Toxins, GMOs Fill Highly Popular Children’s Vitamins.

 Nearly as soon as our children are able to chew, we begin teaching them that they can depend on lab-created solutions for proper nutrition. And while there is a place for supplements, that place may not be in the fruity, chalky flavors of popular children’s multivitamins. As a matter of fact, the very vitamins that so many parents feed their children could be doing them more harm than good.


“82% of kids aren’t getting all of their veggies,” says the product page for Bayer Health Science’s Flinstone vitamins, one of the top-selling children’s vitamins on the market. “Without enough vegetables, kids may not be getting all of the nutrients they need.”

With this statement, and the massive amount of money spent on marketing children’s synthetic vitamins, parents are led to believe a tiny chewable will solve their child’s nutritional deficiencies, that somehow adding more vegetables (the simple, common sense answer) is far too difficult.

But the sad fact is, many parents aren’t looking closely at these vitamins. If they did, they’d probably be surprised. And as Anthony Gucciardi has detailed in the past, synthetic vitamins hiding in your favorite supplements come with a serious host of concerning health consequences.


According to a report by GreenMedInfo, Flinstone’s Vitamins contain a whole laundry list of unhealthy ingredients—things many parents already try to avoid. These include: aspartame, sorbitol, zinc oxide, ferrous fumarate, artificial colors, GMO corn, hydrogenated soybean oil, and cupric oxide.

Many of these ingredients, and others included in the list, have been labeled as hazardous substancesby the European Union. Curpic oxide, for example, is included as a source of copper. It is not only considered harmful but is even “dangerous to the environment.” In addition to being in your children’s vitamins, it’s found in rayon and cell batteries.

Ferrous fumarate is included as an iron source, and this ingredient is so dangerous that even Bayer warns consumers about it. On the Flinstone’s website there is a warning against iron overdose because ferrous fumarate is a “leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6.” It’s this ingredient that warrants the label:

Keep this product out of reach of children.”

Proper nutrition can lay the groundwork for a healthy life. One can’t emphasize this enough. But, getting that nutrition in a simple piece of toxic “candy” makes no sense. Instead, teach your children how to get all the nutrients they need through natural, organic foods. And if you’re worried about a specific deficiency, look into natural and organic supplements, not these potentially-harmful, bestselling vitamins.






Breast MRI Helps Predict Chemotherapy’s Effectiveness.

 Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)provides an indication of a breast tumor’s response to pre-surgical chemotherapy significantly earlier than possible through clinical examination, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology.

Women with breast cancer often undergo chemotherapy prior to surgery. Research has shown that women who receive this treatment, known as neoadjuvant chemotherapy, are more likely to achieve breast conservation than those receiving chemotherapy after surgery.

Aurora_Breast MRI

Clinicians track a patient’s response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy through clinical measurements of the tumor’s size and location. Contrast-enhanced MRI offers a promising alternative to the clinical approach through its ability to detect blood vessel formation in tumors, known as angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is an earlier and more accurate marker of tumor response.

“MRI was better than the clinical approach for predicting which patients would go on to have complete tumor response,” said Nola M. Hylton, Ph.D., professor of radiology and biomedical imaging at the University of California in San Francisco. “It gave us great information on early response to treatment.”

For the study, researchers analyzed data from ACRIN 6657, the imaging component of the multicenter Investigation of Serial Studies to Predict Your Therapeutic Response with Imaging And moLecular Analysis (I-SPY TRIAL) breast cancer trial.

They compared MRI and clinical assessment in 216 female patients ranging in age from 26 to 68 years undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy for stage II or III breast cancer. MRI sessions were performed before, during and after administration of a chemotherapy regimen. The researchers correlated imaging results with subsequent laboratory analysis of surgical samples.

MRI size measurements were superior to clinical examination at all time points, with tumor volume change showing the greatest relative benefit at the second MRI exam. MRI was better than clinical assessment in predicting both complete tumor response and residual cancer burden.

The study shows how imaging can play a vital role in characterizing a tumor and monitoring treatment response.

“What we see on imaging helps us define not just the size of the tumor but its biological activity,” Hylton said. “We can observe if the signal increases after contrast injection, and interpret that increase as angiogenic activity. We can also use water diffusion measurements with MRI to provide an indirect reflection of the density of the cells.”

Hylton and colleagues currently are assessing I-SPY data to see if MRI is better for predicting the likelihood of breast cancer recurrence. They expect to publish those results later this year.


The Brain: Now in Ultra High-Res 3D.

Today, researchers have unveiled the most detailed 3-D image of the human brain ever taken. The image reveals structures as tiny as 20 microns, 50 times smaller than those created using the best MRI technology.

The image, made as part of a project called the BigBrain, is part of a larger effort to create a high-resolution computer model of the human brain that can serve as a reference point for future studies. Data from other studies can be combined with this model to allow scientists to link brain function to specific groups of nerve cells.


Do Brain Games Make You Smarter?

There’s a lot of conflicting research out there about brain training games. It seems like they’re helpful, but are they actually working to improve our intelligence? Anthony wades through the research to determine the actual value of brain games.

“When you are interested a disorder like Alzheimer’s disease, you have the first ever brain model where you can look into details of the hippocampus, which is the brain region that is extremely important for memory,” said Karl Zilles, one of the co-authors of the paper and senior professor of the Jülich Aachen Research Alliance in Germany.

Until now, brain scans have been made using MRI and PET technology. But these imagers can only capture structures as small as a millimeter. To understand what happens when a person gets Alzheimer’s disease or epilepsy, it’s necessary to study individual groups of cells. A millimeter just isn’t fine enough to see them.

To create the ultra-detailed images, the scientists used a brain from a deceased 65-year-old woman. Dr. Katrin Amunts, director of the Cecile and Oskar Vogt Institute for Brain Research at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf in Germany, and lead author, said the woman who donated the brain didn’t have any diagnosed psychiatric problems or diseases that would have affected the brain’s anatomy.

Scientists then used a tool called a microtome to cut the brain into 7,400 slices, each 20 microns thick. That alone was a difficult thing to do. While pathologists often section brains, they are usually much thicker.

The sections were then stained to bring out the details and then a standard laboratory camera was used to create a high-resolution digital image of every slice. Each image was 13,000 by 11,000 pixels and by the time the researchers were done creating the images, the amount of data they compiled totaled about a terabyte. Next, they used a computer to combine the images into one large, three-dimensional computer model.

The idea is to perform computer simulations using the three-dimensional model, also called an atlas, in ways that weren’t possible before, said a professor of neurology at the Montréal Neurological Institute at McGill University, and another co-author. Functional MRI scans are relatively crude.

Other scientists in the field say BigBrain could be a helpful tool. “For instance, you can perform MRIs in patients with severe traumatic injury, both with favorable and unfavorable outcome, apply the atlas and determine by which regions they differ,” said Damien Galanaud, at the department of neuroradiology at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, who studies traumatic brain injuries, and was not involved in the study.

The only down side, Galanaud added, such a study wouldn’t necessarily offer a complete picture, because sometimes brain anatomy is changed when there’s a severe injury. So it would require additional “smoothing” of the differences between the inured brain and the model.

Warren Selman, chairman of the department of neurological surgery at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, said one issue is connectivity: the model brain, being from a dead person, won’t show the communications signals between neurons that makes a brain work. “You’ve got to find out what kind of talk [between cells] is going on at this level,” he said. “Then it starts to get exciting.”

He added the work is still tremendously useful, as it will help scientists pinpoint what functions are localized where in the brain.

The BigBrain project is part of a larger European effort called theEuropean Human Brain Project, which parallels a similar effort in the United States.


Is the human genome nearly identical to chimpanzee?—a reassessment of the literature.

A review of the available literature related to the common claim that few genetic differences exist between chimpanzees and humans was undertaken. While taking the published information at face value, we show that significant reported differences exist in regards to, not only genomic sequence, but gene regulation, regulatory genomic regions, microRNA code, and gene splicing. We conclude that multiple facets of differences in DNA sequences and genetic mechanisms as reported in the standard scientific literature, suggest that clear unbridgeable genetic differences exist between humans and chimpanzees.


A popular claim is that the genomes of chimpanzees, or chimps (Pan troglodytes), and humans (Homo sapiens) are nearly identical, with some authors even suggesting that the two species should be placed in the same genus. As we will show, this paradigm is based primarily on cherry-picked highly homologous DNA and protein sequences. However, there is considerably more reported data in the literature that needs to be included when comparing the genomes of humans and chimpanzees.

The first 99% similarity claim, which Cohen calls ‘The Myth of 1%’, was first put forward in 1975 by Allen Wilson and Mary-Claire King using a technology called reassociation kinetics.1Other reassociation studies reported average single-copy DNA similarities of about 98.5%.2-4 In our companion paper (in this issue)5 we explain reassociation kinetics technology and its various caveats in more detail. It is sufficient to note here that in such studies a majority of the genomic DNA was excluded. Nevertheless, the supposed high similarities that were reported were actually a surprise to many scientists given the large differences in anatomy and behavioural traits between chimps and humans. The eventual explanation for this data was that small genetic differences between the two species result in very large physical differences.6

The era of DNA sequencing—the legend grows

Today, DNA sequencing technologies have improved and have become considerably more proficient and automated. As a result, DNA similarity research between humans and chimps is able to utilize actual DNA base-pair information on a larger scale. As noted by Marks, it is important to understand that since only four DNA bases exist in all genomes, any two random stretches of DNA of the same length will always be about 25% identical. In other words, the starting point in human–chimp DNA comparisons is not zero, but 25%.7

A number of often-cited studies have reported various DNA sequence similarities of 94% or greater between human and chimp. For example, Britten reported a 95% similarity in 780,000 aligned bases in which he included insertions and deletions (indels; figure 1). When adjusted to include the query DNA sequence that was omitted from the alignments, Britten’s data indicates an overall 87% similarity (see figure 2).8 While Britten’s research was one of the first papers to include indels in the DNA alignment results, it was also one of the last.

As discussed in the companion paper to this review,5 we document, case by case, the majority of the major DNA sequence comparison publications that report percent similarities.5 The key papers that report DNA sequence similarities do so using multiple levels of biological sample and/or data preselection. In most cases, the authors only report the ‘best of the best’ data—a form of dogma-driven bioinformatic cherry picking. For example, only the protein-coding gene sequences of preselected highly similar DNA are often used—guaranteeing high levels of similarity.8

Perhaps the most widely cited paper that reported the initial 5x rough draft of the chimpanzee genome assembly is the most errantly cited.9 As discussed in our companion paper,5 the overall actual DNA similarity compared to the human genome at its concurrent state of completion in 2005 indicates a genome-wide similarity of about 70%.8 Furthermore, more recent research has not contradicted these statistics. In fact, preliminary data from research in progress at the Institute for Creation Research currently supports most of the overall DNA similarity statistics calculated from unpopularized data related to published evolutionary research.10

In retrospect, it appears that the early reports of human–chimp DNA similarity, based on reassociation kinetics, has set a ‘98 to 99% Gold Standard’ whereby the results of subsequent DNA sequence-based research conformed accordingly, even though the buried and obfuscated data related to these reports said otherwise. Such conformity to largely unspoken academic rules is typically required to achieve success in grantsmanship, publishing, tenure, and job security in general.11

Major structural differences between genomes

Many major structural differences between the human and chimp genomes have been detected and reported in a number of papers.12-17 Indeed, many large stretches of DNA sequences show no consistent pattern in multiple alignments (DNA fragment comparisons) of the genomes for human, chimpanzee, and gorilla, leading to DNA-based genealogies that are different from the assumed Darwinian phylogenies (evolutionary trees) for >25% of the primate genomes being studied.18-22 Unfortunately, these large evolutionary anomalies have become obfuscated within obscure evolutionary verbiage and data smoothing techniques. As a result, these important results never make it to the public sphere of knowledge.

The many parts of the human and ape genomes that show no pattern of common ancestry comprise a phenomenon called ‘Independent Lineage Sorting’ or ILS. The issue of independent lineage sorting is not a new problem in the human–chimpanzee similarity controversy. Before the advent of the molecular biology revolution, usage of various anatomical trait measurements would, depending on the trait, produce different evolutionary trees.23 The candid quote below from a fairly recent evolutionary paper states the issue very clearly.

“However, with both amount of data and number of studies increasing, the crux of the matter emerges. Regardless of the type of phylogenetically informative data chosen for analysis, the evolutionary history of humans is reconstructed differently with different sets of data.”24

It appears that the early reports of human–chimp DNA similarity … has set a ‘98 to 99% Gold Standard’ whereby the results of subsequent DNA sequence-based research conformed accordingly.

Calculated trees that do not fit the expected Darwinian paradigm are called ‘discordant’. The problem of discordant trees was not solved with the advent of molecular technologies that relied on proteins and DNA. In fact, the issue got worse. The biologist’s answer to this dilemma was to simply turn the issue over to statistical mathematicians lacking a biological background who combined multiple data sets to produce the politically correct phylogenetic tree. Using select algorithms, combined with the existing methodological pattern of prescreening and preselecting for compliant data, the discordant trees were protected. There exists a sizeable number of papers in this field and a more thorough review of this topic is warranted in a future publication. Suffice it to say the key papers produce data that clearly shows extreme dissimilarity between not only human and chimpanzee, but all of the great apes.

For example, Cheng et al. were one of the first groups that took to task the question of structural variation between human and chimp genomes. These researchers compared the numbers of repeated regions of the human and chimp genomes that showed evidence of shared and lineage-specific duplication.25 The compared repeated blocks of sequence were preselected to be highly identical (>94%) and it was the level of duplication (repetition) for these blocks that was evaluated between genomes. However, for the autosomes (the non-sex chromosomes), only 66% of the total number of duplicated blocks were found in both human and chimp, 33% were duplicated in human and not in chimp, and a number of these characterized duplications contained genes. Of 177 gene sequences in these repeats, 88 were duplicated in human and not chimpanzee while 94 were duplicated in chimpanzee and not human. Since gene copy number is a major regulator of gene expression, this was a significant finding because of it resulting in different genotypes, just as different genes result in different genotypes.

They also found that DNA sequences with a similarity higher than 97% were five times more likely to be incorrectly assembled in the chimpanzee genome. This results from using the human genome assembly as the framework or scaffold when they built the chimpanzee genome.26

Orthologous proteins

It is estimated that more than 95% of the human genome consists of non-protein-coding DNA and many of the similarity studies that found a 1–2% nucleotide difference were based on protein-coding DNA of preselected homologs (similar sequences). Orthologous proteins are produced by genes in different species assumed to all have evolved from a single ancestral gene, such as the beta globin hemoglobin chain genes. Glazko et al. compared 44,000 amino acid residues of chimps and humans.27 Of the 127 complete orthologous proteins examined, only 20% (25 proteins) showed identical amino acid sequences. In many of the others, the changes were small, with the greatest amount of changes in signal transduction genes, compared to enzyme, transporter, and other physiological house-keeping proteins. It is important to note that minor codon differences between two genes that produce similar proteins can, due to alternative splicing of the exons and introns and processing differences, end up producing proteins that have relatively large differences in their three-dimensional shape and function. The differences that result depend on the protein’s regulation and its specific amino acid differences. This factor must be considered when comparing phenotypes.

Demuth et al. located 1,480 human genes that did not have any orthologs in the chimp genome.28 These genes were not accounted for in the Glazko et al. study. Obviously it’s not only the highly similar genes that are important to study, but the genes which are present and/or absent between species, as Hughes et al. discovered when comparing Y-chromosome sequences.29 See the discussion of Y-chromosome genes in our companion paper.5

This research is especially significant because it is believed that non-protein-coding DNA sequences used for regulatory functions are far more likely to account for major physical and physiological differences between species. Much non-protein-coding DNA (formerly called junk DNA) consists of a wide variety of regulatory elements for both transcription and translation, many classes of regulatory RNAs, critical regulatory pseudogene code, and various nuclear matrix determining features.30

Proteins are ultimately determined by not only their specific DNA transcripts but also processing. The mRNA (messenger RNA) processing system involves the splicing of protein-coding segments in the transcribed RNA. Splicing is the process by which introns are removed and exons (the coding regions of the genes) are joined together to generate the mature mRNA that specify the proteins to be translated. Splicing differences for a single gene can generate many protein variants and this is controlled by very complex regulatory systems. In fact, research has documented that alternative splicing differs significantly between humans and chimps.31 The researchers found from 6 to 8% of the alternative splicing events which they evaluated showed protein differences: a variant they considered highly significant.31

Gene expression differences

According to Oldham et al., a major genome paradigm is now recognized for which

“ … the high extent of sequence homology between human and chimpanzee proteins supports the longstanding hypothesis that many phenotypic differences between the species reflect differences in the regulation of gene expression, in addition to differences in amino acid sequences.”32

In fact, as early as 1975 King and Wilson postulated that the major differences between humans and apes were due largely to factors controlling gene expression:

“We suggest that evolutionary changes in anatomy and way of life are more often based on changes in the mechanisms controlling the expression of genes than on sequence changes in proteins. We therefore propose that regulatory mutations account for the major biological differences between humans and chimpanzees.”33

Interspecies differences in genome-wide gene expression is a complicated issue. In humans and chimps we would expect small differences in regulation between highly conserved housekeeping genes that perform similar biochemical functions across not only primates, but mammals in general. Therefore, evolutionists have focused on the major features that make humans and apes different, such as brain function and major regulation differences between genes expressed in the brain. When this important factor is evaluated, many genetic differences between humans and chimps have been found.

One of the first studies of brain gene regulation, by Cáceres et al., identified 169 genes that were differentially expressed in human, chimp, and macaque cerebral cortexes. Of these genes, fully 90% were upregulated at significantly higher levels in humans than in chimps. In contrast, the house-keeping genes in the liver showed similar levels of expression.34 From their abstract, the authors concluded “The human brain displays a distinctive pattern of gene expression relative to non-human primates, with higher expression levels for many genes belonging to a wide variety of functional classes.”

A somewhat similar study Uddin et al., confirmed these differences and added:

“ … in the ancestry of both humans and chimpanzees, but to a greater extent in humans, are the up-regulated expression profiles of aerobic energy metabolism genes and neuronal function-related genes, suggesting that increased neuronal activity required increased supplies of energy.”35

Khaitovich et al. examined gene expression differences in brain, heart, liver, kidney, and testis between human and chimp. In agreement with the aforementioned expression studies, brain expression differences were again found to be highly significant.36 These researchers also picked up significant differences in expression levels for kidney, liver, and testis. Most notably, sex-chromosome gene expression differences associated with Y-chromosome genes were exceptionally marked in the testis.37 These results were later supported by a 2010 report that showed dramatic differences between the structure of the Y-chromosomes of humans and chimps, particularly for testis-expressed genes.16

In regard to the study of differences in regulatory sequences, Duke University scientists carried out a study of the promoter regions of certain genes in the human, chimp, and macaque genomes. These are the DNA sections that precede the gene and help regulate its expression levels. They identified 575 human gene promoters that were very different from those in chimps.38 Most of the differences were involved in promoters that control nerve cell development, but some were involved in other functions, such as carbohydrate metabolism. As mentioned earlier, increased metabolism coincides with enhanced levels of brain activity. Like the actual protein-coding regions of genes (exons), promoter regions often involve a small number of nucleotides on a genome-wide basis, but small DNA differences in these regions can have an enormous effect.

As stated by Oldham et al. :

“ … comparisons of gene expression between human and non-human primate brains have identified hundreds of differentially expressed genes, yet translating these lists into key functional distinctions between species has proved difficult.”39

An important conclusion of Oldham’s research is that comparisons of genes from different animals requires the study of the set of products of a large number of genes in order to understand both the magnitude and the qualitative differences. Complicating matters in these types of analyses is the fact that a majority of genes in the genome produce multiple transcript variants.40

However, some genes that are highly conserved across life, particularly those that share similarities in metabolic systems, can produce elements of homology in their transcriptomes. For example, all life uses ATP, ADP and many other common biochemical structures. Consequently, the manufacture and regulation of these biomolecules is expected to share much similarity, and ATP synthase is close to identical in many biological systems. The focus should, therefore, be on the sets of transcripts that show key interspecies differences in their regulation and structure.

A unique way to look at gene expression is to identify overlapping subsets of genes among module of genes that are expressed. Genes are often expressed in modules or gene sets and the overlapping subset of genes common to interrelated modules are termed network connections. One study found that 17.4% of gene network connections were specific to humans and not chimpanzees.41 Furthermore, humans have 689 known expressed genes not possessed by chimps, and no doubt more will be discovered as research progresses.

Use of commercial gene chip technology, called microarrays, to measure expression levels of thousands of different genes in humans and chimps has found little difference in gene expression in blood and liver cells between the two species, but enormous differences in brain gene expression. The researchers found the difference to be so large that if humans and chimps once shared a common ancestor, the rate of change must have been 5.5 times faster in humans than in chimps.42

By using 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis to separate human and chimp brain proteins on the basis of their size and charge, two kinds of data were gathered: qualitative, measuring the differences in protein types, and quantitative, measuring the differences in protein amounts.43Using this technique, they found major differences between humans and chimps. A 7% qualitative difference was calculated, but a quantitative difference over four times higher (31%) was determined, reflecting the vastly different patterns of gene expression occurring in the neuronal cells of humans versus chimps. Even though many genes are remarkably similar in the two organisms, many genes are expressed very differently in each species.44 Interestingly, as the gene chip technology improved, Geschwind et al. found distinct comparative differences in liver gene expression in addition to many differences in brain gene expression.41

Another level of the genome often ignored when evaluating similarity is the nature of interactomes, how certain expressed gene sets interact with other expressed gene sets. A simplified example would be the functions of computers, digital cameras, and VCRs (figure 3). Although all these electronic devices are very different, each contains many similar components, including transistors, resistors, capacitors, transformers, circuit boards, and wires. The essential difference lies not in the components used, but rather in how the components relate to each other as an integrated whole. Likewise, humans and chimps share similar sets of genes but they are used and interact in different ways to form completely different creatures. Changing one connection between the system’s components (genes) requires many other concurrent calculated changes to occur for the system to function.

Gene regulation, including the timing and the level of gene expression, involves both genetic and epigenetic regulation. One important genetic regulation system is the micro RNA (miRNA) system. In general, miRNAs are about 22 base-pairs long and help regulate many genes. In one study comparing humans and chimps, 447 new miRNA’s were identified in humans.45 Furthermore, the miRNA aided in identifying 51 unique genes that were found in humans, but not in chimps, 371 that were in both, and 25 in chimps only. While this study has many limitations as detailed in part 2, it indicates miRNA differences in chimps and humans are significant.

Problems with interpreting DNA alphabet similarity

If published research statements concerning highly selective cherry-picked data are taken at face value, to conclude that human and chimpanzee DNA are 94% (or greater) similarity is still seriously misleading. The problem is that we tend to think of DNA sequence as a human-written language, in standard linear format similar to the English 26 letter alphabet. Such reasoning evaluates differences as if one would line up parallel written texts. Two books written by humans that are 98% similar are essentially the same book. Evolutionists often use this analogy, but it is completely inappropriate. The DNA four-letter alphabet code that designates twenty different amino acids by codons (triplet bases of specific sequences) considers only the small fraction of the genome that actually codes for protein.

The rest of the genome involves many other DNA code types that includes for regulatory function, nuclear matrix attachment features, nuclear arrangement and packaging, and a whole diversity of two-and three-dimensional structures. The extreme diversity of informational code in the genome also occurs, not only in multiple abstract layers of extreme informational complexity, but also in both two-and three-dimensional formats (topology-based information) that are interactive with linear-based sequence information. Many linear-based genomic codes (genomic features) also contain multiple levels of meaning and are far beyond the complexity of the human alphabet or any man-made, high-level, object-oriented computer code.46

Did the chimp genome project settle the issue?

The sequencing consortium publications produced a shotgun draft (five-fold redundant) coverage of the chimp genome.47 This study actually obfuscated the DNA similarity issue by obtaining levels of 98–99% similarity due to cherry-picked data and excluding indels. Not more than 70% of the chimp DNA could be aligned to the human genome assembly (see companion paper in this issue5), even after making generous allowances for gaps and masking low-complexity sequences in the alignments.

Chimp and human share greater DNA similarities than either chimp or human compared to a daffodil, but putting a precise measure on the similarity is not a trivial task.

The authors also hold to the common but false assumption that repetitive DNA (‘junk’ DNA) is irrelevant. By using techniques similar to those used in making comparisons between humans and chimps, human DNA also turns out to be, roughly, estimated to be about 35% identical to daffodil DNA, but it does not follow that we are physically 35% daffodil.48 Chimp and human share greater DNA similarities than either chimp or human compared to a daffodil, but putting a precise measure on the similarity is not a trivial task, and the published numbers are clearly misleading due to their beguiling appearance of simplicity, the unstated assumptions required to produce them, and the illusion of precision that they convey.

What about genome size

An example of how misleading the 94–98% numbers can be is the fact that the chimp genome has been consistently reported to be about 6–10% larger than the human genome by estimating nuclear DNA content (mass in picograms). This is a process whereby nuclei are extracted from cells in an isotonic buffer to prevent rupture and then passed through a cell cytometer sensor in serial fashion that measures the amount of DNA based on fluorescence. A known standard is used to calibrate the machine. One study reports that the chimp genome contains 3.8 billion base pairs compared to close to 3.2 billion for humans.49 The website ‘’ includes a variety of estimates for up to a 10% increase in genome size for chimp compared to human.

In confirmation of these cytometry reports, the most recent ‘golden-path assembly’ data released by the ENSEMBL group (joint scientific project between the European Bioinformatics Institute and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute; places chimpanzee at 8% larger than human. The golden path assembly estimate is the contiguous amount of assembled chimpanzee genome sequence that now represents greater than a 6.5 fold-redundant coverage. Therefore, using this comparison alone, only 92% similarity exists before sequence identity is even ascertained. Next, the level of redundant sequence data must be determined. If 1,000 copies of a highly similar repeat exist in one species and only 10 copies exist in another, one cannot claim a 99% similarity in the sequence.50

Paradox or logical prediction

The paradox for the evolutionist is how to understand the clearly observed major genetic differences in humans and chimps in spite of their various regions of genetic similarity. Many gross morphological and physiological similarities exist between humans and chimps, including their internal body organs. As creationists or intelligent design researchers, we would obviously expect these phenotypic similarities to be reflected in genetics. Yet, bone for bone, muscle for muscle, organ for organ, the bodies of humans and apes often differ in very subtle to very dramatic ways, depending on the feature being compared.

A recent book by BBC science writer Jeremy Taylor highlighted a variety of these critical differences.51 In addition, the genetic differences are clearly ignored, minimized, and obfuscated by the popular press and, unfortunately, by trained biologists as well.52-57 The companion paper describes in detail how key data is often omitted from human–chimp DNA alignments.5 It also shows how most data used for human–chimp similarity research is pre-screened and cherry-picked to support the most favourable evolutionary outcome.

Related Articles

Further Reading


  1. Cohen, J., Relative differences: the myth of 1%, Science 316:1836, 29 June 2007. Return to text.
  2. Hoyer B. H. et al., Examination of hominid evolution by DNA sequence homology, J. Human Evolution 1:645–649, 1972. Return to text.
  3. Sibley, C.G. and Ahlquist, J.E., The phylogeny of the hominoid primates, as indicated by DNA-DNA hybridization, J. Molecular Evolution 20:2–15, 1984. Return to text.
  4. Sibley, C.G., DNA hybridization evidence of hominoid phylogeny: a reanalysis of the data, J. Molecular Evolution 30:202–236, 1990. Return to text.
  5. Tomkins, J. and Bergman, J., Genomic monkey business―estimates of nearly identical human-chimp DNA similarity revaluated using omitted dataJ. Creation26(1):94–100, 2012. Return to text.
  6. Gibbons, A., Which of Our Genes Make Us Human? Science 281:1432– 1434, 1998. Return to text.
  7. Marks, J., What it Means to Be 98% Chimpanzee: Apes, People and Their Genes, Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA, University of California Press, 2002. Return to text.
  8. Britten, R.J., Divergence between samples of chimpanzee and human DNA sequences is 5% counting indels, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences99:13633–13635, 2002. Return to text.
  9. The Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium, Initial sequence of the chimpanzee genome and comparison with the human genome, Nature 437:69–87, 2005. Return to text.
  10. Tomkins, J., How genomes are sequenced and why it matters: implications for studies in comparative genomics of humans and chimpanzees, Answers Research Journal 4:81–88, 2011, articles/arj/v4/n1/implications-for-comparative-genomics. Return to text.
  11. See Bergman, J., Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth About Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters, Leafcutter Press, Southworth, WA, 2008.Return to text.
  12. Cheng, Z., Ventura, M., She, X., Khaitovich, P., Graves, T., Osoegawa, K., Church, D., DeJong, P., Wilson, R.K., Pääbo, S., Rocchi, M. and Eichler, E.E., A Genome-Wide Comparison of Recent Chimpanzee and Human Segmental Duplications, Nature 437:88–93, 2005. Return to text.
  13. Newman, T.L. et al., A genome-wide survey of structural variation between human and chimpanzee, Genome Res. 15:1344–1356, 2005. Return to text.
  14. Marques-Bonet, T. et al., A burst of segmental duplications in the genome of the African great ape ancestor, Nature 457:877–881, 2009. Return to text.
  15. Hobolth, A. et al., Genomic Relationships and Speciation Times of Human, Chimpanzee, and Gorilla Inferred from a Coalescent Hidden Markov Model, PLOS Genetics 3:0294–0304, 2007. Return to text.
  16. Hughes, J.F. et al., Chimpanzee and human Y chromosomes are remarkably divergent in structure and gene content, Nature 463:536–539, 2010. Return to text.
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New MRI Research May Lead to Improved Diagnosis of Autism.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) may provide an early and objective indicator of autism, according to researchers at Columbia University in New York City, who used the technique to document language impairment in autistic children. Results of their study appear online and in the August issue ofRadiology.

Autism is a spectrum disorder characterized by repetitive behaviors and impaired language, communication and social interactions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that as many as one in every 110 children is affected by autism.

“With the extraordinarily high prevalence of autism, you would think there would be an objective diagnosis for the disorder,” said Joy Hirsch, Ph.D., a professor at Columbia University Medical School and director of the Functional MRI Laboratory. “However, the diagnosis of autism currently remains limited to parent and clinician observation of missed developmental milestones.”

In the study, researchers performed fMRI exams on 15 control children (mean age: 12.1) and 12 language-impaired and age-matched autistic children (mean age: 12.4). Using fMRI, the researchers were able to measure neural activity in working brain tissues while the children listened to recordings of their parents talking to them.

Activation levels during passive stimulation were measured within two regions of the brain: the primary auditory cortex (A1) and superior temporal gyrus (STG), a region associated with sentence comprehension. Brain activation maps for each patient were then computed using statistical linear modeling.

Activity in the A1 region of the brain did not differ between autistic and control patients. However, activation within the STG was greater for control children relative to autistic patients.

“These findings first tell us that the autistic children in our study appeared normal with respect to the primary auditory system,” Hirsch said. “But it appears that the STG in the autistic brains was not as sensitive to the language narratives as was the STG in the brains of the typical children.”

An additional 27 autistic children undergoing routine MRI exams with sedation were also included in the study. Using a similar analysis of sedation-adjusted values from the control group, the researchers identified 26 of 27 (96 percent) sedated autistic patients with autism.

“This study suggests that fMRI acquired during listening to a language narrative can be used to distinguish children with autism from those without,” Hirsch said. “Based on these initial findings, future studies using these or similar fMRI methods may result in an early and objective imaging indicator for autism.”

Some children with autism spectrum disorders can benefit from intensive behavior therapy, but early intervention is key.

“The need for an early, objective diagnosis is enormous,” Hirsch said.

The title of the study is “Speech Stimulation during Functional MR Imaging as a Potential Indicator of Autism.” Collaborating with Hirsch were Grace Lai, Ph.D., Harry D. Schneider, M.D., and Johanna C. Schwarzenberger, M.D.



When Was the Last Time You Took a Spiritual Break?

Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life. ~Buddha

It was a beautiful Friday afternoon,  as my dear friend and I were catching up over the telephone discussing our favorite topic “Life Talks”.  The Life talks always consists of our love for spirituality, novels we are reading, career aspirations, inner reflection and life dreams. My loving friend  whom I have known for years, is a blessing from above,  wise beyond her years.   Eloquent with her words and always able to put life into perspective. As we were conversing with one another, she had an “Ah Ha” moment.


It was as if she read my mind and understood how I was feeling!  The “Ah Ha” moment was the realization that we both were in need of a “Spiritual Break”.

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

What is a spiritual break one might ask? Well it is embracing the present moment, being in the NOW!  Taking a break from everything and learning to practice what one preaches. Instead of reading a book, doing countless mediation classes and workshops just surrender and let life flow.

Just be, remember to breathe,  give yourself a break, spend time in nature, travel, learn a new language and spend time with family and friends. The importance is to accept life the way it is and that will lead to answers one is seeking.

Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life  ~Eckhart Tolle

Some of the most enlightened beings such as Jesus, Buddha and the Dali Lama practiced two simple methods for inner peace; meditation and prayer.There are times when we overextend ourselves trying to improve as much as we can.  Its is almost as if we are searching for peace through other means. This ultimately brings a sense of being overwhelmed.

Life is simple, all we need to do is calm the mind and search within. As I end this article I have a few words I would like to share with everyone: be free, live your dreams, don’t be hard on yourself and trust that the best is coming your way! The inner power and light is within your reach always, deep within your soul. Giving a big thanks to my friend Priya Sharma who inspired me to write this article.

Source: purpose fairy


Internships Are Increasingly the Route to Winning a Job.

More Industries Pick From the Summer Talent, Raising the Stakes

Internship season is under way, and unless business students are already spending the summer with their dream employer, a full-time offer may be out of reach.


Banks and consulting firms have long funneled interns into full-time roles, but companies in other industries are increasingly turning to summer M.B.A. talent when they’re ready to make permanent hires, with some locking in candidates nearly a year ahead of their start date.

At many schools, it isn’t uncommon for one-third to a half of M.B.A. students to work for their summer employer after graduation, and administrators say that figure—which had dipped during the recession—is still on the rise. The trend suggests optimism on employers’ parts, but it also raises the stakes for students, who begin the summer recruiting process almost as soon as they arrive on campus.

“It puts a lot of pressure on first-years to make an early decision that could affect the next three to five years,” says Jack Oakes, assistant dean for career development at University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

More than 40% of students from Darden’s 2012 M.B.A. class took full-time jobs with their summer-internship employers, up from 25% in 2010. Data for the latest class aren’t yet available.

At Columbia Business School, 31% of the M.B.A.s who graduated in 2012 took full-time jobs with their summer employers, and Regina Resnick, associate dean and managing director of the career management center, says this year could go even higher. In 2010, fewer than one in five Columbia M.B.A. students landed jobs that way, according to a school report.


Offering employment a year in advance to students at the conclusion of their internships suggests firms are upbeat about their long-term hiring needs, says Ms. Resnick. At the same time, she adds, it cuts risk by allowing companies to get a preview before they commit for the long haul.

Paul King, corporate director of talent acquisition at Caesars EntertainmentCorp., CZR +1.86% likens the internship to a “try before you buy” approach.

The casino operator selects 10 to 15 M.B.A. students for its corporate internship program annually, and while Caesars returns to campus for additional recruiting each fall, it doesn’t have room for many new faces: Five of this year’s six full-time M.B.A. hires had been summer interns.

Companies report that 69% of summer interns who applied for full-time positions received offers, according to a recent survey from the Graduate Management Admission Council, with even higher conversion rates in consulting, finance and accounting.

It has always been tough for students to land full-time positions at finance firms without having spent a summer there. Scott Rostan, founder of Training the Street Inc., which provides financial-training courses for new Wall Street employees, says many of his clients fill 80% to 90% of their full-time classes with interns from the previous summer.

At consulting firms, the window for non-interns isn’t much wider.

Up to 40% of the 400 full-time M.B.A.s that Bain & Co.’s U.S. operation hires each year are former summer associates, according to Russ Hagey, world-wide chief talent officer. Another third of campus recruits worked at the firm before attending business school, leaving just under one-third of the slots for students without prior experience at Bain.

Technology firms and startups are beginning to follow suit, as recruiters compete with bigger companies for talent.

At Enova International Inc., a Chicago-based online lender that started its summer internship program in 2009, the internship is a “working interview,” says Sarah Doll, senior director of talent management.

Enova had 18 interns last summer, with five now returning for full-time positions, mainly in its analytics department. Ms. Doll says she expects the company to hire a larger share of this summer’s crop of 24 interns.

Even students who don’t plan on returning to their internship employers still may need that offer in hand.

Karthik Ramachandran, a recent graduate of Columbia Business School, interned at Booz & Co. last summer but aspired to a full-time job at a larger consulting firm. Having an offer from Booz made him a more attractive applicant, he says, as it indicated he had already been vetted by another reputable source.

Mr. Ramachandran, 32 years old, says that classmates who hadn’t secured offers from their summer employers rarely made it past the first round of interviews with consulting firms. He has accepted a full-time offer at McKinsey & Co.


How to Score a Higher Salary.

When negotiating for a salary, most of us reach for a nice, round number like $65,000. Or $90,000. Or $120,000.

But, by favoring all those zeros, we may be missing an opportunity to score a better deal, according to a new paper from researchers at Columbia Business School. They found that using more precise numbers in an initial request—or anchor, as it is known in negotiating parlance—generally results in a higher final settlement.


Precision conveys the impression that the job candidate has done extensive research and deeply understands the market for his services, said Malia Mason, the lead author of the paper and a professor at Columbia who teaches a course on managerial negotiations. When people use round numbers, by contrast, they’re conveying that they have only a general sense of the market rate for their skills.

The idea for studying the issue of precision came to Ms. Mason last year when she was taking a taxi in Prague and negotiating with the cabdriver over the fare. He asked her for 1,000 korunas, a figure that struck her as relatively arbitrary. “It made me think about how we use round numbers, and what they convey about the state of our knowledge,” she said.

In one experiment, Ms. Mason and her team had 130 sets of people negotiate the price of a used car. When buyers suggested a round anchor, they ended up paying an average of $2,963 more than their initial offer. But buyers who suggested a precise number for a first offer paid only $2,256 more, on average, than that number in the end.

When it comes to negotiating salary, Ms. Mason’s research indicates that a job candidate asking for $63,500 might receive a counteroffer of $62,000, while the request for $65,000 is more likely to yield a counteroffer of, say, $60,000, as the hiring manager assumes the candidate has thrown out a broad ballpark estimate.

“We often think a higher anchor is the way to go,” said Ms. Mason. “But you risk upsetting people if you’re too extreme. We found that you could be less extreme if you were precise and still do better in the end.” The best strategy, she added, is to start with a high (but not extreme) number that is also precise.

So next time you ask for a raise or get offered a new job, consider asking for something like $92,350. And ignore the odd looks you may receive in response.


Is the Boss Looking at You? You’d Better Hope So.

How do people gauge their career progress: Praise from the boss? Landing a promotion? Scoring an office with a window?

Another important leading indicator is often missed – the amount of eye contact received from co-workers and supervisors. If the boss looks at you longer than at your co-workers during conversations or meetings, it may be a sign your star is rising.


A growing body of research shows eye contact signals status and influence in both one-on-one conversations and group meetings. High-status people receive more visual attention from their conversation partners, says a 2009 research review in the journal, Image and Vision Computing.

People who are seen as lacking in influence, however, get less eye contact from influential participants in meetings, according to another study published in 2010 in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior. The pattern is strongest among male bosses, says the study of 17 work teams composed of a total of 94 people in several workplaces.

The most dominant person in a small group spends more time speaking than others, and also looks longer at others when speaking, the study says. Gazing into others’ eyes is a way of dominating the conversation. High-status women use even more eye contact than men to establish their dominance during meetings, the study says. The demands on women managers may cause them to feel “they need to be tougher than a man to succeed at the workplace,” the study says.

But when researchers assessed “visual egalitarianism” – the degree to which speakers allocated their eye contact evenly among other meeting participants, regardless of status – high-status women tend to be more democratic than men, dividing their eye contact equally among all other participants in a group. High-status men tended to spend more time looking at other high-status participants.

Many people are unaware of the importance of eye contact in conveying a message, as reported in today’s “Work & Family” column. The nonverbal elements of a speaker’s presentation – passion, voice and “presence” as conveyed largely through facial expression and eye contact  – account for 65% of listeners’ evaluations, compared with only 35% that is based on the content of the presentation and the speaker’s apparent knowledge of the topic, according to research by Quantified Impressions, a communications analytics company.

“We see this over and over again: Everyone is focused on the words they’re saying, and they don’t realize that these nuances, and how they’re saying it, is sending an even stronger signal than their words,” says Briar Goldberg, director of feedback for Quantified Impressions.

Readers, are you ever annoyed by bosses’ or co-workers lack of eye contact? Have you been in a situation where a supervisor or colleague stopped looking at you? How did you interpret it? Do you consciously use eye contact to convey an impression or to influence or impress others?  If so, what works for you?