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Nat Rev Genet. 2010 Feb;11(2):137-48. doi: 10.1038/nrg2734.

How culture shaped the human genome: bringing genetics and the human sciences together.

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School of Biology, University of St Andrews, Bute Building, Westburn Lane, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9TS, UK.


Researchers from diverse backgrounds are converging on the view that human evolution has been shaped by gene-culture interactions. Theoretical biologists have used population genetic models to demonstrate that cultural processes can have a profound effect on human evolution, and anthropologists are investigating cultural practices that modify current selection. These findings are supported by recent analyses of human genetic variation, which reveal that hundreds of genes have been subject to recent positive selection, often in response to human activities. Here, we collate these data, highlighting the considerable potential for cross-disciplinary exchange to provide novel insights into how culture has shaped the human genome.

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