Daniel Lemire's blog

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Human Brain Evolution Slows To A Crawl

According to Chung-I Wu from the University of Chicago the human brain hardly evolves anymore.

The researchers say the slowdown may be due to the increasingly complexity of interactions within the brain. “We know that proteins with more interacting partners evolve more slowly,” Wu said. “Mutations that disrupt existing interactions aren’t tolerated. On the basis of individual neurons of the brain, humans may indeed have a far more active, or even more complex, transcription profile than chimpanzee. We suggest that such abundant and complex transcription may increase gene-gene interactions and constrain coding-sequence evolution.

Any mathematician worth its salt will think about an iterative algorithm reaching a local maximum and no longer able to improve the solution by much. Are human beings a local maximum of evolution?

What is interesting also is that chimps are now evolving faster than we do. This feels like a David Brin novel!

(Source: Peter Turney.)