Study: humans are still evolving

March 7, 2006
human evolution

Even as controversy continues over the theory of evolution, scientists say they've found the strongest evidence yet that humans are still evolving.

University of Chicago researchers say they've found approximately 700 regions of the human genome where genes appear to have been reshaped by natural selection within the past 5,000 to 15,000 years, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Scientists told The Times the changes may be the result of people leaving their hunting and gathering way of life for settlement and agriculture.

The finding also adds substantially to the evidence that human evolution did not grind to a halt in the distant past, as is assumed by many social scientists, the newspaper noted.

"There is ample evidence that selection has been a major driving point in our evolution during the last 10,000 years, and there is no reason to suppose that it has stopped," said Jonathan Pritchard, a population geneticist at the University of Chicago who headed the study.

Pritchard and his colleagues, Benjamin Voight, Sridhar Kudaravalli and Xiaoquan Wen, report their findings in the current issue of PLOS-Biology.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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