Everyone knows that the Earth is not at the centre of the universe and that mankind has descended from the apes. But what about this: according to the latest estimates, we share 98.8 per cent of our DNA with the chimpanzees. What distinguishes us from our closest living relative is due to a 1.2 per cent genetic distance.Now the race is on to decipher the chimp genome, a draft of which will be published later this year. By superimposing the human genome on the chimp's, researchers hope finally to shed light upon the genetic basis of human nature. In fact, some hints of genes underlying uniquely human traits, such as our big brains as well as our ability to use language, have already been discovered.We shared our last common ancestor with the chimpanzee about six million years ago.