evolution

How Neanderthals Influenced Human Genetics at the Crossroads of Asia and Europe

When the ancestors of modern humans migrated out of Africa, they passed through the Middle East and Turkey before heading deeper into Asia and Europe. Here, at this important crossroads, it’s thought that they encountered and had sexual rendezvous with a different hominid species: the Neanderthals. Genomic evidence shows that this ancient interbreeding occurred, and Western Asia is the most likely…

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Humans Still Evolving, Large-Scale Study of Genetic Data Shows

In a study analyzing the genomes of 210,000 people in the United States and Britain, researchers have found that the genetic variants linked to Alzheimer’s disease and heavy smoking are less frequent in people with longer lifespans, suggesting that natural selection is weeding out these unfavorable variants in both populations. “It’s a subtle signal, but we find genetic evidence that…

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Geneticists Trace Humble Apple's Exotic Lineage All the Way to the Silk Road

It is a lunchbox staple so ubiquitous as to have become mundane. But the apple we know today is the fruit of an extraordinary journey, researchers have revealed. Scientists studying the genetics of the humble apple have unpicked how the cultivated species emerged as traders travelled back and forth along the Silk Road– ancient routes running from the far east to the Mediterranean…

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Kent State Researchers Help Find Pathologic Hallmarks of Alzheimer’s Disease in Aged Chimpanzee Brains

Dementia affects one-third of all people older than 65 years in the United States. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive, irreversible brain disease that results in impaired cognitive functioning and other behavioral changes. Humans are considered uniquely susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease, potentially due to genetic differences, changes in brain structure and function during evolution, and an…

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Restless Development: Bad Sleep May Be Evolutionary Survival Tool, Study Finds

Poor sleep is often regarded as a modern affliction linked to our sedentary lifestyles, electric lighting and smartphones on the bedside table. However, new research suggests that fitful sleep could be an ancient survival mechanism designed to guard against nocturnal threats. The study, which tracked the sleep patterns of a modern-day hunter-gatherer tribe in northern Tanzania, found that frequent night-time…

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