A major DNA study has shown that human beings are still evolving.
Researchers at California’s Stanford University have been analysing thousands of DNA samples to look at how people living in Britain have changed over time. The data was taken from the 10K project, which studies the genetic codes of 10,000 people from across the UK.
The study has found that the British population has become taller and fairer over the last 2,000 years. And while lactose intolerance may seem to be becoming increasingly common, in reality people have become better at digesting milk over time.
The geneticists working on the research were able to track the genomes of more than 3,000 Brits back over 100 previous generations. They then used this information to identify which genes linked to physical traits had spread across the country quickest.
Study looked at natural selection
They found that blue eyes and blonde hair had become more widespread as time went on as well as the ability to tolerate lactose. It is also believed that the population is becoming taller but this is more difficult to prove as height is linked to lots of different genes.
The scientists behind the study looked at alleles, which are different forms of genes. By looking at how many times an allele had mutated, they were able to see which had flourished due to a process of natural selection over the last 2,000 years.
Our DNA can tell us a lot about our heritage and where we come from. But while DNA tests can give us information about where in the world our ancestors have originated from, most people use them to find answers much closer to home.
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