Magazine article The Futurist

Knowledge of Evolution Is Power

Magazine article The Futurist

Knowledge of Evolution Is Power

Article excerpt

Evolving: The Human Effect and Why It Matters by Daniel J. Fairbanks. Prometheus. 2012. 328 pages. Paperback. $19.

Evolution did not just take place in humanity's past, according to Utah Valley University geneticist Daniel Fairbanks. He argues that it is occurring and shaping human life now, and that it will continue to do so.

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Fairbanks summarizes the existing knowledge of human evolution and the evidence for it, including discoveries about the human genome. We obtain a wealth of information about our evolutionary past from our DNA, he says, and he expects medicine to consult DNA all the more in the future. The costs of DNA testing are dropping precipitously, and they may become nearly universal, thus allowing for early detection and treatment or prevention of a wide range of disorders.

Fairbanks also describes how evolution continues. Species all around us mutate all the time, especially at the microbial level. We still evolve, too. New chromosome arrangements frequently appear in humans. …

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