Hunting and gathering societies currently comprise only a small proportion of all human populations. However, the geographic and environmental diversity of modern hunter–gatherer groups, their inherent dependence on ecological resources, and their connection to patterns of behavior and subsistence that represent the vast majority of human history provide opportunities for scientific research to deliver major insights into the evolutionary history of our species. We review recent evolutionary genomic studies of hunter–gatherers, focusing especially on those that identify and functionally characterize phenotypic adaptations to local environments. We also call attention to specific ethical issues that scientists conducting hunter–gatherer genomics research ought to consider, including potential social and economic tensions between traditionally mobile hunter–gatherers and the land ownership-based nation-states by which they are governed, and the implications of genomic-based evidence of long-term evolutionary associations with particular habitats.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Biology