State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Katherine Pollard: What Makes Us Human?

For the past six years Katherine Pollard has been working with the Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium comparing the genes of chimps and humans in order to more fully understand how the human genome has evolved. Using the software she created to study genomic data, Pollard was able to identify the areas of the human genome that evolved the fastest, and are therefore the most likely to have affected its evolution.

Her recent article in Scientific American describes the specific differences and similarities between human and chimp genomes, which share 99% of the same DNA, she and others in the consortium have found up to this point. These genomic discrepancies are an important step towards answering the question: What makes us human?

Pollard spoke at the California Academy of Sciences earlier this month about the Chimp Genome Project. Below is a 3 minute excerpt from the hour-long talk:

To see the whole talk, go to

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments