Current topics in human evolutionary genetics
Primate genomic data have become essential for the understanding of a number of topics related to our evolutionary history. For instance, they have provided new models for the actual speciation process that led to the divergence of the chimpanzee clade from our own evolutionary branch, a process that may have required millions of years and entailed extensive hybridization. New nuclear genetic data have also raised the possibility that some gene flow actually occurred between our species and other hominin groups as our ancestors colonized Eurasia. Hundreds of regions of our genome show the effects of natural selection over the last 50,000 years as people adapted to new environments during their global trek. Finally, genetic studies of the biological basis of language are accumulating rapidly and hold promise for identifying the ensemble of genetic changes responsible for what many linguists consider to be our chief behavioral apomorphy as a species … spoken language.