Genes define who we are, at least in a physical sense, since they determine your traits. A tiny difference in DNA can specify whether you are a human of a chimp. But how does it work? How can genes, fragments of DNA determine traits? How can genes, for example, determine your eye color, height or even what flowers you like? Let’s find out.
Depending on who you ask, humans and chimps share 96 to 99 percent of genes. Yet we look staggeringly different. Or do we? Since genes alter our traits, we would expect organisms with so much of their genome identical, also look similar, right?
You may have heard that we humans have 23 chromosome pairs, whereas our closest neighbors chimpanzees have 24 — one pair more. Do we have to worry that humans have fewer chromosomes than chimps do? What is the function of those extra chromosomes that chimps need and we don’t? Let’s find out.
Coffee is a wonderful drink that works magic on our bodies. From time to time, I hear someone say that coffee is a placebo. That the only reason you get an influx of energy after drinking coffee is because you expect to. That is not true; caffeine affects your body in several clear and observable ways.
Even if you understand the basics of evolution, a way how new species evolve can remain a mystery. It’s easy to imagine how the length of a hummingbird’s beak can lengthen through generations, but how can this lead to new species?
“Avoid gluten in your diet, because our ancestors did not eat it, and neither should you!” “Rub your face with mud; early humans literally lived in it.” Similar statements are trendy as more people follow the seemingly reasonable logic that natural things are good and unnatural things are not.
If evolution is true and we really did evolve from monkeys, why the hell are they still here? Similar questions have been among the most common ones asked of biologists for decades. If you ask Google, you will find millions of responses, yet people still seem to demand new and clearer answers. The question gets repeated in different forms: Why are there still chimps (or gorillas, or apes) if we evolved from them?