Genetic Mutations Offer Insights on Human Diversity

David Brown – The Washington Post

Copyright The Washington Post
Friday, February 22, 2008
We’re all pretty much the same except, of course, for the little things that make us different.
Those are the conclusions of three studies published this week that looked at human diversity through the keyhole of the genetic mutations we all carry.
The findings — the latest dividend from the world’s investment in the Human Genome Project in the 1990s — confirm a broad narrative of human history known from previous biological, archaeological and linguistic studies. But the new research adds an astonishing level of detail and a few new insights that were not previously available.
All three studies support the idea that modern human beings left East Africa, walked into Central Asia and then fanned out east and west to people the entire planet. The studies also confirm earlier research showing that as a group, Africans have more diverse genes than people of other continents. But the new research further shows that genetic diversity declines steadily the farther one’s ancestors traveled from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which is roughly the site of the exit turnstile for the “out-of-Africa” migration.
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