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Question:
What are the differences between the genetic mechanisms which affect human and gorilla genes?



Replies:
Both gorilla and man share the use of DNA as the carrier of genetic information, as do nearly all of the life forms on the planet. The differences between gorilla and human DNA will vary tremendously depending on what gene you are looking at. For many genes the differences will be slight, for others significant, for most unknown. The exact mechanisms by which genes are copied and used are still not entirely clear, so that presumably there will be minor differences between gorillas and humans, but in the main the mechanisms are certainly similar -- transcription of DNA to messenger RNA by RNA polymerases, assembly of proteins from mRNA by ribosomes, and regulation of transcription by various DNA-binding proteins. This is not surprising, since the basic material (DNA) is identical, and because we have both evolved recently (within a few million years) from the same ancestor species, and, more to the point, the mechanisms by which DNA is used are probably as old as life, since they are the most basic things that life does. This is such a general answer because, sorry, I don't know much about gorilla molecular biology.

Christopher Grayce



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