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Human evolution and its relevance for genetic epidemiology.

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Genetics Department, Stanford University Medical School, Stanford, California 94305-5120, USA.


The invitation to write the prefatory article to this volume of the Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics inspired me to collect some thoughts, a few involving ideas that are not new, but perhaps worth resurrecting in light of recent observations made with the data emerging from the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP). Data from the many relevant studies based on the HGDP have been made public, as was originally the hope and plan of the project. Here I try to give a short summary of the evolution of modern humans, a unique species in many respects but of special interest to readers of this volume, and a few thoughts on the general rates of evolution that might be relevant to medical genetics and genetic epidemiology. I have made no attempt to give a general bibliography, not even of results from the HGDP, since most authors' conclusions are still unpublished. Citations are limited to very few general concepts and articles discussed in this preface.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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