Using DNA samples from ethnically diverse populations, they identified a collection of variations in each gene that occurred with unusually high frequency.
In fact, the variations were so common they couldn't be accidental mutations but instead were probably due to natural selection, where genetic changes that are favorable to a species quickly gain a foothold and begin to spread, the researchers report.
Proving that brawn and brains are a powerful combination are James Lucas, a 25-year-old Henry Cavill lookalike who is a nuclear engineer in the US Navy and Julian Ostensen, a 19-year-old computer engineer from Norway.
To become a member of the site, all 24 beautiful singletons had to endure a 48-hour voting period where members of the opposite sex decided whether they were attractive enough to join their gated community.
"There's a sense we as humans have kind of peaked," agreed Greg Wray, director of Duke University's Center for Evolutionary Genomics.
"A different way to look at is it's almost impossible for evolution not to happen." Still, the findings also are controversial, because it's far from clear what effect the genetic changes had or if they arose when Lahn's "molecular clock" suggests — at roughly the same time period as some cultural achievements, including written language and the development of cities.
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Lahn offers an analogy: Medieval monks would copy manuscripts and each copy would inevitably contain errors — accidental mutations.
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