Cultural selection and genetic diversity in humans

Abstract

Recent research into human origins has largely focused on deducing past events and processes from current patterns of genetic variation. Some human genes possess unexpectedly low diversity, seemingly resulting from events of the late Pleistocene. Such anomalies have previously been ascribed to population bottlenecks or selection on genes. For four species of matrilineal whale, evidence suggests that cultural evolution may have reduced the diversity of genes which have similar transmission characteristics to selective cultural traits, through a process called cultural hitchhiking. Cultural evolution is characteristic of human societies and so should be considered as a potential determinant of human genetic diversity. A stochastic simulation of gene and cultural dynamics in an array of hunter-gatherer tribes shows that cultural selection has the potential to severely reduce genetic diversity if: inter-tribe gene flows are reasonably low (<~0.6-15 genes/tribe/generation); cultural evolution changes fitness by >~0.3-3%/generation; and fitness is changed more by cultural innovation within a tribe than cultural assimilation from neighboring tribes. Thus cultural hitchhiking may explain low diversity and short coalescence times in mitochondrial and, especially, Y-linked human genes.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,549

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.

Similar books and articles

Genes and culture, protest and communication.Charles J. Lumsden & Edward O. Wilson - 1982 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 5 (1):31-37.
Précis of Genes, Mind, and Culture.Charles J. Lumsden & Edward O. Wilson - 1982 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 5 (1):1-7.
Genetic Research and Culture: Where Does the Offense Lie?Daryl Pullman & Laura Arbour - 2009 - In James O. Young & Conrad G. Brunk (eds.), The Ethics of Cultural Appropriation. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 115–139.
An Evolutionary Explanation Model on the Transformation of Culture by Cultural Gene.HanGoo Lee - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 38:49-55.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
64 (#249,799)

6 months
6 (#738,325)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references