Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Human evolution is over!

Leading geneticist Professor Steve Jones says human evolution is over thanks to the lack of older fathers and that the human race is as fit strong, intelligent and healthy as it ever is going to be. From Times:
“Human social change often changes our genetic future,” he said, citing marriage patterns and contraception as examples. Although chemicals and radioactive pollution could alter genetics, one of the most important mutation triggers is advanced age in men.

This is because cell divisions in males increase with age. “Every time there is a cell division, there is a chance of a mistake, a mutation, an error,” he said. “For a 29-year old father [the mean age of reproduction in the West] there are around 300 divisions between the sperm that made him and the one he passes on – each one with an opportunity to make mistakes.

“For a 50-year-old father, the figure is well over a thousand. A drop in the number of older fathers will thus have a major effect on the rate of mutation.”
You can also listen to him talk to the BBC about this in more detail here.

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