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Human evolution: “Some waited to leave till things got really tough” (Episode 3,492 approx)

stayed in touch with Africa?/Sailorr / Fotolia

From (ScienceDaily, July 13, 2011), we learn: “African and Non-African Populations Intermixed Well After Migration out of Africa 60,000 Years Ago, Genome Studies Show”:

Researchers have probed deeper into human evolution by developing an elegant new technique to analyse whole genomes from different populations. One key finding from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute’s study is that African and non-African populations continued to exchange genetic material well after migration out-of-Africa 60,000 years ago. This shows that interbreeding between these groups continued long after the original exodus.

Good to know. But surely no surprise? Isn’t “non-exchange” almost always enforced by law, custom, or taboo?

“Using this algorithm, we were able to provide new insights into our human history,” says Dr Richard Durbin, joint head of Human Genetics and leader of the Genome Informatics Group at the Sanger Institute. “First, we see an apparent increase in effective human population numbers around the time that modern humans arose in Africa over 100,000 years ago.

“Second, when we look at non-African individuals from Europe and East Asia, we see a shared history of a dramatic reduction in population, or bottleneck, starting about 60,000 years ago, as others have also observed. But unlike previous studies we also see evidence for continuing genetic exchange with African populations for tens of thousands of years after the initial out-of-Africa bottleneck until 20,000 to 40,000 years ago.

Some, it is suggested, joined the party late.

Selected previous episodes here.


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