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May 2, 2006, 4:58 PM PDT
By Candace Lombardi
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Small damages to sequences in the human genome are causing evolutionary changes in our DNA, according to a group of Japanese geneticists.
Their recent findings prove that a common form of DNA damage caused by oxidation (called 8-oxoG) is a primary cause of mutagenesis, damage to DNA during the genome replication process that causes mutations in the resulting DNA molecules.
Succinctly, the human race is genetically mutating, and we now may know how and why--at least in part.
Japanese geneticist Yusaku Nakabeppu of Kyushu University and his team released their findings Monday in Genome Research.
"Our findings suggest that 8-oxoG is one of the main causes of frequent recombinations and SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) in the human genome, which largely contribute to the genomic diversity in human beings," the researchers concluded in their Genome Research journal article.
SignOnSan Diego.com: Astronomers link human evolution, cosmic radiation
June 7, 2006
Why did modern humans and other species emerge some 40,000 years ago?
Coming from almost anyone else, the suggestion that a burst of cosmic radiation profoundly mutated life on Earth and altered the course of human evolution would probably be dismissed as outrageous science fiction. But Aden and Marjorie Meinel have been both serious and significant players in astronomy for a good chunk of the last century.
an examination of existing ice core data showed a significant surge in radiation roughly 40,000 years ago – about the same time, they noted, that modern humans emerged in Eurasia, and numerous other species in the northern hemisphere were either undergoing significant change or disappearing altogether. “That's when we first became tempted to put two and two together,” said Aden. “If there was a large surge of cosmic rays, and there's good evidence that these rays can (cause mutations), the question becomes, did they help create new species of life?