Location: London, United Kingdom

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Trust Your Instinct

One of the most gratifying side effects of the escalation of religious, cultural, national & racial tensions is the fact that those who would have kept their mouths shut for fear of upsetting the liberal ‘elite’ (just think Cherry Blair) seem to be more willing to stick their head above the parapet. These folks are not making slanderous remarks, or casting aspersions generally but are getting down to publishing some high grade, sensitive data.
I can’t find a record of the story in the British papers, but the International Herald Tribune has printed an article about genetic research carried out among three groups: Africans, East Asians and Europeans. The research was published in October last year but now it seems is the right time to talk about this sort of thing….
The staggering conclusion is that the human race is still evolving (Cherry and her gang have claimed that this sort of nonsense stopped 10,000 years ago). Indeed, the project leader, Jonathan Pritchard of the University of Chicago stated, “There is ample evidence that selection has been a major driving point in our evolution during the last 10,000 years, and there is no reason to suppose that it has stopped".
The researchers' data is based on DNA changes in three populations gathered by the HapMap project, a venture that built on the decoding of the human genome in 2003. The authors have found many regions where selection seemed to have occurred.
The selected genes detected fall into a handful of functional categories, as might be expected if people were adapting to specific changes in their environment. Some are genes involved in digesting foods, like the lactose-digesting gene common in Europeans. Some are genes that mediate taste and smell as well as detoxify plant poisons, perhaps signaling a shift in diet from wild foods to domesticated plants and animals.
Pritchard estimates that the average era at which the selected genes started to become more common under the pressure of natural selection is 10,800 years ago in the African population and 6,600 years ago in the Asian and European populations.
Anthropologists had assumed that the first modern humans to arrive in Europe about 45,000 years ago had the dark skin of their African origins, but soon acquired the paler skin needed to admit sunlight for vitamin D synthesis.
The finding of five skin genes selected 6,600 years ago could imply that Europeans acquired their pale skin much more recently.
Pritchard also detected selection at work in brain genes, including a group known as microcephaly genes because, when disrupted, they cause people to be born with unusually small brains.


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