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Genetic History, Diversity

People all belong to the same larger human family, writes National Geographic. In a Q&A with geneticist Adam Rutherford about his new book, it asks him about how paleogenetics is changing what's known about human history and how genetics views race. Rutherford's book is called A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived.

Rutherford tells them that DNA is able to give researchers a view into the past as it can store information for thousands of years. With new technologies, he notes that researchers have been able to determine that not only did human ancestors and Neanderthals interbreed, so did humans and Denisovans and so did humans and an as-yet-known hominin. "The shadow of another human species — its trace — is inside us all right now," Rutherford tells Nat Geo.

All this recent genetic research has also emphasized how similar people are to one another, though they harbor a range of genetic variety, Rutherford adds. He notes that the characteristics that humans use to define race are only a small portion of the diversity of humans.

He also notes that people are continuing to evolve but that "[t]he real question that underlies this is, Are we still evolving under the auspices of natural selection? That is a much more difficult question to answer, partly because evolution happens slowly."

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