« Outbreeding and beauty | Gene Expression Front Page | Jersey »
August 15, 2004

Color vision & chimps

I've posted two entries previously on Sarah Tishkoff & Brian Verrelli's work on the evolutionary history of human color vision (here & here), so here is the abstract from the September issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics. Funny how the conventional wisdom that we are "99% genetically the same as chimpanzees" is being alterted by new findings that point to significant functional divergence between our two lineages, from greater polymorphic diversity in color vision found by Verrelli & Tishkoff, but also in the case of FOXP2 ("the language gene") and functional funny business on the locii that effect human skin color. The chimp is both profoundly like us and essentially unlike us. This "paradox" is one that is not well captured by human language, which itself is likely the product of evolution and so constrained by its hardware substrate. How to decompose variance in morphology, the lineal implications of the coalescence time of various neutral markers and the mutations on functional portions of the genome in a succinct non-jargonistic fashion for public consumption?

Posted by razib at 10:01 AM