09 Feb Has anyone ever called you bananas? Well, they’re not entirely wrong.
By Mya Cahana
What if I told you that more than 60% of our DNA is identical? Yup, that’s right: Humans and bananas are more alike than you think. We share many similar genes, especially those that regulate the cell cycle. This includes genes that replicate DNA and control, cellular division.
Chickens and fruit flies also share a large portion of their DNA with us. The genes found in chickens that build proteins in eggshells are extremely similar to the genes causing bone calcification in us. Additionally, our response to disease is extremely similar to fruit flies. Almost 75% of genes that cause disease in us are also found in fruit flies.
Scientists have been finding new anti-cancer strategies through fruit fly research. Observing flies with cancerous tumors until their death has yielded discoveries of certain chemicals that are produced by tumors which may shorten the life span of the flies. Since humans and fruit flies are genetically similar, scientists can apply these discoveries to the human body.
All of this information was found in 2003 when the first human genome was sequenced. Human genome sequencing is used to better understand the way our DNA works. They do this by analyzing our DNA and identifying different genes. The first human genome sequencing cost around one billion dollars. Now, our genomes can be sequenced for less than one thousand dollars. Some companies even claim to have developed the technology to sequence a full genome for just one hundred dollars. If this holds true, we would unlock a treasure trove of genetic information. This data could help uncover and clarify the genetic differences that set humans apart from one another, which would be crucial for the development of new life-saving medicines and treatments.