East Asian Physical Traits Linked to 35,000-Year-Old Mutation

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At www.nytimes.com

Gaining a deep insight into human evolution, researchers have identified a mutation in a critical human gene as the source of several distinctive traits that make East Asians different from other races. The discovery explains a crucial juncture in the evolution of East Asians. But the method can also be applied to some 400 other sites on the human genome. The DNA changes at these sites, researchers believe, mark the turning points in recent human evolution as the populations on each continent diverged from one another. Each race has a different set of selected regions, reflecting the fact that the human population had dispersed from its African homeland and faced different challenges that led to genetic adaptation on each continent. About 140 of the sites affected by natural selection are in Europeans, 140 in East Asians and 132 in Africans...

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