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Rapid evolution affects us all

Humans affect the evolution of other species and the changes are noticeable as quickly as only after a few generations.
Black bird sitting on a twig.
Photo: Erik Svensson.

In a thematic issue of the scientific journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Lund University researchers and others have for the first time compiled large parts of the knowledge in this area with the very latest research findings.

Two aspects of evolution are addressed in this thematic issue: human impact on the evolution of other species and how these in turn affect us and our lifestyles, as well as the speed of evolution, faster than many evolutionary biologists have traditionally imagined it to be.

Through our way of life, we as humans have an impact on the force and direction of nature and evolution. Changes in animal breeding are one clear example of this; urbanisation is another which has a major impact on many different species. The changes that we contribute to have repercussions on our own lives through, for instance, changes in food supply, the spread of diseases and increased antibiotic resistance.

“Evolution can happen very quickly – so fast that the changes are noticeable after only a few generations”, says Erik Svensson, professor at the Faculty of Science in Lund and one of the editors of the thematic issue of the journal.

Written by Jan Olsson

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