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How Genetically Similar Are We To Other Life Forms?

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Comparing Genetic Similarities Between Humans and Other Life Forms

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The Briefing

  • Chimps are 98.8% genetically similar, making them one of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom
  • The genetic similarity between humans and fruit flies is 60%

Comparing Human Genetic Similarity to Other Life Forms

Of the three billion genetic building blocks that make us living things, only a handful are uniquely ours. In fact, despite our differences on the outside, humans are 99.9% genetically similar to one another.

But how alike are we to other, non-human life forms? Turns out, we’re a lot more similar than you might think.

Comparative Genomics 101

First, how do scientists compare the genetic makeup of various life forms?

Comparative genomics is a branch of biology that compares genome sequences across different species to identify their similarities and differences.

This field of research is important because it:

  • Helps us better understand evolution, and how living things have adapted over time.
  • Builds knowledge around genes and how they influence various systems in our bodies.
  • Has wider applications in agriculture, especially in conservation efforts among endangered species.

According to the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), scientists have already sequenced the genomes of more than 250 animal species, as well as 50 bird species.

Human Genetic Makeup vs. Other Life Forms

Perhaps unsurprisingly, chimps are one of our closest genetic relatives in the animal kingdom.

Because of our similarities, chimpanzees have a similar immune system to humans, which means they’re susceptible to viruses such as AIDS and hepatitis.

Though chimps are one of our closest relatives, other species are strongly linked to humans as well—and not necessarily the ones you’d think.

CategoryGenetic Similarity
Humans and Humans 99.9%
Humans and Chimps98.8%
Humans and Dogs94%
Humans and Cats90%
Humans and Cows80%
Humans and Fruit Flies60%
Humans and Bananas60%

For instance, according to NHGRI, fruit flies are 60% genetically similar to humans.

This may sound confusing at first, since humans and insects couldn’t be more physically different. However, because we share many of the same essential needs to sustain life, such as the need for oxygen, these similarities are reflected in our genetics.

DNA vs Genes

It’s important to note that being genetically similar to something is different than sharing the same DNA. That’s because genes (the part of DNA responsible for making protein) only account for up to 2% of your DNA, while the rest of your genome is made up of what scientists call “non-coding DNA.”

So while a banana is 60% genetically similar to humans, only 1.2% of our DNA is shared.

» Like this? Then check out this article on Earth’s Biomass

Where does this data come from?

Sources: National Human Genome Research Institute, Genome Research, Science Magazine
Details:: This post was inspired by an article published in Business Insider

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Datastream

Charting the Rise of Cross-Border Money Transfers (2015-2023)

With over 280 million immigrants transferring billions of dollars annually, the remittance industry has become more valuable than ever.

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The Briefing

  • 79% of remittance payments in 2022 were made to low and middle-income countries.
  • Borderless, low-cost money transfer services like those provided by Wise can help immigrants support their families.

The Rise of Cross-Border Money Transfers

The remittance industry has experienced consistent growth recently, solidifying its position as a key component of the global financial landscape. Defined as the transfer of money from one country to another, usually to support a dependent, remittances play a pivotal role in providing food, healthcare, and education.

In this graphic, sponsored by Scottish Mortgage, we delve into the growth of the remittance industry, and the key factors propelling its success.

Powered by Immigration

With over 280 million immigrants worldwide, the remittance industry has an important place in our global society.

By exporting billions of dollars annually back to their starting nations, immigrants can greatly improve the livelihoods of their families and communities.

This is particularly true for low and middle-income countries, who in 2022 received, on average, 79% of remittance payments, according to Knomad, an initiative of the World Bank.

YearLow/Middle Income (US$ Billion)World Total (US$ Billion)
2015$447B$602B
2016$440B$596B
2017$477B$638B
2018$524B$694B
2019$546B$722B
2020$542B$711B
2021$597B$781B
2022$626B$794B
2023$639B$815B

India is one of the global leaders in receiving remittance payments. In 2022 alone, over $100 billion in remittances were sent to India, supporting many families. 

Enter Wise

As the global remittance industry continues to grow, it is important to acknowledge the role played by innovative money transfer operators like Wise.

With an inclusive, user-centric platform and competitive exchange rates, Wise makes it easy and cost-effective for millions of individuals to send money home, worldwide.

Connection Without Borders

But Wise doesn’t just offer remittance solutions, the company offers a host of account services and a payment infrastructure that has helped over 6.1 million active customers move over $30 billion in the first quarter of 2023 alone.

Want to invest in transformative companies like Wise?

Discover Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, a portfolio of some of the world’s most exciting growth companies.

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