Evolutionary tree of genetic network

Interesting piece. Anyone who sees this as significant “news” is however missing what race and species really are and the fact that they’re not really very well defined objects. A species exists only if and so long as it cannot successfully interbreed with another, and the experience of a line of individuals is something quite different to the average statistical patterns of a population.

The branching and re-merging picture of the “muddy delta” from the article is about genetic distributions:

The branching-only tree view only applies to things we choose to call species, with hindsight and with some presumed good reason.

But, genetic material in DNA mixes with breeding – that’s a network of relations individually and population-wise over time – and only a small part of the genetic payload is significant in determining what might lead us to name a race or species. The vast majority of that payload is simply dispersed through the breeding networks. A second small proportion may be important to features of the individuals even if not the initial tiny portion that determines a race or species, but both are small compared to the genetic baggage that comes along for the ride.

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