Scientists Discover What Makes An Organutan An Orangutan

Wednesday - 2/2/2011, 12:26pm EST

Researchers with the National Science Foundation say they've discovered what makes an organutan an orangutan. They're not being specious... But rather claim that a new map of the genetic code of endangered orangutans will yield important new conservation tools and insights into evolution.

For the first time, scientists have mapped the genome--the genetic code--of orangutans. There are two species of orangutans, defined primarily by their island of origin--either Sumatra, where there about 75-hundred of the creatures, and they're considered critically-endangered -- or Borneo where there are about about 50,000.

The map of the orangutan genome may support conservation efforts by helping zoos create breeding programs designed to maintain the genetic diversity of captive populations, which can improve a species' resiliency.