Researchers have delved back further than ever into the genetic history of humans, and found that the ancient population that gave rise to modern humans may have been nearly twice as genetically diverse than humans today, according a study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Scientific reconstruction of a Homo erectus
Image: Wikimedia commons,
While most studies on the genetics of ancient humans have focused on the last half million years, this study looks at particularly old areas of the genome, allowing the researchers to look at the more distant past, said molecular geneticist linkurl:Prescott Deininger; of the Tulane Cancer Center in New Orleans, LA, who was not involved in the research. "This [study] is a little window to look back a little bit further," he said. When examining genetic diversity, scientists often use a measure called the effective population size, which describes...

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