“Racial” Diversity Among Chimpanzees Compared to Humans

Genetic Measure Chimpanzees  Humans
X-Chromosome 0.130% 0.037%
Genetic material found in mitochondria, the organelles that generate energy for the cell.mtDNA 14.8 3.4
Fst values >2.0 0.08
Substitution rate >0.05 0.029
Heterozygosity 3.9% 1.8%
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Slide 104 of 109

We tend not to think that other species can be separated into races (other than maybe dogs and cats, which we have bred to look different). When we compare human genetic diversity to chimpanzees (which we would say "all look alike"), we find that chimpanzees are two to four times more genetically diverse than the global human population. Therefore, the scientific data shows that racial differences do not reflect massive genetic diversity.

References Top of page

  1. Henrik Kaessmann, Victor Wiebe, Svante Pääbo. 1999. Extensive Nuclear Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.DNA Sequence Diversity Among Chimpanzees. Science 286: 1159-1162.

  2. Krings, M., C. Capelli, F. Tschentscher, H. Geisert, S. Meyer, A. von Haeseler, K. Grossschmidt, G. Possnert, M. Paunovic, and S. Pääbo. 2000. A view of Neandertal genetic diversity Nature Genetics 26: 144-146.

  3. M. Nei and A. K. Roychoudhury. 1982. Genetic relationship and evolution of human races. Evolutionary Biology 14: 1-59.

  4. Janczewski DN. Goldman D. O'Brien SJ. 1990. Molecular genetic divergence of orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) subspecies based on isozyme and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Journal of Heredity 81: 375-387.

Last Modified June 21, 2006


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