Questions for ‘Just a tiny share of the DNA in us is unique to humans’

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Scientists have identified a small share of DNA that might give modern humans the qualities unique to our species.

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To accompany “Just a tiny share of the DNA in us is unique to humans


Before Reading:

1.  Much of the DNA in humans and chimpanzees is identical. Why is that?

2.  Many people carry some of the same genes as Neandertals. Why is that?

During Reading:

1.  According to the new study, what share of genes in people are uniquely human?

2.  What parts of the body do those uniquely human genes tend to code for?

3.  How did researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz figure out what percentage of genes show up in humans only?

4.  On average, what share of human DNA is Neandertal? How does that share of human DNA that traces to Neandertals differ between different populations of people alive today?  

5.  What types of genes have humans inherited from Neandertals, according to Kelley Harris?

6.  At what point in human history did people evolve most of their uniquely human DNA, according to the new study?

After Reading:

1.  Why might scientists care what share of DNA is found in humans only?

2.  Normally organisms evolve — develop new and persistent traits — when they inherit genes that make the organism better adapted to its environment. What does that imply about the genes people have in common with other species or ancient ancestors?