Human evolution: Gradual or Punctuated? Accelerated integration of mtDNA pseudogenes into the nuclear genome coincides with speciation of the human genus. A Hypothesis.

Created on 2nd July 2017

Konstantin Gunbin; Konstantin Popadin; Leonid Peshkin; Sofia Annis; Rebecca Ackermann; Konstantin Khrapko;

The question: human evolution- gradual process or a rapid discontinuous change? Whether human origin was a gradual process or a result of rapid change has been a focus of intense debate. Of particular interest is the climate change ~2.9-2.5 Ma, thought to have precipitated the separation of the genus Homo (~2.8Ma). The debate mostly concerned continuity/punctuality of the fossil record, but of course the rate of the underlying genetic change is of ultimate interest/importance. Did hominid lineage experience an increased mutation rate when a large number of hominins emerged and eventually gave rise to the split between Australopitecus/Paranthropus and Homo?

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