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The Great Evolutionary Speedup

John Hawks and his colleagues have a new paper that says human evolution has accelerated in past 40,000 years as a result of human culture. The researchers analyzed HapMap data to determine the rate at which adaptive mutations appear in humans, according to their paper in PNAS. As the human population grew larger due to cultural and ecological changes, there was a greater chance that adaptive changes would spring up in the human genome -- and they did, say the researchers. But not all populations have evolved at the same rate because some migrated to new climates where they had to adapt more quickly, points out this Scientific American article. On the Gene Expression blog, p-ter expresses concern that the authors do not provide enough evidence for acceleration. Hawks replies to p-ter on his own blog, along with answers to other questions they could not fully address in their paper.


The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.