Massive genetic study shows how humans are evolving

Thursday, September 7, 2017 - 09:30
Testing for the influence of sets of trait-associated variants on survival of the fathers and mothers of UK Biobank participants.

A massive genetic study by groups led by Dr. Molly Przeworski and Dr. Joe Pickrell suggests new insight into how the human genome may be evolving. They analyzed the DNA of 215,000 people in the United States and Britain and found that variants linked to Alzheimer’s disease and heavy smoking are less frequent in people with longer lifespans, suggesting that harmful mutations that shorten human lives may be selected against in both populations. This work was published in PLoS Biology and was recently featured in Nature News, where the study was highlighted as “one of the first attempts to probe directly how humans are evolving over one or two generations.”

 

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