Man-monkey split called messy affair

One of the most detailed comparisons yet of human and chimp DNA shows that the split between the two species was a long, messy affair that may even have featured an unusual evolutionary version of breakup sex.
Previous genetic research has shown that chimpanzees and humans are sister species, having split off from a common ancestor about 7 million years ago. The new study goes further by looking at approximately 800 times more DNA than earlier efforts.
“For the first time we’re able to see the details written out in the DNA,” said Eric Lander, one of the collaborators on the study. “What they tell us at the least is that the human-chimp speciation was very unusual.”
Unusual, indeed. The researchers, from the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, propose humans and chimpanzees first split up about 10 million years ago. Then, after evolving in different directions for 4 million years, they got back together for a brief fling that produced a third, hybrid population with characteristics of both lines. That genetic collaboration gave rise to two branches â.. one leading to humans and the other to chimps.
TheStar.com – Man-monkey split called messy affair