This likely applies to humans as well because () a number of these traits show heritable genetic variation (4–7), attesting the potential for a microevolutionary response to selection.
This evolutionary potential of modern humans has major implications.
Darwinian evolution is often perceived as a slow process.
However, there is growing awareness that microevolution, defined as a genetic change from one generation to the next in response to natural selection, can lead to changes in the phenotypes (observable characters) of organisms over just a few years or decades (1, 2).
To overcome these problems, recent studies of wild birds and mammals have tested for microevolution by directly measuring changes in breeding values (16–22; see ref. The breeding value (BV) of an individual is the additive effect of his/her genes on a trait value relative to the mean phenotype in the population, in other words the heritable variation that parents transmit to their offspring (11).
In quantitative genetic (QG) notation, the phenotypic measurement can thus be written as is a residual term that may include environmental and nonadditive genetic effects and measurement error.
As reported for other such societies, natural selection favored an earlier age at first reproduction (AFR) among women.
AFR was also highly heritable and genetically correlated to fitness, predicting a microevolutionary change toward earlier reproduction.
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