Anthropologist Peter Frost has been writing on his Evo and Proud blog about the implications of last month's big paper by Cochran, Harpending, Hawks, Moyzis, and Wang on the recent acceleration in the rate of human evolution. Frost's topics include understanding just how different human races really are:
1. The human genome is 99.9% the same in all people.
2. If we look at the 0.1% that does vary, 85% of this variation exists only between individuals and not between populations.
Both truisms are at best superficially true. They don’t mean what many seem to think they mean. Moreover, they’ve been known to be misleading for some time; in the case of truism #1, from the moment it was first presented.
So Mr. Smarty Pants, how much do genes really differ within our species? And how much of this difference clusters into recognizable populations?