Chimp/Human DNA—count the differences!

By Don Batten

 Picture of a young chimpanzee.

Chimps are suppposed to be our closest relatives, but the differences are actually great (and increasing with further research).

Atheists, vehemently opposed to the Bible’s claims that man is a special creation, have long pointed to the widely announced 98–99% chimp/human DNA similarities as evidence for evolution. However, that figure applies to gene coding regions only—a tiny fraction of the roughly three billion DNA base pairs that comprise our genetic blueprint. Although the full human genome sequence has been available in 2001, the chimpanzee genome has not—so the alleged similarities have been based on just a portion of the total DNA. (And 55% of human and chimp proteins are different. See also Chimp genome sequence very different from man.)

  • The chimp/human difference is actually 4%—much greater than the ‘only 1%’ commonly claimed in the past.
  • 29% of the protein-coding genes are the same; leaving ~70% that are different.
  • There are genes present in humans that are completely missing in chimps.
  • The differences include 35 million single letter ‘substitutions’; 40–45 million ‘insertions’ and a similar number of ‘deletions’. This adds up to some 120 million letters, which is 4% of the ~3 billion total number.
  • The differences represent at least 40 million separate mutation events, which is impossible for evolution even with an evolutionary timeframe of 300,000 generations (133 preserved mutations per generation, which means a vastly greater number, which is impossible without causing ‘error catastrophe’—extinction!). For more on this problem for evolutionists, see Haldane’ Dilemma and the updated, in-depth paper by ReMine
 Picture of DNA.

The differences between human and chimp DNA cannot be bridged by evolutionary processes.

While the similarities reflect a common Designer, it is the differences that make all the difference—and the most important difference is that man is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).

Published: 5 June 2006


    The Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium, Initial sequence of the chimpanzee genome and comparison with the human genome, Nature 437(7055):69–87, 2006.