Richard Lewontin: Pioneering evolutionary biologist dies aged 92

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Richard Lewontin

Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard

Richard Lewontin, the geneticist and evolutionary biologist whose research showed that humans from different ethnic backgrounds aren’t as genetically different as appearances might suggest, has died at the age of 92.

Lewontin’s work revealed that nearly 85 per cent of humanity’s genetic diversity is seen between individuals of a single population, such as those of a single nation. A further 8 per cent occurs between such populations that might have been put into the same racial category. Differences between ethnic groups accounted for just 7 per cent of genetic diversity. Simply put: two people are different because they are …

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