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11.5 Out of Africa Hypothesis of Human Evolution

Mathematical models of evolution allow predictions about the genetic structure of evolving populations. Direct examination of the genetic structure of modern populations via DNA sequencing has recently allowed verification of many of these predictions. For example, the “Out of Africa” theory of human origins, which states that modern humans developed in Africa and a small sub-population migrated out, implies that modern populations should show the signatures of this migration pattern. Specifically, “out of Africa” populations (Europeans and Asians) should show lower overall genetic diversity and a more uniform distribution of allele frequencies compared to the African population. Both of these predictions are borne out by actual data from a number of studies.