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Genetic Variation Helped Humans Evolve, Adapt To Climate Changes

New light has been shed on a genetic variation that may have played a key role in human evolution by two studies published by an international group of researchers this week in the journal Cell.

To understand a gene variant that might have helped humans adapt to humid climates, the research team used an animal model, along with whole-genome sequencing data. The findings of these studies could provide a road map to human biological history and modern day variability.

“There is an archaeological record hidden in our DNA that can help point us to the traits that have been critical in human survival, such as resistance to infectious diseases and new abilities to respond to different environments,” says Pardis Sabeti of Harvard University and the Broad Institute. “The two studies have uncovered two intriguing human adaptive traits and demonstrate the ability to go from an unbiased genome scan to a novel hypothesis of human evolution.”

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