How culture shaped the human genome: bringing genetics and the human sciences together

How culture shaped the human genome: bringing genetics and the human sciences together

Kevin N. Laland, John Odling‐Smee and Sean Myles

Nature Reviews Genetics 11, 137-148 (February 2010) | doi:10.1038/nrg2734


Researchers from diverse backgrounds are converging on the view that human evolution has been shaped by gene–culture interactions. Theoretical biologists have used population genetic models to demonstrate that cultural processes can have a profound effect on human evolution, and anthropologists are investigating cultural practices that modify current selection. These findings are supported by recent analyses of human genetic variation, which reveal that hundreds of genes have been subject to recent positive selection, often in response to human activities. Here, we collate these data, highlighting the considerable potential for cross-disciplinary exchange to provide novel insights into how culture has shaped the human genome.

  1. #1 par Jean-Pierre CRESPIN le mars 4, 2010 - 10:02

    Un sujet bien intéressant ! « Cultural processes » ça me rappelle quelque chose… « Cultural practices » aussi. ;o))
    Je pense fort aux modifications épigénétiques importantes qui ont affecté la vie des humains récents.
    Mutations de FOXP2 ; pourquoi, comment ?… Il y a 200 000 ans (?)
    Mutations de ENPP1 ; comment ? Pour quel bénéfice à priori ou à posteriori ? (10 000 ans ? )
    La mutation du gène LCT (tolérance au lactose) ; éviter les famines des débuts du néolithique par adaptation à un régime lacté prolongé durant toute la vie… (8 000 ans ?)

    « In response to human activities ». Yes, culture has shaped the human genome. Co-évolution, c’est sympa comme mot.

    J’en profite pour répondre à deux questions d’un castagneur :

    culture = Ensemble des éléments transmissibles permettant d’activer et de développer des dons naturels permettant à l’homme de s’élever au-dessus de sa condition initiale et d’accéder individuellement ou collectivement à un état supérieur, au sein d’une civilisation.

    Tème le plus ancien ? Sans doute le biface, mais je considère que c’est l’outil « maîtrise du feu » – afin de le produire à volonté – qui a modifié la destinée des hominidés.
    L’homme est le seul animal qui est parvenu à domestiquer le feu. Certains autres outils sont fabriqués par des espèces animales différentes. Le pieu effilé durci au feu est aussi un tème important dans la symbiose homo-outil.

    http://www.memetics-story.com/categorie-258297.html

  2. #2 par Oldcola le mars 6, 2010 - 1:16

    J’ai beaucoup apprécié leur définition de la culture en tant qu’information (BOX 1).

    What is culture?
    To the layperson, the term ‘culture’ typically evokes images of fine art and fashion, but historically anthropologists have characterized culture as the complex of beliefs, values, behaviour and traditions associated with a particular population. Neither notion is particularly conducive to scientific analysis. Human culture has proven a difficult concept to pin down, and there exists little definitional consensus within the social sciences. In this vacuum, geneticists and biological anthropologists, eager to explore how cultural phenomena interact with genes, have taken a pragmatic line to studying culture. For these researchers, culture is information that is capable of affecting individuals’ behaviour, which they acquire from other individuals through teaching, imitation and other forms of social learning. Here, ‘information’ includes knowledge, beliefs, values and skills. Cultural change can then be modelled as a Darwinian process comprising the selective retention of favourable culturally transmitted variants, as well as various non-selective processes, such as drift. Rather than attempting to describe the entire culture of a society, culture is broken down into specific traits (for instance, milk users or non-users, or consumption of a starch-rich or starch-poor diet), which allows their frequencies to be tracked mathematically.
    This broad characterization opens up the possibility of culture in other animals, and indeed traditions for exploiting prey or food sites, tool-use and vocalizations have been reported in a variety of animals, including fish, birds, cetaceans and non-human primates. These traditions exhibit several properties of interest to biologists. Perhaps the most obvious is that culture is a source of adaptive behaviour; individuals can efficiently acquire solutions to problems, such as ‘what to eat?’ and ‘with whom to mate?’, by copying others. But a variety of studies, ranging from investigations of fish mating sites to human foraging traditions, have established a capability of culture to propagate behaviour in a manner that is to some degree independent of the ecological environment. Culture can also generate patterns of phenotypic variation in space: clines in behavioural characteristics have been reported for orang-utan behaviour, birdsong and whale vocalizations. Moreover, these traditions modify the action of selection. For instance, models suggest that song learning in birds affects the selection of alleles influencing song acquisition and preference, can facilitate speciation and can lead to the evolution of brood parasitism94–96.

  3. #3 par Oldcola le mars 6, 2010 - 1:24

    Salut Jean-Pierre,
    plus que les mots clés, leur définition de la culture et leur façon de la considerer est particulièrement intéressante.

    Pour tes réponses réaction plus tard.

Laisser un commentaire

Entrez vos coordonnées ci-dessous ou cliquez sur une icône pour vous connecter:

Logo WordPress.com

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte WordPress.com. Déconnexion / Changer )

Image Twitter

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Twitter. Déconnexion / Changer )

Photo Facebook

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Facebook. Déconnexion / Changer )

Photo Google+

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Google+. Déconnexion / Changer )

Connexion à %s

%d blogueurs aiment cette page :