Assessment | Biopsychology | Comparative | Cognitive | Developmental | Language | Individual differences | Personality | Philosophy | Social |
Methods | Statistics | Clinical | Educational | Industrial | Professional items | World psychology |

Biological: Behavioural genetics · Evolutionary psychology · Neuroanatomy · Neurochemistry · Neuroendocrinology · Neuroscience · Psychoneuroimmunology · Physiological Psychology · Psychopharmacology (Index, Outline)

Genetic distance is a measure of the dissimilarity of genetic material between different species or individuals of the same species.

All of life today is based upon the molecule of inheritance, DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). DNA molecules are a double helix, similar to a spiral staircase, in which the backbone sides are comprised of alternating 5-carbon deoxyribose sugar and a phosphate molecule, whilst the "rungs" of the staircase are nitrogenous purine and pyrimidine bases. These bases are adenine (A), which always pairs with thymine (T), and guanine (G), which always pairs with cytosine (C). It is the sequence of these bases on the helix, (e.g. ATTTCGCCAAG) which is copied and passed to descendants in cellular reproduction.

By comparing the percentage difference between the same genes or junk DNA of different species, a figure can be obtained, which is a measure of "genetic distance". Depending upon the difference, and correcting this for known rates of evolution, genetic distance can be used as a tool to construct cladograms showing the family tree of all living beings.

For instance, the fact that the genetic distance of chimpanzees and human beings is only 1.6% (they are about 98.4% identical), suggests that human beings and chimpanzees last had a common ancestor about 5 million years ago, and that chimpanzees and humans are more closely related than either of the two species are related to gorillas and orangutan (which diverged about 9 million years ago, and 12 million years ago, respectively).

There are several different methods for defining genetic distance. One genetic distance measure is given by the formula D=−log(In). The quantity In is called the "genetic identity" or "genetic similarity", and defined as In=ΣI÷#loci, where I=(Σ Pix•Piy)÷[(ΣPix²)·( ΣPiy²)]½. Pix is the proportion of allele i in population X, Piy is the proportion of allele i in population Y.


This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.