Monday, May 04, 2009

'Human evolution has largely come to a halt'

"Evidence shows that human evolution has largely come to a halt," says University College London geneticist Steve Jones. (Cosmos)

According to Jones, evolution requires three components: variation (via DNA mutations), natural selection (via each individuals differences) and isolation (so that "advantageous genes are not swamped and diluted by the movement of genes from outside the population").

"All three components have more or less disappeared," argues Jones. "So, if you're worried what utopia might be like, you don't need to anymore because you are living in it right now."

Pound360 read through Jones' article, and it's heavy on anecdotes, but light on hard data. And how critical are Jones' "three Components?" Michael White, a biochemist at the Washington University School of Medicine argues, "isolation is important for speciation -- the generation of two (or more) new species from one, but it is absolutely not necessary for evolution in general." (
Science Blogging)

And according to anthropologist John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin, "
our evolution has recently accelerated by around 100-fold" due to "the pressures of modern life" and an exploding population. "Today, beneficial mutation must be happening far more than ever before, since there are more than 6 billion of us."

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.