Adaptive evolution in the human genome  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Adaptive evolution results from the propagation of advantageous mutations through positive selection. This is the modern synthesis of the process which Darwin and Wallace originally identified as the mechanism of evolution. However, in the last half century there has been considerable debate as to whether evolutionary changes at the molecular level are largely driven by natural selection or random genetic drift. Unsurprisingly, the forces which drive evolutionary changes in our own species’ lineage have been of particular interest. Quantifying adaptive evolution in the human genome gives insights into our own evolutionary history and helps to resolve this neutralist-selectionist debate. Identifying specific regions of the human genome that show evidence of adaptive evolution helps us find functionally significant genes, including genes important for human health, such as those associated with diseases.

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