Question 9: Is it true that the genetic similarity between man and ape is 98%?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Answer:  It is claimed by evolutionists that the genetic similarity between man and apes is 98%; thus, they try to establish a connection between apes and man in terms of evolution based on it. That claim has no scientific basis. The claim that the genes of man and apes are 98% similar was made up by evolutionists many years ago and has been used as a slogan since then. The similarity in the amino acid sequences of some 30-40 basic proteins present in man and the chimpanzee is put forward as evidence for that claim.

There are about 100 thousand proteins in man. That 40 of them are similar does not prove that man and apes are 98% similar. Such an approach is not scientific; its aim is to make propaganda. Besides, the DNA similarity of those 40 proteins is also controversial. This study was made in 1987 by two biologists named Sibley and Ahlquist and published in the periodical named Journal of Molecular Evolution.1

However, Sarich, who examined those data, stated that the method they used was not very much reliable and that the data had been exaggeratedly interpreted.2

Even if the similarity is 98% as it is claimed, an evolutionary connection between them cannot be established because species has particular genetic codes.  Basic proteins are common vital molecules present in all living beings. Therefore, there are many similarities among living beings in terms of those structures because all living beings consist of the same molecules. Therefore, it is quite normal that the basics of the genetic structures are similar. The similarity of the basic structures in living beings does not indicate that they came into existence coincidentally from one another but that their master is the same and that they were created based on the same plan by Allah. As a matter of fact, there is a 75 % similarity between the DNAs of nematode worms and man.3

Will you accept that humans and worms are relatives acting upon the75% similarity between them?

Even if the difference of genetic structure between two species of living things is 1%, that difference means those two species have completely different features. Another important issue to be taken into consideration here is the fact that a gene in the bodies of living beings affects more than one feature. In other words, one feature is controlled by more than one gene4.

Apes are not the only animals that resemble man. Apes resemble man more than other living beings in terms of anatomic structure, horses in terms of intelligence, parrots in terms of talking, bees in terms of art, ants in terms of social life, and penguins in terms of compassion they show to their youngs. Besides, what differentiates man from other living beings is not the anatomic structure or a few features only. The most remarkable features of man are his ability to reason, to think, to have conscience, to judge, his imagination, memory, love, speech, thought and belief.

The similarity between chimpanzee, which is accepted to be the most similar to man at molecular level, and man was tried to be shown at Riken Institute in Japan in 2004. They deciphered and compared the 21st chromosome in man and its equivalent the 22nd chromosome in chimpanzee.4

The previous comparisons between chimpanzees and humans were generally based the comparison of proteins. Complete differences were observed in 68,000 places of DNAs of those chromosomes. Some of them were more in humans than chimpanzees and some were fewer. Some molecules of chimpanzees like proteins can resemble those of humans98.5 percent but differences in68.000 places in only one chromosome is the really important problem.5

For instance, three of those places are FOXP2, NCAM2 and GRIK1 regions. It has been determined that those genes were active in the structures relate to the nervous system. They are extra in humans and deficient in apes.

Related to the similarity between humans and chimpanzees, many researchers have mentioned rates such as ‘1.5% difference’ considering only the different sections. However, apart from those different parts, there are also parts that are not found in chimpanzees but exist in humans or that are not found in humans butexist in chimpanzees, which may be even more important in terms of differences between species.

What matters in the difference between humans and chimpanzees is not the percentages, but what these percentages correspond to. Although there are about 35 million differences between humans and chimpanzees, there are 45 million things that humans have and chimpanzees lack as well as 45 million things that chimpanzees have and humans lack.6

The sum of them exceeds 120 million, which is a huge difference. It is an undefendable claim in terms of calculus of probabilities to say that those differences occurred in such a very sensitive molecule as DNA, ‘by chance’ in 6 million years and that the characteristics that occurred in individuals turned into the characteristics of the species without disappearing in the gene pool.

Calculus of probabilities show that all matter and all time of all space are insufficient to explain the emergence of a single protein.

Let us consider the claim that human beings formed from chimpanzees in 6 million years: If we calculate that 20 years correspond to a generation, it makes 300,000 generations. In other words, more than 120 million differences between humans and chimpanzees must occur in a sensitive molecule such as DNA with very few changes like one in 300,000. If we compare it to the fact that all space-time and all matter are insufficient to explain the emergence of a single protein, we will understand how mathematically inconsistent the claim that the transition from chimpanzee to man occurs with ‘random mutations’is. Even a difference of 0.01% between humans and chimpanzees corresponds to more than a hundred proteins.

It is estimated that there are more than 3 billion nucleotides in human DNA. 0.01% of this corresponds to more than 300.000 nucleotides. Considering that every 1,000 nucleotides correspond to 1 protein code, even 0.01% of human DNA is so long as to correspond to more than 300 protein codes. Even if the molecular level difference between human and chimpanzee was only 1.5%as it is claimed, it would not be possible to say that the difference was overcome by a random transition.

Moreover, that the Riken Institute showed that 68,000 places were different in only one chromosome and that there were differences in more than 120 million places in total led the ones who claimed the coincidental transition from chimpanzee to man completelyto a stalemate.

In conclusion, the basis of DNAs, where the genetic structure of each living group is encoded, is generally composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur and phosphorus atoms. That is, the basis of the genetic structure of living beings is the same. It is the same in plants, animals and humans. What makes living beings different is the information encoded inthat genetic structure.

It is just like a flash disk. You can encode a lot of different information to similarly-shaped flash disks or even the same flash disk. That the elements making up the flash disk are similar or the same in terms of structure does not indicate that the meaning that is encoded is the same, but that the master is the same.

The fact that the atoms making up the genetic structures of living beings are similar is not evidence that they are formed by chance, but that their creator is the same.

1.Sibley and Ahlquist, Journal of Molecular Evolution, no. 26, p. 100.
2.Sarich et al., Cladistics, 1989, no. 5, p. 3-32.
3.H., Karen. “The Greatest Apes”, New Scientist, 15 May 1999, p. 27.
4.H. Wantanabe et al., DNA Sequence and Comparative Analysis of Chimpanzee Chromosome 22, ‘Nature’ 429, (27 May 2004), p. 382-388.
5.H. Wantanabe et al., DNA Sequence and Comparative Analysis of Chimpanzee Chromosome 22, p. 383.
6.Tarjei S. Mikkelsen et al., Initial Sequence of The Chimpanzee Genome and Comparison with The Human Genome, ‘Nature’ 437, (1 September 2005), p. 69-87.

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