Journal Club

Here is the paper I’ll be covering in the Laboratory of Biological Modeling, NIDDK, Journal Club tomorrow

Morphological and population genomic evidence that human faces have evolved to signal individual identity

Michael J. Sheehan & Michael W. Nachman

Abstract: Facial recognition plays a key role in human interactions, and there has been great interest in understanding the evolution of human abilities for individual recognition and tracking social relationships. Individual recognition requires sufficient cognitive abilities and phenotypic diversity within a population for discrimination to be possible. Despite the importance of facial recognition in humans, the evolution of facial identity has received little attention. Here we demonstrate that faces evolved to signal individual identity under negative frequency-dependent selection. Faces show elevated phenotypic variation and lower between-trait correlations compared with other traits. Regions surrounding face-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms show elevated diversity consistent with frequency-dependent selection. Genetic variation maintained by identity signalling tends to be shared across populations and, for some loci, predates the origin of Homo sapiens. Studies of human social evolution tend to emphasize cognitive adaptations, but we show that social evolution has shaped patterns of human phenotypic and genetic diversity as well.


One thought on “Journal Club

  1. (negative) ‘frequency dependent selection’ sounds good (eg PNAS 1984 james curtsinger or s smale in JMaBio around 77); many early models had fitness coefficients as constants (some also simplify things by assuming everything is a haploid (eg Kirkpatrick on sexual selection and fisher runaway process), so you dont even need quadratics like hardy-weinberg). there are plenty of ways to make them nonlinear functions (eg Boyd and Richerson, culture and the evolutionary process ; 1985). Fluctuating assymetry is the only topic on this area i’ve heard of before, though all sorts of things like kin recognition are connected to the topic as noted in the paper. But this is the era of big data and SNPs unless u work in some very relevant field applicable to political and social marketing, such as knot theory. Maybe it would be better to go into something easy like comics eg but you have to know your target audience (eg move to gay paree like james baldwin and the jazz musicians) though u also may not want to use your credit card at target. i did but got it just before they got the numbers, an excellent pack (probably made in china) but now its ill so i need a new one so i’ll use cash if i get another 1 (there is a thrift store here but sometimes its not safe).It may go down to 12 degrees tonite. hooray!!! plus a bit of snow on the ground. (i know the drivers hate it, but haters gonna hate). i hear funded NIH grant proposals are down to around 15%.


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