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Civilisation Has Left Its Mark On Our Genes
New Scientist ^ | 12-19-2005 | Bob Holmes

Posted on 12/19/2005 2:52:15 PM PST by blam

Civilisation has left its mark on our genes

22:00 19 December 2005
From New Scientist Print Edition
Bob Holmes

Darwin’s fingerprints can be found all over the human genome. A detailed look at human DNA has shown that a significant percentage of our genes have been shaped by natural selection in the past 50,000 years, probably in response to aspects of modern human culture such as the emergence of agriculture and the shift towards living in densely populated settlements.

One way to look for genes that have recently been changed by natural selection is to study mutations called single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) – single-letter differences in the genetic code. The trick is to look for pairs of SNPs that occur together more often than would be expected from the chance genetic reshuffling that inevitably happens down the generations.

Such correlations are known as linkage disequilibrium, and can occur when natural selection favours a particular variant of a gene, causing the SNPs nearby to be selected as well.

Robert Moyzis and his colleagues at the University of California, Irvine, US, searched for instances of linkage disequilibrium in a collection of 1.6 million SNPs scattered across all the human chromosomes. They then looked carefully at the instances they found to distinguish the consequences of natural selection from other phenomena, such as random inversions of chunks of DNA, which can disrupt normal genetic reshuffling.

This analysis suggested that around 1800 genes, or roughly 7% of the total in the human genome, have changed under the influence of natural selection within the past 50,000 years. A second analysis using a second SNP database gave similar results. That is roughly the same proportion of genes that were altered in maize when humans domesticated it from its wild ancestors.

“Domesticated” humans Moyzis speculates that we may have similarly “domesticated” ourselves with the emergence of modern civilisation.

“One of the major things that has happened in the last 50,000 years is the development of culture,” he says. “By so radically and rapidly changing our environment through our culture, we’ve put new kinds of selection [pressures] on ourselves.”

Genes that aid protein metabolism – perhaps related to a change in diet with the dawn of agriculture – turn up unusually often in Moyzis’s list of recently selected genes. So do genes involved in resisting infections, which would be important in a species settling into more densely populated villages where diseases would spread more easily. Other selected genes include those involved in brain function, which could be important in the development of culture.

But the details of any such sweeping survey of the genome should be treated with caution, geneticists warn. Now that Moyzis has made a start on studying how the influence of modern human culture is written in our genes, other teams can see if similar results are produced by other analytical techniques, such as comparing human and chimp genomes.

Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0509691102)


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: civilisation; dna; genes; genetics; godsgravesglyphs; left; mark; our
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1 posted on 12/19/2005 2:52:17 PM PST by blam
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To: SunkenCiv

GGG Ping?


2 posted on 12/19/2005 2:52:48 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Intelligent design at work, micro scale.

Dawkins will not be pleased.

3 posted on 12/19/2005 2:55:05 PM PST by JCEccles
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To: blam

Why are there no transitional species - if Evolution is true there should be some species that are not complete ... like Democrats, forinstance .....


4 posted on 12/19/2005 2:55:50 PM PST by SkyDancer ("Talent Without Ambition Is Sad - Ambition Without Talent Is Worse")
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To: blam
Human Brains Are Still Evolving
5 posted on 12/19/2005 2:56:00 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
So the guys and gals of 50,000 years ago were a totally different species? (Where, by the way, are they getting the genome data for that generation?)

We're spending too much money on these wannabe scientists.
6 posted on 12/19/2005 3:06:31 PM PST by farmer18th ("The fool says in his heart there is no God.")
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To: blam

Some religeous idiot will do a bible quote.


7 posted on 12/19/2005 3:11:33 PM PST by MonroeDNA (Look for the union label--on the bat crashing through your windshield!)
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To: blam
Darwin’s fingerprints can be found all over the human genome.

Would it not be equally true to say that intelligent design has been invoked in humans in order to allow him/her to adapt to the environment? In other words, if an environment is very sunny, the Designer would've changed the genetic composition of the people in that environment in order that those people could tolerate the temperatures. Likewise, for people who reside in colder climates. Intelligent design could also have been invoked in areas where certain types of foods are available and not in others?

Intelligent design may be looking out for humans and all other species whenever they wander out of their current environments. I know what the theory of evolution says about survical of the fittest, but could not an intelligent designer be changing us and all other species for survivability in any new environment to which any species may venture?
8 posted on 12/19/2005 3:14:24 PM PST by adorno
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To: MonroeDNA
Some religeous idiot will do a bible quote.

I see precious few quotes from Darwin around here, except for the purposes of derision.

ML/NJ

9 posted on 12/19/2005 3:18:26 PM PST by ml/nj
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To: blam

If you buy into the premise of the book "The Bell Curve," from about 15 years ago, it appears we citizens of the USA are evolving furiously, and most of the important evolution has taken place since World War I. Our meritocracy, which the USA has been (more or less) since roughly the end of WWI, is producing a much higher percentage of intelligent folk than has ever been seen in the history of any human society. At any rate, news like this shouldn't be considered particularly surprising, since it seems to be rediscovered every 5 - 10 years.


10 posted on 12/19/2005 3:28:45 PM PST by Ironclad (O Tempora! O Mores!)
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To: blam

Hmmm. More evolutionary claptrap.

Let's run it through the mechanics of evolution and see if it makes any sense. The docile, agricultural humans had an evolutionary advantage such that their docile, agricultural offspring outcompeted the offspring of the cunning, tough hunter/gatherers, who died off en masse leaving the meek to inherit the earth.

Sorry, guys, doesn't wash. Evolution requires a LOT of death and survival of the fittest. (Darwin: "Nature is red in tooth and claw"). And if the offspring of BOTH survive together and can ultimately interbreed, evolution hasn't occurred at all.

Evolution always comes down to speculation and comes up short on evidence.


11 posted on 12/19/2005 3:45:05 PM PST by Elpasser
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To: Elpasser

Just because they grew crops doesn't mean they quit hunting. Its not an either/ or situation.


12 posted on 12/19/2005 3:49:32 PM PST by Adder (Can we bring back stoning again? Please?)
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To: Adder

And so what random genetic mutation occurred and how did it manifest? The gene for hunting AND farming behavior?

See, the problem with evolutionists is that their theory demands brutal rationality (ie, survival of the fittest), but when you point out the stark reality of a particular change -- like settling down to farm, losing body hair, inability of humans to smell or hear well, or even the dilution of a creature's genes through sexual reproduction -- there is always an exception or "possibility" thrown up to save the theory.

This is smoke and mirrors, nothing more. It comes down to a persistence to deny the existence of God and postulate that life "sprang" into existence. Not buying it.


13 posted on 12/19/2005 4:11:09 PM PST by Elpasser
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To: SkyDancer
Why are there no transitional species

Why would there be transitional species?

14 posted on 12/19/2005 4:14:31 PM PST by RightWhale (pas de lieu, Rhone que nous)
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To: RightWhale

Because evolution doesn't happen in huge multi-gene mutational leaps. C'mon man, you know that!


15 posted on 12/19/2005 4:19:33 PM PST by Elpasser
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To: RightWhale

If Evolution is true, then species are continually evolving ... and if so, there has to be species going from one thing to another ... like ocean to land or land to air .... something .... if you look at every living thing you'd notice they're complete ... a fruit fly will not evolve into an elephant or a rose into a fir tree ...


16 posted on 12/19/2005 4:20:36 PM PST by SkyDancer ("Talent Without Ambition Is Sad - Ambition Without Talent Is Worse")
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To: Elpasser

Sure, but the successful ones survive. Besides that, most all the evidence gets eaten.


17 posted on 12/19/2005 4:22:53 PM PST by RightWhale (pas de lieu, Rhone que nous)
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To: SkyDancer

There are plenty of species around now, and plenty of them are related to us. Even the plant kingdom is related to us. Any intermediate steps would have been localized in small populations except for the ones that were successful, and most of the intermediate steps would have disappeared. Life has a way of disposing of its ancestors, leaving nothing.


18 posted on 12/19/2005 4:27:25 PM PST by RightWhale (pas de lieu, Rhone que nous)
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To: SkyDancer

Tortured logic.


19 posted on 12/19/2005 4:29:21 PM PST by verity (The MSM is a National disgrace.)
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To: adorno

"I know what the theory of evolution says about survical of the fittest, but could not an intelligent designer be changing us and all other species for survivability in any new environment to which any species may venture?"

Well it's not doing a very good job, the vast majority of species are extinct.


20 posted on 12/19/2005 4:36:43 PM PST by ndt
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To: SkyDancer

"Why are there no transitional species"

There are, all of them are transitional species.


21 posted on 12/19/2005 4:40:21 PM PST by ndt
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To: blam

Neat.

Disease resistance is something one would expect but the protein metabolism thingy is a bit counter-intuitive.

Maybe more meat as humans became better hunters as they got smarter?


22 posted on 12/19/2005 4:59:40 PM PST by From many - one.
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To: From many - one.
"Maybe more meat as humans became better hunters as they got smarter?"

Animal domestication.

23 posted on 12/19/2005 5:02:20 PM PST by blam
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To: blam

That's less than 10,000 I think, although adding in herding should make it longer.

I suspect two possible countervailing trends... first an increase in protein supply with more efficiency, then, when agriculture came in, a dimuition as grains replaced meat.


24 posted on 12/19/2005 5:10:09 PM PST by From many - one.
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To: ndt
Well it's not doing a very good job, the vast majority of species are extinct.

What are you talking about when you say "it's not doing"? Evolution or intelligent design?
25 posted on 12/19/2005 5:10:20 PM PST by adorno
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To: From many - one.; blam

10,000 = 10,000 years


26 posted on 12/19/2005 5:13:09 PM PST by From many - one.
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To: adorno
"What are you talking about when you say "it's not doing"? Evolution or intelligent design?"

That would be ID.

If some designer were intelligently molding species to fit their changing niches, it (the designer) is a miserable failure since the vast majority of species that have ever lived are currently extinct.

On the other hand that is exactly what you would expect from evolution/natural selection. If a a species fails to adapt to a changing environment it goes extinct, which just leaves a hole that gets filled by the first species that can survive there.
27 posted on 12/19/2005 5:22:02 PM PST by ndt
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To: Elpasser
"Because evolution doesn't happen in huge multi-gene mutational leaps."

But isn't that the definition of punctuated equilibrium?
28 posted on 12/19/2005 6:34:13 PM PST by GOPPachyderm
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To: ndt
If some designer were intelligently molding species to fit their changing niches, it (the designer) is a miserable failure since the vast majority of species that have ever lived are currently extinct.

Extinction might also be part of the design. In place of the extinct species, you will most likely find a better or improved species. Extinction and dying are all part of the design. Species improvement or redesign might all be part of the plan of an intelligent designer. At the same time, environment design (via the Designer) enters the picture where a species needs to establish itself and prosper.

On the other hand that is exactly what you would expect from evolution/natural selection. If a a species fails to adapt to a changing environment it goes extinct, which just leaves a hole that gets filled by the first species that can survive there.

Evolution/natural selection are terms used by scientists to try to explain observations. Those observations might be explained just as well by insertion of an Intelligent Designer. Intelligent design, which we humans may someday be capable of doing ourselves, could explain a whole lot better the natural selection and observations that scientists keep trying to explain away with "evolution".

Believe me, I have come full-circle in my beliefs. Brought up Catholic, became sciientifically minded from college on and even became an agnostic, some would even say atheist. Deep critical thinking, not faith, has made me re-think my "evolution" and anti-God beliefs. My mind is still evolving and so are my beliefs.
29 posted on 12/19/2005 6:38:17 PM PST by adorno
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To: blam

YEC INTREP


30 posted on 12/19/2005 8:36:16 PM PST by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America)
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To: blam
Thanks Blam. No ping, just adding to the catalog. :')

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

31 posted on 12/19/2005 9:49:16 PM PST by SunkenCiv ("In silence, and at night, the Conscience feels that life should soar to nobler ends than Power.")
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To: GOPPachyderm

No. Not even remotely.


32 posted on 12/20/2005 6:57:55 AM PST by From many - one.
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To: From many - one.

Could you explain a litte further? Wouldn't there have to be new genetic information to explain the theory of punctuated equilibrium?


33 posted on 12/20/2005 7:25:54 AM PST by GOPPachyderm
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To: GOPPachyderm

Glad to try.

First, so I know where you're coming from, can you give me some idea of your understanding of "new genetic information"


34 posted on 12/20/2005 7:58:57 AM PST by From many - one.
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To: blam
From the article above we get: "This analysis suggested that around 1800 genes, or roughly 7% of the total in the human genome, have changed under the influence of natural selection within the past 50,000 years."

From other scientists we get

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Nearly 99 percent alike in genetic makeup, chimpanzees and humans might be even more similar were it not for what researchers call "lifestyle" changes in the 6 million years that separate us from a common ancestor.

...Clark emphasizes that a study like this cannot prove that the biology of humans and chimps differ because of this or that particular gene. "But it generates many hypotheses that can be tested to yield insight into exactly why only 1 percent in DNA sequence difference makes us such different beasts," he says. link here: [http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Dec03/chimp.life.hrs.html],

Is it not amazing that modern man is genetically closer to chimpanzees than he is to man 50,000 years ago.

35 posted on 12/20/2005 1:07:16 PM PST by Lester Moore (The headwaters of the islamic river of death and hate are in Saudi Arabia.)
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To: ndt

to what?
What are you transitioning too :)


36 posted on 12/20/2005 2:51:36 PM PST by SkyDancer ("Talent Without Ambition Is Sad - Ambition Without Talent Is Worse")
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To: verity

Your opinion ....


37 posted on 12/20/2005 2:52:41 PM PST by SkyDancer ("Talent Without Ambition Is Sad - Ambition Without Talent Is Worse")
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To: RightWhale
So you believe then we're all related and somehow evolved from some molecules that happened to bump into each other .... this begs the question ... where did the original molecules come from and at what point did "whatever being" decide it's more fun to mate than split???
38 posted on 12/20/2005 2:55:10 PM PST by SkyDancer ("Talent Without Ambition Is Sad - Ambition Without Talent Is Worse")
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To: SkyDancer
"What are you transitioning too :)"

I'm still working on the mixing genes part. We'll have to wait at least 9 month to answer that question.

But seriously, I was making the point assuming common decent to be true (which I take it you disagree with) then ALL fossils are transitional fossils. Every organism that has ever lived, barring an untimely death, is a midpoint between its ancestors and its descendants.
39 posted on 12/20/2005 3:03:20 PM PST by ndt
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To: ndt
Great ... hope things turn out the way you want (ie gender)

Problem is with fossils is that there are too many gaps ... secondly a lot is based on uniformitism ... the layers of the earth being laid down uniformly. Such though is not the case - we find younger transitional forms in layers containing older fossils ... so we still really don't know ... then too, all the age names are wrong too - it's been found that forms belonging to one age were found in another - and that's not been corrected.

Have a great Holiday ...

jane
40 posted on 12/20/2005 3:09:29 PM PST by SkyDancer ("Talent Without Ambition Is Sad - Ambition Without Talent Is Worse")
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To: SkyDancer
I am perfectly comfortable with the concept of evolution through divine intervention. Of course, this is only an opinion.

Big Hug

41 posted on 12/20/2005 3:13:30 PM PST by verity (The MSM is a National disgrace.)
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To: Elpasser
"The docile, agricultural humans had an evolutionary advantage such that their docile, agricultural offspring outcompeted the offspring of the cunning, tough hunter/gatherers, who died off en masse leaving the meek to inherit the earth."

The "docile" agriculturist was able to store food and live densely with others and would have been more than a match for hunter/gatherer bands who also had to deal with periodic shortages with no stored food to draw on. Starvation and predation of the H/G were most likely the cause of the Agriculturists prevailing, not direct competition.

42 posted on 12/20/2005 3:22:18 PM PST by muir_redwoods (Free Sirhan Sirhan, after all, the bastard who killed Mary Jo Kopechne is walking around free)
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To: verity

Ok .... oil had to come from something/animal/fishes ... :)


43 posted on 12/20/2005 3:23:36 PM PST by SkyDancer ("Talent Without Ambition Is Sad - Ambition Without Talent Is Worse")
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To: Elpasser
The docile, agricultural humans had an evolutionary advantage such that their docile, agricultural offspring outcompeted the offspring of the cunning, tough hunter/gatherers, who died off en masse leaving the meek to inherit the earth.

It could have favored the planners, meek or not. A hunter wakes up, "me hungry, me go kill, me eat". That takes care of today. The farmer wakes up, sows his crop, and waits, while living off of last year's harvest which will carry him through the year. Of course, he still hunts too, but can take a day off from time to time to see a play or go to a museum. Less dangerous than hunting woolly mammoth.

44 posted on 12/20/2005 3:43:20 PM PST by JTHomes
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To: SkyDancer
where did the original molecules come from

That assume there was a where, which begs the question.

45 posted on 12/20/2005 4:33:22 PM PST by RightWhale (pas de lieu, Rhone que nous)
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To: RightWhale

but then I repeat myself ... did they "self" generate?
one wonders .... :)


46 posted on 12/20/2005 4:36:41 PM PST by SkyDancer ("Talent Without Ambition Is Sad - Ambition Without Talent Is Worse")
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To: RightWhale

and if all that DNA stuff is true, then why are there bald men? If 80% of body heat goes out the head, then there should never ever be bald men .... evolution seems to work whenever it wants to ....and, it has to work all the time ... if not, poof ... we're all gonzo ....


47 posted on 12/20/2005 4:39:06 PM PST by SkyDancer ("Talent Without Ambition Is Sad - Ambition Without Talent Is Worse")
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To: SkyDancer

If you heard the evolutionist on Coast last night, you would be questioning a lot. I bought his book a few months ago. He is the happiest man on earth because he has figured it out. He points out that DNA does not rule the cell, and he has a point because there are cells without DNA, without a nucleus at all, yet they are alive. He points out that intelligence does not originate in the nervous system because creatures, single cells, even plants, develop behavior without any nervous system. Can't think of a reason there must be electrons and protons, but we can make interesting, useful, and entertaining things out of them. At some point in our infinite regress to original causes we must come to a question for which there is no answer, which point varies with each person and at each moment of his intellectual development.


48 posted on 12/20/2005 4:56:27 PM PST by RightWhale (pas de lieu, Rhone que nous)
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To: RightWhale

Hi,
Well with all that I just say ok, if I'm wrong on Evolution and Darwinism then what am I out at the end of my life ... but on the other hand, if Creationism is true and in which I believe, then ......

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ...

Regards,
Jane


49 posted on 12/20/2005 7:03:32 PM PST by SkyDancer ("Talent Without Ambition Is Sad - Ambition Without Talent Is Worse")
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To: SkyDancer
Evolution is just an explanation as far as I am concerned--doesn't rise to the level of theory. It doesn't even rise to the level of imagination as shown in Genesis.

In the sense of the humble origin of the greatest advance of civilization--the star, the stable, the three gifts--Merry Christmas

50 posted on 12/21/2005 10:59:02 AM PST by RightWhale (pas de lieu, Rhone que nous)
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