Measuring selection in contemporary human populations
Stephen C Stearns, Sean G Byars, Diddahally R Govindaraju, Douglas Ewbank
NATURE REVIEWS GENETICS | NATURE RESEARCH | Published : 2010
Are humans currently evolving? This question can be answered using data on lifetime reproductive success, multiple traits and genetic variation and covariation in those traits. Such data are available in existing long-term, multigeneration studies - both clinical and epidemiological - but they have not yet been widely used to address contemporary human evolution. Here we review methods to predict evolutionary change and attempts to measure selection and inheritance in humans. We also assemble examples of long-term studies in which additional measurements of evolution could be made. The evidence strongly suggests that we are evolving and that our nature is dynamic, not static.