All living organisms on Earth seem to share the same basic DNA code, inherited from a common ancestor that lived around 1.6 billion years ago. Studying the genomes of different species can tell us just how close we are to them on planet's "family tree." We're most closely related to the group of primates known as the great apes, which includes chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas. But we still share some of our genes with insects, plants, and fungi—about 25% with a rice plant, and 18% with baker's yeast, for example.
What is a gene?
Key Facts In This Video
Genes code for proteins that can interact with each other and perform certain functions in the body. 00:55
One of the reasons that scientists think all life on Earth is related is that the basic DNA code is the same for all organisms. 02:22
Genetic modification has allowed scientists to create new kinds of food and bacteria. 03:18
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