Wednesday, September 14, 2005

633: Brain May Still Be Evolving, Studies Hint - New York Times

Brain May Still Be Evolving, Studies Hint - New York Times:

Two genes involved in determining the size of the human brain have undergone substantial evolution in the last 60,000 years, researchers say, leading to the surprising suggestion that the brain is still undergoing rapid evolution.

The discovery adds weight to the view that human evolution is still a work in progress, since previous instances of recent genetic change have come to light in genes that defend against disease and confer the ability to digest milk in adulthood.

It had been widely assumed until recently that human evolution more or less stopped 50,000 years ago.
This surprises no one, in fact. I've got a stack of cases where humans are evolving, ranging from lactose intolerance to mutations which conferred protection against the Plague and now protect some people against HIV.

Don't read this to mean that particular alleles necessarily are "genetically smarter" or anything like that. It may mean that or it may not, all they are showing is change, another name for evolution.