A new study published today in the journal PLOS Biology suggests that human beings are still evolving. Don’t imagine, however, that it’s the kind of evolution you see in X-Men — sorry, no mutant powers just yet. However, it’s the type of evolution that could occur in one or two generations, and can prolong human life.
Researchers from Columbia University studied a large sample genome pool of 210,000 people from the United States and Britain. They found that certain genetic variants, particularly those found in people with Alzheimer’s and those who are heavy smokers, as well as genetic mutations in those more prone to heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity, and asthma, appear less often in people who live longer. These are also the ones more likely to get passed down to successive generations, suggesting that the human genome is still weeding out what it deems to be unfavorable genetic strains.