Human populations, however defined, differ in the distribution and frequency of traits they display and diseases to which individuals are susceptible. These need to be understood with respect to three recent advances. First, these differences are multicausal and a result of not only genetic but also epigenetic and environmental factors. Second, the actions of genes, although crucial, turn out to be quite dynamic and modifiable, which contrasts with the classical view that they are inflexible machines. Third, the diverse human populations across the globe have spent too little time apart from our common origin 50,000 years ago to have developed many individually adapted traits. Human trait and disease differences by continental ancestry are thus as much the result of nongenetic as genetic forces.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)