Strange cousins

The Human Genome Project is not all about humans. It is also about mice, chicken, fish and flies. It is about primitive creatures most of us have never heard of. It is also about worms and weeds. As sequencing of these organisms proceeds simultaneously with the human genome, scientists are arriving at an astonishing realisation. Even the most primitive organisms share some genes with humans.

How about these facts: mice share 80 per cent of their genes with humans while chimpanzees share about 99 per cent which brings chimps closer to humans than to gorillas. But then why do we humans look so different? The answer lies in the way the genes are used. For instance, the genes responsible for tail development are never activated in humans and so they are tail-less, but the same genes are allowed to carry out their functions in mice.