Yeast, mice, and the uniqueness of you

It is said that we are all connected. But what does that mean? How much similarity is there among the creatures of Earth?

We turn to genetic science for answers. 100% of all humans have the same genes, but some of these genes contain the sequence differences that make each person unique. There is only a 2% DNA difference between humans and chimpanzees. There is an 8% DNA difference between humans and mice, but there is a 74% difference between humans and yeast.

The American philosopher William James wrote in an essay, The Importance of Individuals:

An unlearned carpenter of my acquaintance once said in my hearing: “There is very little difference between one man and another; but what little there is, is very important.”

Relatively small differences in DNA make a tremendous difference to the outcome.

Trillions of digital messages fly around the world every year, from person to person. The words we use may be similar, yet the messages we write can uniquely define each of us.