Gorillas More Related to People Than Thought, Genome Says
Surprising differences include gene that aids knuckle walking.
In 2008 geneticists took DNA from Kamilah, a then 30-year-old female western lowland gorilla from the San Diego Zoo.
Four years later the team published the species' genome, which completes a basic genetic library of the great apes—a branch of primates including people, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans.
"Previously, people had some sort of picture based on ... probably one percent of the whole [gorilla] genome. So we now have a complete picture," said study co-author Richard Durbin, a geneticist with the U.K.'s Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.
"Based on the comparisons between them, it helps us explore the evolutionary origins of humans and where we separated from other great ape species in Africa between