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Hundreds of Human genes are still evolving.

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posted on Mar, 8 2006 @ 06:48 PM
A comprehensive scan of the human genome has found that hundreds of Human genes have gone through positive natural selection processes during the past ten millenia (10,000 years).

Researchers from the University of Chicago analyzed the genomes of 209 unrelated individuals from three distinct human populations: East Asians, Europeans and Yorubans from Nigeria. Each population contained roughly 250 positively selected genes; however, most of the affected genes differed depending on the group.

Many genes were found to be evolving in all three of the human populations studied. The specific functions of many of the genes are not known, but the researchers were able to separate them into broad categories. These categories include:
    Olfaction: the researchers found many genes important for taste and smell.

    Reproduction: involved in things like sperm mobility and egg fertilization.

    Increasing brain size

    Bone development and skeletal changes

    Carbohydrate metabolism: positive selection was observed for genes involved in breaking down mannose in Yorubans, sucrose in East Asians, and lactose for Europeans. (Mannose is a sweet secretion found in some trees and shrubs, sucrose is common table sugar, and lactose is a sugar found in milk.).

    Disease resistance and pathogen protection
    Metabolism of foreign compounds, such as exotic plant proteins or animal toxins.

This is, in my opinion one of the greates scientific discoveries in quite some time.

I suspected we were still evolving.

Comments, Opinions?

posted on Mar, 8 2006 @ 06:54 PM
That's great. I have some problems with evolution on the whole (nothing major, just wanting some gaps to be filled...which I'm sure will happen in due time), but this is a great find. Seems there's alot to be learned from this discovery; and it sure seems to shed some new hopes for humanity.

Sometimes I wish evolution occurred over a shorter time span, if you know what I mean.

posted on Mar, 8 2006 @ 08:51 PM
I believe genes are evolving. I see evidence that my genes are different than many people here in the southern US. My ancestors come from colder climates. I seem to have a higher metabolism year round than several people in my current location. For instance while I can be comfortable with temps in the 60's, others around me are constantly complaining of being cold if I am comfortable and I am very hot if they are comfortable. I once thought maybe it was due to others being lazy and sitting around all day or a lack of proper vitamins and nutrients but decided it's mostly just in the genes. I've even tried being lazy and sit around all day but I was still hotter. I've lived here for years so you would think I would be acclimatized to the same temperatures but I am not. Then I know of at least a couple of people who claim they keep their house temps in the 50's year round and don't turn off their air conditioning until winter is almost here. Meanwhile a few people seem to keep their house temperature in the 80's year round. Our genes have definitely altered course somewhere.

posted on Mar, 9 2006 @ 10:58 AM

Originally posted by iori_komei
This is, in my opinion one of the greates scientific discoveries in quite some time.

I couldn't disagree more.

The fact that we are still evolving should NOT be considered a discovery at all. The only discovery made here is WHICH parts of us were evolving. And even then, only a few parts were studied - I'm sure more than a few hundred genes change.

The only reason why people would think that we were not evolving any more is because evolution is such a slow process, you can't see it happen in your lifetime. I learned this in high school ten years ago, and again in my genetics course in college a few years back.

There is no reason to say that we aren't evolving. Evolution is the only way to live and survive as a species. If you don't evolve and adapt to changes, you die out.

Another intersting point: Humans are NOT the most evolved species on the planet. In fact, all species are just as evolved as the other. They just evolved in different directions.

I also disagree about "faster" evolution. If you evolve too slow, then you won't survive changes around you. If you change too fast, you may find that the changes made are too random to be useful, or that you can't reproduce with anyone because everyone's genes are too different and won't mix.

But I admit it would be really cool to watch the entire series of evolution on fast-forward to see all the changes in a few hours.

[edit on 9-3-2006 by Ralph_The_Wonder_Llama]

posted on Mar, 9 2006 @ 01:39 PM
I say it's a great scientific discovery, because so many people just assume we either are'nt evolving anymore, or that we're as evolved as we possibly can be, and now that theres this article, it shows these peole, that we are still evolving.

posted on Mar, 9 2006 @ 04:28 PM

Originally posted by Ralph_The_Wonder_Llama

Originally posted by iori_komei
This is, in my opinion one of the greates scientific discoveries in quite some time.

I couldn't disagree more.
Blah blah blah

And I couldnt agree more with what you just posted. Was just about to write everything down after reading the first post... Some people's idea of evolution is just plain out wrong.

Actually I'll go as far as saying the article in the first post is redicilous - What is doing is actually just confirming what Darwin released in his Origin Of Species back in 1859 - That species evolve through natural selection.
The article is a disgrace to science IMHO. (yes, a bit harsh, but that is my opinion)

posted on Mar, 10 2006 @ 08:41 AM
If evolution is true why some species havent evolved in hundreds of millions of years (like Hydrolagus metallanasi or Horseshoe crabs)? Supposedly humans evolved from apes over a few million years yet the previously mention specimens are unchanged for about 350 million years?

posted on Mar, 11 2006 @ 01:01 PM
Some of the 'older' species do not need change, and any changes that have occured in them in the past have died out due to natural selection - like sharks are very old (and non bony fish), they don't have a proper breathing system and are pretty simple, however they are a perfect predator and do not need to adapt (yet..)

posted on Mar, 13 2006 @ 05:13 PM
Ralph_the_Wonder_Lama,..... I could not agree with you more. You're absolutely right. This is no "major" scientific discovery.

We are evolving, and we will continue to evolve until the end of time (our existence). As long as our environment keeps changing, we will continue to change with it. Technology, in fact, is helping us (or rather steering us) to evolve in certain ways (or are we steering our own evolution, since we developed technology? A bit of both maybe).
Basically, it is silly to assume that we've stopped evolving, but a large percentage of the public does not realize this. I can't say I blame them. After all, not everyone has the time to sit down and read a book,...they have more important priorities on their hands, like survival. As for the rest, maybe they weren't paying attention in high school.

The only interesting part of the article is being able to see the specific branches of our evolution, such as the Europeans becoming more lactose-tolerant. (Though that puzzles me a bit. I am from (Eastern) Europe, and dairy products have always been a major part of their diet (in fact, the most important ingrediant of our national dish includes dairy), going back hundreds, if not thousands of years. I know evolution takes millions of years. That part just caught my interest, because of what I just said.

posted on Mar, 13 2006 @ 05:17 PM
Good one iori_komei.

You might find this interesting too.

[url=]Time for a Human Interactome Project?[/url

For more than 50 years scientists like Max Delbrück and Conrad H. Waddington have been proposing models based on the idea that macromolecules form complex networks of functionally interacting components, and suggesting that the molecular mechanisms underlying most biological processes correspond to particular steady states adopted by such cellular networks.

Such systems-level conjectures complement molecular biology's reductionist, one-gene/one-function point-of-view in several ways. First, they provide a framework for understanding general biological properties like robustness and adaptability. It is unclear, for example, why more than half of all unique yeast genes (i.e., those without any recognizable genomic homolog) are dispensable for viability. These models also address limitations of the one-gene/one-function paradigm, such as the "gene number paradox": how species as different in complexity as worms and humans could contain approximately the same number of genes.

Systems-level models also provide testable hypotheses to explain, and not merely describe, cellular events like differentiation and homeostasis. Finally, they could aid early drug development, by considering a drug's actions in the context of the cellular networks in which the drug target functions.

IMO - The truth is somewhere between LaMarck and Darwin - dependent upon the Interactome.


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