December 13, 2018

Humans Are Still Evolving

“Modern medicine’s ability to keep us alive makes it tempting to think human evolution may have stopped. Better healthcare disrupts a key driving force of evolution by keeping some people alive longer, making them more likely to pass on their genes. But if we look at the rate of our DNA’s evolution, we can see that human evolution hasn’t stopped – it may even be happening faster than before.

Evolution is a gradual change to the DNA of a species over many generations. It can occur by natural selection, when certain traits created by genetic mutations help an organism survive or reproduce. Such mutations are thus more likely to be passed on to the next generation, so they increase in frequency in a population. Gradually, these mutations and their associated traits become more common among the whole group.

By looking at global studies of our DNA, we can see evidence that natural selection has recently made changes and continues to do so. Though modern healthcare frees us from many causes of death, in countries without access to good healthcare, populations are continuing to evolve. Survivors of infectious disease outbreaks drive natural selection by giving their genetic resistance to offspring. Our DNA shows evidence for recent selection for resistance of killer diseases like Lassa fever and malaria. Selection in response to malaria is still ongoing in regions where the disease remains common.”

Read more

JJ Best Of The Web

"There's nothing democratic about forcing through a Brexit deal that voters in 2016 probably wouldn't have approved."

" Good negotiators use leverage (something they have, which their adversary wants) to obtain what are called “concessions” (something their adversary has, which they want). The result is what experts call “compromise.”"

"Some Israeli researchers and politicians are critical of a decision by the Hebrew University to teach more classes in English, but administrators believe such a switch is necessary to maintain the institutions status."

"A rumor that the TV show 'Friends' was leaving Netflix almost broke the Internet this week. Why do we love this show so much?"

"The U.S. economy is growing at the fastest pace in five years... So why are Wall Street and some economists suddenly worried about a recession?"

"What if Twitter is mostly a closed ecosystem, relevant only to and within itself? What if its ability to shape the real world is, as they say, greatly exaggerated?"

"Progressives are constantly checking their “white privilege,” but what about ideological privilege? Particularly for women, the prevailing assumption is that you aren’t normal unless you’re a liberal Democrat."

"Whether you want to dip into a novel that evokes Midge Maisel’s New York City or pick up a sparkling history of 1950s comedy, we’ve got some recommendations for you."

"Amid America’s reckoning with sexual harassment and violence, gender inequity, and discrimination, sex education is as fraught as it’s ever been."

"Bimbo Bakeries USA, which produces the Arnold, Sara Lee, Stroehmann and Freihofer brands, to remove certification, says exploring ‘alternative solutions’"

"Changes in colony behaviour due to past events are not the simple sum of ant memories, just as changes in what we remember, and what we say or do, are not a simple set of transformations, neuron by neuron."

"The Harry Potter series is a work of fiction. So, maybe we should just put the witchcraft debate aside and read it from a different perspective... there are a lot of lessons we can learn from the series that we also see in the Torah."