Monday, January 23, 2012

Evidence for a Relative Explosion of Evolutionary Specification and Genetic Divergence?

כ״ט בטבת תשע"ב
Imbolgen 2
Rowan 4

There is direct scientific evidence to suggest that mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup N incorporates some Cro-Magnon (Homo Sapiens Sapiens, i.e., early modern humans) genetic material while mtDNA haplogroup X incorporates some Neanderthal (Homo Sapiens Neanderthalis) genetic material.

Interestingly, haplogroup X is considered to be a genetic descendent of haplogroup N, where haplogroup N is one of the "big three" primary macro-haplogroups from which all subsequent mtDNA haplogroups derive. The descent of a Neanderthal mtDNA containing haplogroup from a Cro-Magnon mtDNA containing haplogroup is not what one would typically expect to find, I think, unless ...

The three primary macro-haplogroups are L, M and N. Both M and N demonstrate alot of divergence (both M and N are descended from L1/3), and N demonstrates even more divergence than does M, while L2 (descended from L1) shows very little continued divergence over time. I think these facts are interesting and important to investigate further, particularly the fact that haplogroup N demonstrates many actively diverging lines, much more so than the others seem to (as seen in the table below). In other words, it looks to me as if mtDNA macro-haplogroup N is sort of like an active volcano while the other two macro-haplogroups (namely, L2 and M) are somewhat dormant at this time in history. Perhaps the combination of Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal DNA into macro-haplogroup N has caused quite a catalytic genetic explosion of specification and divergence - at least in the motherlines.

I want to learn more about this. I don't know enough about this area of science to be able to know how the mechanism of such a thing would work in nature.

UPDATE: A commenter (on one of my other sites) mentioned that this may also be evidence that our human "instincts" have been bred out of us - but I'm not sure that I can agree with that assumption. I think of the evidence more in terms of specification and specialization - I think of the phenomenon as more analogous to medical profession specialization and divergence. With so much knowledge and information available to us in the Universe, the greater the specialization, the more in depth one may learn about any given area. For example, a cardiologist is more learned in her/his area of medicine than is a neurologist, who is more learned in neurology than cardiology. Likewise in all areas of human endeavor, biologic specification may tell us more in depth about one area of ourselves as a species. Each haplogroup may be geared toward some kind of biologic specification in terms of evolution than the others. Importantly, this does not mean that one haplogroup is more evolved over another - it only may mean that each haplogroup may have been designed by the Universe as a mechanism for revealing deep truths about ourselves that we, as a species, might otherwise be unable to access if we all remained generalists in terms of biology. Generalists too are important, in my opinion, to the survival of our species, as generalists tend less to be focused on their own area of specialization and oftentimes may be able to see the overall picture with more clarity than a specialist. There is so much knowledge the Universe wishes to bestow upon us as a species, and in my opinion, this may be one mechanism by which the Universe has chosen to do it - each haplogroup has a piece of the puzzle - no piece can stand alone as the whole puzzle.

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