Monday, May 07, 2007

Humans rule! Chimps do not? Send this entry to: Spurl Ma.gnolia Digg Newsvine Reddit

So, I found this this strange press release in my RSS feed. Here's the important bit:
Gene sequencing revealed a mutation specific to humans that triggers a change in the splicing pattern of the neuropsin gene, creating a new splicing site and a longer protein. Introducing this mutation into chimpanzee DNA resulted in the creation of type II neuropsin. "Hence, the human-specific mutation is not only necessary but also sufficient in creating the novel splice form," the authors state.

The full article is titled Human-Specific Mutation Leads to the Origin of a Novel Splice Form of Neuropsin (KLK8), a Gene Involved in Learning and Memory, and it is in a journal called Human Mutation. There seems something really stilted in the English in the press release, and the claims feel way too grandiose, but I figure if there is a 1% chance this is accurate I'll throw up a post. Those of you with neuro chops will probably sniff out the crap earlier then I....


Australian Aborignals, a people that dwelt alone? Send this entry to: Spurl Ma.gnolia Digg Newsvine Reddit

Ancient Australians Were a People Apart. Money shot:
A team headed by Georgi Hudjashov of Tartu University in Estonia analyzed variation in the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA, which is inherited only from women) in several hundred people from Australia and New Guinea. By knowing the mutation rate of mtDNA and comparing Australian samples with those from Asian populations, the team ascertained that the Australian and New Guinean populations branched off from a parent population 50,000 years ago, and that no significant additions to the aboriginal Australian gene pool had been made until modern times. "Australia was colonized, then nobody else came," says co-author Peter Underhill of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

The study will be published in PNAS this week. The article notes that there seems to have been morphological evolution in Australia over the past 50,000 years (e.g., from gracile to robust). Some have adduced from this that waves of migration of disparate peoples. But, remember, phylogeny does not necessarily track morphology over evolutionary time scales. In Dragon Bone Hill two paleoanthropologists make the argument that the robust physique of Australian Aboriginals was a response to selective pressures derived from intercommunal melees (!?!?! You read that right!). Whatever the truth, I don't doubt that 50,000 years is long enough a time period that in situ selection upon extant genetic variation could reshape the modal morphology of populations. Additionally, we know that Australia was an not island ark totally separate from the rest of humanity, dingos were introduced within the last 10,000 years. It seems almost certain that the northern coast of Australia was occasionally visited by sailors from the Indonesian archipelago (for supplies such as water). Let's take at face value the results derived from these two neutral lineages and assume it is an accurate representation of total genome content in regards to ancestry. Explicitly, the vast majority of lines of ancestry of Australian Aboriginals today coalesce back to a founding population which reached the continent's shores 50,000 years ago. That does not negate the possibility that alleles may have crossed from the Eurasian mainland and so driven adaptive evolution amongst Australian populations. Just as they picked up the dingo from traditions of canine domestication originating in Eurasia, so Aboriginals may exhibit a non-ancestral genetic signature on many loci which are phenotypically salient.


Principles of Population Genetics
Genetics of Populations
Molecular Evolution
Quantitative Genetics
Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics
Evolutionary Genetics
Molecular Markers, Natural History, and Evolution
The Genetics of Human Populations
Genetics and Analysis of Quantitative Traits
Epistasis and Evolutionary Process
Evolutionary Human Genetics
Mathematical Models in Biology
Evolutionary Genetics: Case Studies and Concepts
Narrow Roads of Gene Land 1
Narrow Roads of Gene Land 2
Narrow Roads of Gene Land 3
Statistical Methods in Molecular Evolution
The History and Geography of Human Genes
Population Genetics and Microevolutionary Theory
Population Genetics, Molecular Evolution, and the Neutral Theory
Genetical Theory of Natural Selection
Evolution and the Genetics of Populations
Genetics and Origins of Species
Tempo and Mode in Evolution
Causes of Evolution
The Great Human Diasporas
Bones, Stones and Molecules
Natural Selection and Social Theory
Journey of Man
Mapping Human History
The Seven Daughters of Eve
Evolution for Everyone
Why Sex Matters
Mother Nature
Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language
R.A. Fisher, the Life of a Scientist
Sewall Wright and Evolutionary Biology
Origins of Theoretical Population Genetics
A Reason for Everything
The Ancestor's Tale
Dragon Bone Hill
Endless Forms Most Beautiful
The Selfish Gene
Adaptation and Natural Selection
Nature via Nurture
The Symbolic Species
The Imitation Factor
The Red Queen
Out of Thin Air
Evolutionary Dynamics
The Origin of Species
The Descent of Man
Age of Abundance
The Darwin Wars
The Evolutionists
The Creationists
Of Moths and Men
The Language Instinct
How We Decide
Predictably Irrational
The Black Swan
Fooled By Randomness
Descartes' Baby
Religion Explained
In Gods We Trust
Darwin's Cathedral
A Theory of Religion
The Meme Machine
Synaptic Self
The Mating Mind
A Separate Creation
The Number Sense
The 10,000 Year Explosion
The Math Gene
Explaining Culture
Origin and Evolution of Cultures
Dawn of Human Culture
The Origins of Virtue
Prehistory of the Mind
The Nurture Assumption
The Moral Animal
Born That Way
No Two Alike
Survival of the Prettiest
The Blank Slate
The g Factor
The Origin Of The Mind
Unto Others
Defenders of the Truth
The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition
Before the Dawn
Behavioral Genetics in the Postgenomic Era
The Essential Difference
Geography of Thought
The Classical World
The Fall of the Roman Empire
The Fall of Rome
History of Rome
How Rome Fell
The Making of a Christian Aristoracy
The Rise of Western Christendom
Keepers of the Keys of Heaven
A History of the Byzantine State and Society
Europe After Rome
The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity
The Barbarian Conversion
A History of Christianity
God's War
Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople
The Sacred Chain
Divided by the Faith
The Reformation
Pursuit of Glory
Albion's Seed
From Plato to Nato
China: A New History
China in World History
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
Children of the Revolution
When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World
The Great Arab Conquests
After Tamerlane
A History of Iran
The Horse, the Wheel, and Language
A World History
Guns, Germs, and Steel
The Human Web
Plagues and Peoples
A Concise Economic History of the World
Power and Plenty
A Splendid Exchange
Contours of the World Economy 1-2030 AD
Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations
A Farewell to Alms
The Ascent of Money
The Great Divergence
Clash of Extremes
War and Peace and War
Historical Dynamics
The Age of Lincoln
The Great Upheaval
What Hath God Wrought
Freedom Just Around the Corner
Throes of Democracy
Grand New Party
A Beautiful Math
When Genius Failed
Catholicism and Freedom
American Judaism

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