From BBC News:
The scientists say the information is a milestone in the quest to discover what sets us apart from other animals. A comparison shows chimps and humans to be almost 99% identical in the most important areas of their “life codes”. The team tells Nature magazine that future research will tease out the significance of the few differences.
The study shows that our genomes are startlingly similar. We differ by only 1.2% in terms of the genes that code for the proteins which build and maintain our bodies. This rises to about 4%, when non-coding or “junk” DNA is taken into account. The long-term goal of the project is to pinpoint the genetic changes that led to human characteristics such as complex language, walking upright on two feet, a large brain and tool use.