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Evolution: Could speciation in humans happen by choice?

by edpell
Tags: discussion, evolution
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edwardr
#19
May6-14, 11:32 AM
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It certainly *could* happen, but it's much easier in theory than in the real world. The group(s) would need to be sufficiently isolated to minimize gene flow to a non-existent or bare level, and this would need to continue for tens of thousands, perhaps millions of years. And at what point would they become a sub-species? Or an entirely new species? That's a fuzzy boundary. It is possible the group's appearance could become markedly different despite sharing much genetic material. Consider, for example, the physical variation between human populations despite such little genetic variation.

Embracing the biological species concept, this theoretical group would be classified as another species when the potential for interbreeding becomes impractical or otherwise impossible. Considering that the myriad of cultural and physical variance between human populations doesn't really serve as a barrier today (or in modern history), this new species would probably need to be quite different to reach that point.

There would be challenges associated with this. For example, have a look at some of the research on genetic disorders within the Amish community:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3077314/

The path to speciation is not pretty.


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