Only a few molecules separate you from having sensory whiskers and penis spines. That's right - evolution has cheated you out of those whiskers that make your cat a super-sensor and the spines that, well, make your penis super-sensitive. A study published today in Nature reveals that human DNA still bears traces of genes that could, if tinkered with slightly, cause the next generation of Homo sapiens to have new sensory organs. And penis spines. How would that work?
The researchers who conducted this study wanted to know whether there were any obvious spots on the human genome that could explain why we are so different from our chimp cousins, whose genomes are so similar to ours. After a lot of analysis, they discovered that there are 510 spots on the human genome that look like chimp DNA - except with a few key deletions. And most of these deletions are in areas of "regulatory DNA," bits of the genome that can control other bits, often by turning genes on or off. You could say that our genome has deleted the switches that activate chimp-like traits.
Find out more on io9: A drug that could make you grow sensory whiskers (and a penis spine)