Here is an interesting report from Science Daily (June 7 2009):
Geography And History Shape Genetic Differences In Humans
New research indicates that natural selection may shape the human genome much more slowly than previously thought. Other factors -- the movements of humans within and among continents, the expansions and contractions of populations, and the vagaries of genetic chance – have heavily influenced the distribution of genetic variations in populations around the world.
The study, conducted by a team from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the University of Chicago, the University of California and Stanford University, is published June 5 in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics.
In recent years, geneticists have identified a handful of genes that have helped human populations adapt to new environments within just a few thousand years—a strikingly short timescale in evolutionary terms. However, the team found that for most genes, it can take at least 50,000-100,000 years for natural selection to spread favorable traits through a human population. According to their analysis, gene variants tend to be distributed throughout the world in patterns that reflect ancient population movements and other aspects of population history. [...]
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