Researchers in Cambridge have deciphered the genetic code of the gorilla – the last of the Great Ape genuses to be sequenced.
Writing in the journal Nature, the scientists say that researchers can now begin to examine the similarities and differences between the apes.
Genome sequences of humans, chimpanzees and orangutans are already published.
The team hopes their work will help to uncover genetic mutations that led to language, culture and science.
“I’d like to think that in the next 20 or 30 years we will get a deeper understanding of what happened genetically in our evolutionary history, and of how those genes affect the brain and other properties that make us modern humans,” said Richard Durbin of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, who led the study.