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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Today in the News (8 July, 2009)

Evolution

According to this article -- "Making A Bigger Splash In The Gene Pool, And How Delaying Reproduction Can Help" -- in Science Daily (8 July, 2009), "We humans have a strong urge to reproduce, but if the environment steers us into putting off having children, we may be rewarded with both longer life and a bigger genetic footprint in future generations."

Well, I don't know about that... because, in my case, the only urges that I've had are from relatives urging me to get married and have children, which I'm reluctant to do because I don't like children -- I went to bloody school with them! Man, it was a relief to finally get out of high-school, that's for sure!

Anyway, the aforementioned conclusion is the result of a new study by the University of Minnesota that reveals what may be a major force in shaping the evolution of most living things, including humans. Harnessing this natural effect could open the door to new means of delaying reproduction while promoting longer, healthier lives.

The work, led by ecology, evolution and behavior graduate student Will Ratcliff, was published online on 25th June in the Public Library of Science.

The basic idea is simple: when environmental cues like food shortages signal that the population is about to shrink, individuals who can afford to wait until this has happened should do so; then their offspring, when they come, will represent a bigger fraction of the gene pool.

Click on the the above link to read the full article.

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