Monday, February 6, 2012

The other side of the coin: nonadaptive processes in primate evolution

This week we are investigating various examples of functional genetic changes that have played a role in the adaptive evolution of primates. By moving in to the "age of -omics", we are better able to find these loci, and compare them across species. Another emergent property of the genomics revolution, however, is an increased understanding of non-functional molecular change. By better understanding the regulatory and intergenic regions of the genome, it has become evident that nonadaptive molecular processes (i.e. drift and mutation) have also played an appreciable role in the evolution of primates. This review, published in 2010 in The Yearbook of Physical Anthropology does a nice job of summarizing these effects and their potential evolutionary consequences.

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