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Nat Rev Genet. 2008 Oct;9(10):749-63. doi: 10.1038/nrg2428.

Explaining human uniqueness: genome interactions with environment, behaviour and culture.

Author information

  • 1Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA. a1varki@ucsd.edu

Abstract

What makes us human? Specialists in each discipline respond through the lens of their own expertise. In fact, 'anthropogeny' (explaining the origin of humans) requires a transdisciplinary approach that eschews such barriers. Here we take a genomic and genetic perspective towards molecular variation, explore systems analysis of gene expression and discuss an organ-systems approach. Rejecting any 'genes versus environment' dichotomy, we then consider genome interactions with environment, behaviour and culture, finally speculating that aspects of human uniqueness arose because of a primate evolutionary trend towards increasing and irreversible dependence on learned behaviours and culture - perhaps relaxing allowable thresholds for large-scale genomic diversity.

PMID:
18802414
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2756412
Free PMC Article
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