the past few thousand years.
- READ ALSO: How genetics works?