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date: 12 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter aims to stipulate a line of research on the role of culture in recent human evolution. We discuss and evaluate several common arguments against recent human evolution. Second, we summarize empirical evidence for recent human evolution from classic examples to recent genome-wide searches. Third, using three data sets, we present detailed analyses of the extent of universal and group-specific selection of genes that are most relevant to human behaviors, namely neurotransmitter genes. We found that (1) a large number of neurotransmitter genes expressed in the central nervous system showed evidence of recent selection; (2) approximately one-fourth of these selection events appeared to be common among the four groups studied (i.e., Africans, Europeans, East Asians, and Australian Aborigines); and (3) selected gene variants were generally associated with better school-related skills but poorer performance on some cognitive and socioemotional traits, which seemed consistent with the human self-domestication hypothesis.

Keywords: Evolution, natural selection, human genome, culture, neurotransmitter genes

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