Monday, December 10, 2007

 

Accelerating Evolution

This is, of course, old news to anyone who's read a Marvel comic in the last forty years.
The researchers looked for the appearance of favorable gene mutations over the past 80,000 years of human history by analyzing voluminous DNA information on 270 people from different populations worldwide.

Data from this International HapMap Project, short for haplotype mapping, offered essentially a catalogue of genetic differences and similarities in people alive today.

Looking at such data, scientists can ascertain how recently a given genetic change appeared in the genome and then can plot the pace of such change into the distant past.

Beneficial genetic changes have appeared at a rate roughly 100 times higher in the past 5,000 years than at any previous period of human evolution, the researchers determined. They added that about 7 percent of human genes are undergoing rapid, relatively recent evolution.
Of course, the article only cites "mutations" like Europeans' lactose tolerance, Africans' resistance to malaria, and dry ear wax in Asia, but I'm sure that when the full findings are published they'll include things like optic beams, organic steel, and augmented healing abilities.

Comments:
I'm envisioning a Marvel comic book featuring superheroes named Lactase, Sickle Cell, and Cerumen. I'm sure it'll be a big seller.
 
I think Grant Morrison already wrote that book, didn't he?
 
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