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Science

Study Detects Recent Instance of Human Evolution 503

The New York Times is running a Sunday article regarding new evidence about 'recent' human evolution. A research team at the University of Maryland has done some work looking at the rise of lactose tolerance in the human populations of Africa. From the article: "The principal mutation, found among Nilo-Saharan-speaking ethnic groups of Kenya and Tanzania, arose 2,700 to 6,800 years ago, according to genetic estimates, Dr. Tishkoff's group is to report in the journal Nature Genetics on Monday. This fits well with archaeological evidence suggesting that pastoral peoples from the north reached northern Kenya about 4,500 years ago and southern Kenya and Tanzania 3,300 years ago ... Genetic evidence shows that the mutations conferred an enormous selective advantage on their owners, enabling them to leave almost 10 times as many descendants as people without them. The mutations have created 'one of the strongest genetic signatures of natural selection yet reported in humans,' the researchers write. "

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