Understanding Adaptive Evolution in the Human Genome

I haven’t got much time to read the following paper, review and translate it for ya but P-ter of Gene Expression has and done so. The paper comes out of PLoS Genetics‘ press and is titled, Localizing Recent Adaptive Evolution in the Human Genome. You should be interested because P-ter calls this a “magnificent paper, and should be required reading for anyone interested in the field of human evolutionary genetics.” From P-ter’s run down of important things too look out for, I’ve plucked off two things that I find interesting to anthropology:

  1. They find selected loci in pathways for skin color (including SLC24A5) and hair morphology in Europeans. It’s always seemed somewhat obvious that the major visible differences between population groups should be selected for, but this provides important evidence in favor of that.
  2. There seems to be much evidence for selection making populations different, less so for selection affecting all populations equally. Human evolution is continuing, and making us genetically different.

So we are all evolving unequally and there seems to be strong changes in genes that we attribute to the manifestation of race, such as skin color. Very interesting. I wonder how that may change our discipline’s definition of race as a social construct?

6 thoughts on “Understanding Adaptive Evolution in the Human Genome

  1. “Very interesting. I wonder how that may change our discipline’s definition of race as a social construct?”

    Using a more precise descriptive like “differently” as opposed to “unequally” is probably less likely to induce anthropologists to go into shock.

    ;-)

  2. Haha, true Razib — I guess I should be more careful with my word choice but the flip side of this word choice is that unequally will do exactly what you describe, get some anthro-folk to rethink their stance on race and maybe induce shock. We’ll see.

  3. The fact is that we are NOT evolving, we are de-volving. Every aspect of every life form on earth are in a state of increasingly frequent negative changes. Now and then a change that appears to be positive raises its head, but it doesn’t last.

    Evolutionists claim that gradual changes have been going on for eons, and has resulted in such things as ‘monkey’ to man evolution. This of course is no more than heresy. There is NO proof for their claims. Where are the hundreds of billions of intermediate life forms that should be there if evolution were true? They are absent, and that is the absolute truth. What brach of legitimate science would tolerate such flimsy claims of proof? NONE, and that’s a fact. But the argument can be solved…

    If evolutionists want to end the arguments all they have to do is, get their brilliant heads together and assemble a ‘simple’ living cell. This should be possible, since they certainly have a very great amount of knowledge about what is inside the ‘simple’ cell.

    After all, shouldn’t all the combined Intelligence of all the worlds scientist be able the do what chance encounters with random chemicals, without a set of instructions, accomplished about 4 billion years ago,according to the evolutionists, having no intelligence at all available to help them along in their quest to become a living entity. Surely then the evolutionists scientists today should be able to make us a ‘simple’ cell.

    If it weren’t so pitiful it would be humorous, that intelligent people have swallowed the evolution mythology.

    Beyond doubt, the main reason people believe in evolution is that sources they admire, say it is so. It would pay for these people to do a thorough examination of all the evidence CONTRARY to evolution that is readily available: Try answersingenesis.org. The evolutionists should honestly examine the SUPPOSED evidence ‘FOR’ evolution for THEMSELVES.

    Build us a cell, from scratch, with the required raw material, that is with NO cell material, just the ‘raw’ stuff, and the argument is over. But if the scientists are unsuccessful, perhaps they should try Mother Earth’s recipe, you know, the one they claim worked the first time about 4 billion years ago, so they say. All they need to do is to gather all the chemicals that we know are essential for life, pour them into a large clay pot and stir vigorously for a few billion years, and Walla, LIFE!

    Oh, you don’t believe the ‘original’ Mother Earth recipe will work? You are NOT alone, Neither do I, and MILLIONS of others!

  4. There is a battle between evolution and creation and the battle might be stopped if the evolutionists could present some viable evidence. The best way to stop this war of words is for the evolutionists to approach the most important thing in their theory. But, they keep their distance and try to neglect it, and it will not go away. Here is the way to stop the battle… and end the war…

    Surely all they have to do is, get their brilliant heads together and assemble a ‘simple’ living cell. This should be possible, since they certainly have a very great amount of knowledge about what is inside the ‘simple’ cell.

    After all, shouldn’t all the combined Intelligence of all the worlds scientist be able the do what chance encounters with random chemicals, without a set of instructions, accomplished about 4 billion years ago,according to the evolutionists, having no intelligence at all available to help them along in their quest to become a living entity. Surely then the evolutionists scientists today should be able to make us a ‘simple’ cell.

    If it weren’t so pitiful it would be humorous, that intelligent people have swallowed the evolution mythology.

    Beyond doubt, the main reason people believe in evolution is that sources they admire, say it is so. It would pay for these people to do a thorough examination of all the evidence CONTRARY to evolution that is readily available: Try answersingenesis.org. The evolutionists should honestly examine the SUPPOSED evidence ‘FOR’ evolution for THEMSELVES.

    Build us a cell, from scratch, with the required raw material, that is with NO cell material, just the ‘raw’ stuff, and the argument is over. But if the scientists are unsuccessful, perhaps they should try Mother Earth’s recipe, you know, the one they claim worked the first time about 4 billion years ago, so they say. All they need to do is to gather all the chemicals that we know are essential for life, pour them into a large clay pot and stir vigorously for a few billion years, and Walla, LIFE!

    Oh, you don’t believe the ‘original’ Mother Earth recipe will work? You are NOT alone, Neither do I, and MILLIONS of others!

  5. Voila, another know-nothing:

    The falsity of ID is proved by the existence of those who “believe in” it.

    eye-of-horus

  6. I guess the proof is in the pudding.
    We understand that life on earth has evolved from a common source. For the creationists, the souce lies in an unprovable higher power; a higher power that sits outside the natural conditions and processes of all known lifeforms on earth. Evolutionary theory provides us with a source that is already in the natural state. It also provides us with way of understanding incremental adaptation of lifeforms and the faster punctuated changes that lifeforms progresses through, all within the given natural order. So I guess I am confused on how “building” a cell would prove evolution theory. Or how the inability to build cells proves the exsistence of a higher power. we can certianly demonstrate the micro-evolutionary changes of single cell lifeforms through natural conditions. We can even harvest cells and demonstrate their ability to proliferate in oncology. Doesn’t that demonstrate that life changes within the natural order and not through the manipulation of something outside? I wonder if it is possible that one blogger overestimates our current understanding of ALL there is to know about cells, their structures and how they would develope from a primordeal condition. Yet, it does beg the question as to why a supreme being is the only logical answer to the question.

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