Planet Earth

Race & modern genomics

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanJan 15, 2007 8:13 PM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

p-ter has an interesting post where he explores some current findings about human population substructure. He begins:

First, an important preliminary-- there are millions of places in the human genome where any two given people could possible differ, either by a single base change, the addition of an entire chunk of DNA, the inversion of a chunk of DNA, or whatever. Keep that in mind: millions and millions of places (for a database of many of the single base changes, see the HapMap). Now, the intuitive argument: after humans arose in Africa, they dispered themselves throughout the world. By both chance and in response to selection due to their new environments, populations in different parts of the world ended up with different frequencies of those millions of DNA variants. Simple enough. Now, below the fold, I will present the evidence that 1. the patterns of genetic variation form clusters on a world-wide scale, 2. genetic clusters coincide with what is commonly called "race", and 3. genetic variation between clusters is relevant phenotypically.

Jason Rosenhouse hasposted on race recently as well. You can find some of my own opinions on the topic here. Ultimately, I think asking questions about race/population substructure is very interesting because I find human evolutionary genetics very interesting. 2 years ago Armand Leroi could plausibly say we didn't know how skin color was genetically controlled. Today he wouldn't be able to say that.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month
Already a subscriber? Log In or Register
1 free articleSubscribe
Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%


Already a subscriber? Log In or Register
More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.