Slog

Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Friday, July 27, 2012

Africa: Center of the Human World

Posted by on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 8:38 AM

A scientist at UW discovers another branch of the human family lurking in the DNA of Africans...

The human family tree just got another — mysterious — branch, an African “sister species” to the heavy-browed Neanderthals that once roamed Europe.

While no fossilized bones have been found from these enigmatic people, they did leave a calling card in present-day Africans: snippets of foreign DNA.

“Geneticists like euphemisms, but we’re talking about sex,” said Joshua Akey of the University of Washington in Seattle, whose lab identified the mystery DNA in three groups of modern Africans.

“We’re calling this a Neanderthal sibling species in Africa,” Akey said. He added that the interbreeding probably occurred 20,000 to 50,000 years ago, long after some modern humans had walked out of Africa to colonize Asia and Europe, and around the same time Neanderthals were waning in Europe.

History has not been kind to human groups who encountered this one and seemingly lethal group: anatomically modern humans.

The report continues:

In addition to finding evidence of the now-extinct humans, the team discovered a huge range of genetic diversity between the three groups. The human genome contains about 3 billion letters, or base pairs, of DNA. Before this study, scientists had found that about 40 million of these letters vary across human populations.

But in the 15 Africans, Tishkoff and Lachance found 3 million more genetic variants — a huge treasure trove of human diversity. Among this stunning variety, Tishkoff says they have pinpointed some of the genes responsible for the short stature of the pygmies, who average less than 5 feet in height. She also found that immune system genes and genes for taste and smell varied wildly between the three groups — confirming Africa as the seat of the widest range of human diversity.

Now recall what the ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson recently said to the Council on Foreign Relations:

“[When the shit hits the fan, we will adapt new conditions.] As a species that’s why we’re all still here: we have spent our entire existence adapting. So we will adapt to this...”

Now recall this passage from E.O. Wilson's new book The Social Conquest of Earth:

It has not escaped the attention of human biologist and medical researchers that the genes of modern-day Africans are a treasure house of for all humanity. They possess our species' greatest reservoir of genetic diversity of which further study will shed new light on the heredity of the human body and mind.
You see where I'm going with this? If not, let's just leave it at that. I'm not going to spell it out for you.

 

Comments (7) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
2
You either mean A) Africans will be the ones to survive the coming apocalypse due to their genetic diversity, or B) In a pinch, future corporations will mine Africans' genes for the benefit of the wealthy world.
Posted by Jude Fawley on July 27, 2012 at 9:36 AM · Report this
More, I Say! 3
Or, (c) we should all start banging Africans.

(LOLs @1)
Posted by More, I Say! on July 27, 2012 at 9:39 AM · Report this
4
Spell it out?

You pretty much said get your honkey ass off my porch you inferior cracker.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on July 27, 2012 at 10:00 AM · Report this
5
not going to spell it out... ok then why am i reading it out? thanks for nothing.
Posted by peskypoop on July 27, 2012 at 10:15 AM · Report this
6
Yeah yeah yeah, we know chuck, civilization started in Africa first. It also ended their first.
Posted by Ian Smith on July 27, 2012 at 11:36 AM · Report this
Jerry M. Ander 7
If what these articles imply, that the dominant Western peoples interested in the the long-term survival of the human race must take action to insure the long-term survival of African peoples, then I can only conclude that the human era was nice while it lasted.

For as any observer of of the progress of modern civilization can attest, too many Westerners are way too willing to cut off their wide, flat noses to spite their roseate faces.
Posted by Jerry M. Ander on July 27, 2012 at 1:35 PM · Report this

Add a comment

Advertisement
 

Want great deals and a chance to win tickets to the best shows in Seattle? Join The Stranger Presents email list!


All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy