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.