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Much of my work in genetics has surrounded the action of natural selection in human populations during the last 40,000 years. Human adaptation has by some measures been faster during the recent past than at any time earlier in our evolution.

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Did two pulses of evolution supercharge human cognition?

An intriguing new study tries to tabulate the ages of genetic variants associated with human phenotypes, but its claims about recent brain evolution may not pan out.

A stylized image of a brain with lightning pulsing through it
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Explaining the X chromosome hole in Neandertal ancestry

Natural selection reduced the variation on human X chromosomes in populations with the most Neandertal and Denisovan mixture. It may have been meiotic drive.

A fluorescence image of chromosomes in cells undergoing meiosis
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Recent adaptive evolution to resist the toxic effects of arsenic

Examining a study by Carina Schlebusch and coworkers into the peoples of northern Argentina.

Cactus standing on rocky ground in front of mountains and a sunset.
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David Attenborough says humans have stopped evolving. He's wrong

The famous documentarian has some strong views about the potential of our species, but he overlooks the diversity of environments we have created.

Bust of Darwin wearing some kind of goggles
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Growing genetic data suggest a two-phase model for prehistoric population expansions in Africa

I describe results from two papers of African genetic variation, which show that the population growth from agriculture followed an earlier demographic expansion.

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How much of human evolution was due to polygenic adaptation?

This has been an eventful week for those of us who study the dynamics of recent selection in humans. The most significant event was the publication of a paper describing genetic analysis of a long selection experiment in Drosophila. Although the experiment differs from most natural instances of selection in

A photo of a "Galton box" which has beads in slots forming a normal distribution
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Human evolution stopping? Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I look into arguments by the geneticist Steve Jones that human evolution has stopped. It hasn't.

Image of poster on a green wall. Poster reads: "Change is coming, whether you like it or not!"
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Our new paper on why human evolution accelerated

I run through our 2007 work on evidence for recent natural selection across the human genome.

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