Genetic Comparison to Humans

Humans and baboons are very similar. In fact, humans share about 94% of their DNA with baboons and some are used to study human diseases.


Although 94% is quite a lot of shared DNA, there are many differences. That

9% difference could contain millions or even billions of base pair alterations. According to, “Though the genes are remarkably similar, their expression isn’t. Think of it this way: Sand and water can be combined to make either glass or just wet sand.”

DSC_0004One example of a genetic difference can be found in the FOXP2 gene which is found on the 7th chromosome in humans and the 3rd chromosome in baboons. According to an article published by GHR on the FOXP2 gene, it “…is required for proper development of speech and language regions of the brain during embryogenesis [the formation of an embryo]…” People that have certain mutations in this gene many times have a hard time forming words, this is most likely because “…FOXP2 is a transcription factor – in other words it has the potential to affect the expression of an unknown, but potentially large number of other genes.” as told by This could point towards why humans can talk and baboons can’t.

Another slight difference is that baboons have 42 chromosomes while humans have 46. The number of chromosomes is a determining factor of what species an organism is, since the baboons have less chromosomes, they can’t be a human.DSC_9228

Humans do however share a lot of DNA with baboons. For instance, a genetic similarity is found for humans and baboons on chromosome 18. reports that, “John L. VandeBerg… identified a region of baboon chromosome 18 associated with HDL [“good” cholesterol] levels. The region covers about 20 million base pairs and corresponds to human chromosome 18.” The article shows how close baboon and human DNA and chromosomes match up, so close in fact that it goes on to say how researchers are now searching for human cholesterol in baboons.

Although we share a lot of DNA with baboons, we still have our differences. That’s why humans are humans and baboons are baboons!





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