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?