Ancient Genomes Reveal Hidden History of Human Adaptation

The use of ancient DNA, including samples of human remains around 45,000 years old, has shed light on a previously unknown aspect of human evolution. Dr. Yassine Souilmi, Group Leader at the University of Adelaide’s Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, co-led the new study published in Nature Ecology and Evolution on Ocober 31, 2022. The open-access article, is titled “Admixture Has Obscured Signals of Historical Hard Sweeps in Humans.” “It was widely believed the genetics of our human ancestors didn’t change due to environmental pressures as much as other animals, due to our enhanced communication skills and ability to make and use tools,” Dr. Souilmi said. “However, by comparing modern genomes with ancient DNA, we discovered more than 50 cases of an initially rare beneficial genetic variant becoming prevalent across all members of ancient human groups.”
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