Banana and Human Genetics
Location: Outside U.S.
Date: Spring 2012
We share 50% of the genes with a banana so that means we share a common ancestor with a banana?
That is exactly what it means. That common ancestor was probably a single-celled thing quite a long time ago.
Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D., M.Ed.
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Wyoming
Yes. That's what it means.
Indeed we do share a very distant common ancestor with the banana. Plants are descended from a primitive form of algae that diverged from other eukaryotic organisms approximately 1.5 billion years ago (or 1500 millioni years ago). Since both humans and plants are eukaryotic (meaning they have cellular organelles), humans are much more closely related to plants than to bacteria, though all share a common ancestor. Isn't it remarkable that with fundamentally the same building blocks life has created so much diversity?
S Unterman Ph.D.
In actuality – yes. But it was a long way back there in the dim days when plant and animal cells diverged. .
Since both animals and plants live on earth, in an oxygen rich environment and use the same chemical reactions to exist, the similarity is not surprising. This despite any relationships. If an organism is going to live on earth the options for chemical systems are limited (except in very rare circumstances) to those based upon oxygen..
So, don’t worry that you are not peeling great great, great Uncle Fred at lunch.
R. W. "Mr. A." Avakian
Arts and Sciences/LRC
Oklahoma State Univ. Inst. of Technology
Yes! If you really think about it, it makes good sense. In nature, things that work well are conserved, things that do not... dissappear.
The plants and animals are both currently present. So there must be commonalities that were conserved.
For example: The enzymes in the plant that effect respiration must function in a similar manner to those of any animal. So it just stands to reason that some of that functionality would have been retained from a common ancestor.
At the genetic level, that functionality would present the similarities very clearly.
Peter E. Hughes, Ph.D.
Yes. In theory, we share a common ancestor with all living things; our ancestor is the first living thing. So plants and animals eventually split from each other.
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Update: June 2012