Are Humans Still Evolving?


The question of whether or not humans are still evolving often captures the popular imagination and regularly leads to conflicting claims. Here, some of the evolutionary forces predicted to act upon current and future human populations are reviewed. It is postulated that the increasing movement and panmixia of humans, coupled with an unprecedented increase in the global size of the human population, are predictive of an unparalleled intensification of natural selection in the near future. However, regardless of which forces eventually prevail in the coming millennia, the idea that human evolution will somehow cease is one that is increasingly difficult to sustain.

Keywords: human evolution; positive Darwinian selection; genetic drift; transmission distortion; linkage disequilibrium


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Further Reading

Nielsen R, Hellmann I, Hubisz M, Bustamante C and Clark AG (2007) Recent and ongoing selection in the human genome. Nature Reviews. Genetics 8: 857–868.

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Reed, Floyd A(Jul 2008) Are Humans Still Evolving?. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020794]