Evolution's Footprints in Human Genome Precisely Tracked Using New Approach
Added: Mon, 11 Jan 2010 00:00:00 UTC
Thanks to rod-the-farmer for the link.
ScienceDaily (Jan. 8, 2010) — Fossils may provide tantalizing clues to human history but they also lack some vital information, such as revealing which pieces of human DNA have been favored by evolution because they confer beneficial traits -- resistance to infection or the ability to digest milk, for example. These signs can only be revealed through genetic studies of modern humans and other related species, though the task has proven difficult.
Now, in a paper appearing in the January 7 edition of Science Express, researchers describe a method for pinpointing these preferred regions within the human genome that offers greater precision and resolution than ever before, and the possibility of deeply understanding both our genetic past and present.
"It's clear that positive natural selection has been a critical force in shaping the human genome, but there are remarkably few examples that have been clearly identified," said senior author Pardis Sabeti, an associate member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT and an assistant professor of organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University. "The method we've developed makes it possible to zero in on individual genes as well as the specific changes within them that are driving important evolutionary changes."
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