Impressive project. Emphasis mine.
Africans have more genetic variation than anyone else on Earth, according to a new study that helps narrow the location where humans first evolved, probably near the South Africa-Namibia border.   The largest study of African genetics ever undertaken also found that nearly three-fourths of African-Americans can trace their ancestry to West Africa. The new analysis published Thursday in the online edition of the journal Science.  "Given the fact that modern humans arose in Africa, they have had time to accumulate dramatic changes" in their genes, explained lead researcher Sarah Tishkoff, a geneticist at the University of Pennsylvania.  People have been adapting to very diverse environmental niches in Africa, she explained in a briefing.  Over 10 years, Tishkoff and an international team of researchers trekked across Africa collecting samples to compare the genes of various peoples. Often working in primitive conditions, the researchers sometimes had to resort to using a car battery to power their equipment, Tishkoff explained. 
More at the link above. Also this kinda related study from the Scripps Research Institute. Variety, thy name is life!
A group of scientists at The Scripps Research Institute has set up the microscopic equivalent of the Galapagos Islands—an artificial ecosystem inside a test tube where molecules evolve to exploit distinct ecological niches, similar to the finches that Charles Darwin famously described in The Origin of the Species 150 years ago. As described in an article published in an advance, online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the work demonstrates some of the classic principles of evolution. For instance, research shows that when different species directly compete for the same finite resource, only the fittest will survive. The work also demonstrates how, when given a variety of resources, the different species will evolve to become increasingly specialized, each filling different niches within their common ecosystem.

Uber-cool! Again, More at the link above.
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“In the time of your life, live - so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite variety and mystery of it.” - William Saraoyan

2 comments

  1. Zuri // May 2, 2009 at 10:25 AM  

    The Galapagos Islands are the most incredible living museum of evolutionary changes, with a huge variety of exotic species (birds, land animals, plants) and landscapes not seen anywhere else.

  2. Sanjeev // May 2, 2009 at 12:10 PM  

    Indeed, Zuri. You are a lucky man to be able to enjoy the Galapagos in person!