Natural Selection in Human Populations
- LAST MODIFIED: 28 August 2018
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199941728-0112
- LAST MODIFIED: 28 August 2018
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199941728-0112
Natural selection, the process by which heritable individual differences that contribute to variation in survival and reproduction lead to changes in attributes of a population (see Oxford Bibliographies article Natural Selection), has been an important force in human evolution. Selection has played an essential role in human differentiation from apelike ancestors and in the adaptation of humans to diverse environments around the world (see Oxford Bibliographies article Human Adaptability). The study of natural selection in humans has largely fallen in the realm of population genetics (see Oxford Bibliographies article Population Genetics). Many forms of natural selection—including positive selection (the increase in frequency of advantageous alleles), purifying selection (the removal of deleterious alleles), and balancing selection (the maintenance of polymorphism due to heterozygote advantage or frequency-dependent selection)—have been examined in humans. Particular emphasis has been placed on positive selection and its role in producing geographic variation and local adaptation (see Oxford Bibliographies article Adaptation), and on detecting natural selection from population-genetic data (see Oxford Bibliographies article Detecting Natural Selection in the Genome).
Several reviews have considered the population-genetic study of natural selection in human populations, emphasizing to a different extent the driving selective pressures, statistical methods for detecting natural selection from patterns of genetic variation, and observations in human data. Some overviews focus on the particular patterns of human genetic variation, interpreting them in relation to processes of natural selection and the history of natural selection in humans (Sabeti, et al. 2006; Fu and Akey 2013; Lachance and Tishkoff 2013; Scheinfeldt and Tishkoff 2013). Others consider the detection of evidence of natural selection in general, using humans as an example of population-genetic methods (Kreitman 2000; Nielsen 2005; Vitti, et al. 2013). Reviews often place an emphasis on specific mechanisms of natural selection, their consequences for human genetic variation, and the evidence of their importance (Sabeti, et al. 2006; Fu and Akey 2013; Key, et al. 2014).
Fu, W., and J. M. Akey. 2013. Selection and adaptation in the human genome. Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics 14:467–489.
A review emphasizing processes of natural selection and their effects on human genetic variation.
Key, F. M., J. C. Teixeira, C. de Filippo, and A. M. Andres. 2014. Advantageous diversity maintained by balancing selection in humans. Current Opinion in Genetics and Development 29:45–51.
A review of balancing selection in humans and methods for identifying it.
Kreitman, M. 2000. Methods to detect selection in populations with applications to the human. Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics 1:539–559.
A discussion of tests of selection and the ways in which they identify signatures of multiple forms of selection, with an emphasis on scenarios in humans and Drosophila.
Lachance, J., and S. A. Tishkoff. 2013. Population genomics of human adaptation. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 44:123–143.
A review focusing on specific selection pressures and adaptations that have had a significant impact in human evolution.
Nielsen, R. 2005. Molecular signatures of natural selection. Annual Review of Genetics 39:197–218.
A review of the patterns that different forms of natural selection leave in population-genetic data.
Sabeti, P. C., S. F. Schaffner, and B. Fry, et al. 2006. Positive natural selection in the human lineage. Science 312:1614–1620.
An overview of positive selection detection methods and observations in humans, with an emphasis on selection at different time scales.
Scheinfeldt, L. B., and S. A. Tishkoff. 2013. Recent human adaptation: Genomic approaches, interpretation and insights. Nature Reviews Genetics 14:692–702.
A review of signatures of natural selection in humans and the effort to identify candidate alleles and their functional consequences.
Vitti, J. J., S. R. Grossman, and P. C. Sabeti. 2013. Detecting natural selection in genomic data. Annual Review of Genetics 47:97–120.
A review focusing on methods of detecting different forms of natural selection, with examples from humans.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
- Adaptive Radiation
- Ancient DNA
- Behavioral Ecology
- Canalization and Robustness
- Character Displacement
- Cognition, Evolution of
- Constraints, Evolutionary
- Contemporary Evolution
- Convergent Evolution
- Cooperation and Conflict: Microbes to Humans
- Cooperative Breeding in Insects and Vertebrates
- Cryptic Female Choice
- Darwin, Charles
- Disease Virulence, Evolution of
- Ecological Speciation
- Epigenetics and Behavior
- Eusocial Insects as a Model for Understanding Altruism, Co...
- Evidence of Evolution, The
- Evolution and Development: Genes and Mutations Underlying ...
- Evolution and Development of Individual Behavioral Variati...
- Evolution, Cultural
- Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance
- Evolution of New Genes
- Evolution of Plant Mating Systems
- Evolution of Specialization
- Evolutionary Biology of Aging
- Evolutionary Biomechanics
- Evolutionary Computation
- Evolutionary Ecology of Communities
- Experimental Evolution
- Field Studies of Natural Selection
- Founder Effect Speciation
- Frequency-Dependent Selection
- Fungi, Evolution of
- Gene Duplication
- Gene Expression, Evolution of
- Gene Flow
- Genetics, Ecological
- Genome Evolution
- Geographic Variation
- Group Selection
- History of Evolutionary Thought, 1860–1925
- History of Evolutionary Thought before Darwin
- History of Evolutionary Thought Since 1930
- Human Behavioral Ecology
- Human Evolution
- Hybrid Speciation
- Hybrid Zones
- Identifying the Genomic Basis Underlying Phenotypic Variat...
- Inbreeding and Inbreeding Depression
- Inclusive Fitness
- Innovation, Evolutionary
- Islands as Evolutionary Laboratories
- Kin Selection
- Land Plants, Evolution of
- Landscape Genetics
- Landscapes, Adaptive
- Language, Evolution of
- Macroevolutionary Rates
- Male-Male Competition
- Mass Extinction
- Mate Choice
- Maternal Effects
- Medicine, Evolutionary
- Meiotic Drive
- Modern Synthesis, The
- Molecular Clocks
- Molecular Phylogenetics
- Mutation Rate and Spectrum
- Mutualism, Evolution of
- Natural Selection in Human Populations
- Natural Selection in the Genome, Detecting
- Neutral Theory
- New Zealand, Evolutionary Biogeography of
- Niche Construction
- Niche Evolution
- Non-Human Animals, Cultural Evolution in
- Origin and Early Evolution of Animals
- Origin of Eukaryotes
- Origin of Life, The
- Paradox of Sex
- Parental Care, Evolution of
- Personality Differences, Evolution of
- Phenotypic Plasticity
- Phylogenetic Comparative Methods and Tests of Macroevoluti...
- Phylogenetic Trees, Interpretation of
- Polyploid Speciation
- Population Genetics
- Population Structure
- Post-Copulatory Sexual Selection
- Psychology, Evolutionary
- Punctuated Equilibria
- Quantitative Genetic Variation and Heritability
- Reaction Norms, Evolution of
- Reproductive Proteins, Evolution of
- Selection, Directional
- Selection, Disruptive
- Selection Gradients
- Selection, Natural
- Selection, Sexual
- Selfish Genes
- Sexual Conflict
- Sexual Selection and Speciation
- Sexual Size Dimorphism
- Speciation Genetics and Genomics
- Speciation, Sympatric
- Species Concepts
- Sperm Competition
- Systems Biology
- Taxonomy and Classification
- Tetrapod Evolution
- Trends, Evolutionary
- Wallace, Alfred Russel