The Buzz: Recent Selection in Human Evolution

A new paper published in Genome Research provides the most comprehensive scan to date of the genetic signatures of natural selection resulting from the last 10-40,000 years of human evolution, with some intriguing results. The results show strikingly different patterns of selection in distantly related human populations, suggesting that different human groups have adapted to their environments in different ways. Many of the regions seen to be most subject to selection contain genes of unknown function—or no genes at all—but regions linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes showed a remarkable enrichment of selection. The paper called into question John Hawks's theory of recent acceleration, popularized in the recently published The 10,000 Year Explosion. But Hawks explains in a blog post that the findings are not at odds with his theory, and the paper's author Joe Pickrell also clarified in a comment on Genetic Future, "I'll point out (as did John Hawks) that this paper is not an explicit test of the 'acceleration hypothesis.'"

Related ScienceBlogs Posts:

More like this

I'll hopefully have more time to write about this tomorrow, but for now I'll simply suggest that you go and read the free full text PDF of this advance online manuscript in Genome Research. This is the most important recent paper in the field of human evolutionary genetics - a thorough and careful…
Pickrell, J., Coop, G., Novembre, J., Kudaravalli, S., Li, J., Absher, D., Srinivasan, B., Barsh, G., Myers, R., Feldman, M., & Pritchard, J. (2009). Signals of recent positive selection in a worldwide sample of human populations Genome Research DOI: 10.1101/gr.087577.108I pointed yesterday to…
There's been a whole lot of hype around the Hawks et al. paper describing a recent burst of adaptive evolution in the human genome. The problem is a lot of people are conflating accelerated adaptive evolution with accelerated evolution. Take this for example: 12/11: Accelerated Human Evolution In…
The Genetics of Human Adaptation: Hard Sweeps, Soft Sweeps, and Polygenic Adaptation: There has long been interest in understanding the genetic basis of human adaptation. To what extent are phenotypic differences among human populations driven by natural selection? With the recent arrival of large…