We now firmly live in an age that is post-DNA. Our moment has come to understand that it's not about DNA itself (the secret of life was not revealed in 1953) but about how DNA (genetic information) is played.
A new study demonstrates that specific traits that distinguish humans from their closest living relatives — chimpanzees, with whom we share 96 percent of our DNA — can be attributed to the loss of chunks of DNA that control when and where certain genes are turned on. The finding mirrors accumulating evidence from other species that changes to regulatory regions of DNA — rather than to the genes themselves — underlie many of the new features that organisms acquire through evolution.
Later in the article:
(Happy to learn that we have lost spiny penises.) This current and dynamic understanding about genes, which is a solid shift away from a metaphysical view of DNA, throws into question the whole Human Genome Project. It was expensive and consumed massive amounts of intellectual and technical resources. This project, however, might be deeply flawed precisely because it was driven by a metaphysical understanding of DNA.
Careful analysis of a handful of these segments demonstrated that loss of regulatory DNA could explain how humans developed some features not found in other animals — such as big brains — as well as how they lost features common in other species, such as sensory whiskers and spiny penises.