In humans, for the first time, we are now able to observe ongoing natural selection at the molecular level. Natural selection operates when particular genetic variants render the individuals who bear them more likely to reproduce. As a consequence, those genetic variants increase in frequency in the next generation. In PNAS, Beauchamp presents evidence of negative natural selection on genes implicated in higher educational attainment in a contemporary population in the United States. To understand his conclusion and avoid misinterpretation, we unpack the central concepts.
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