Evolving Thoughts

Evolution, culture, philosophy and chocolate! John Wilkins' continuing struggle to come to terms with impermanence... "Humanus sum, nihil humanum a me alienum puto" - Terence

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Natural selection of humans in Iceland

Did I call it or what? Well, it isn't that much of a call. As I said once before of course we are still evolving - it's a prediction of evolutionary theory that no species (no matter how technological) is immune from evolutionary pressures.

Here's a nice piece, reported in The Scientist, about a chromosomal inversion, which has existed in the human population for about 3 million years (i.e., well back into Africa and pre-sapiens), which appears to offer Icelandic mothers a 3.2% advantage in the number of children they successfully have.

The reason for the selection bias in favour of the H2 inversion is not reported. If you have access to Nature Genetics, here is the advance paper. They discuss the effect on recombination rates, and decide it is marginal. Perhaps this is an immunological advantage.