According to Wikipedia:

The race of the future is a theoretical composite race which will result from ongoing racial admixture.

That article presents two contradictory views regarding whether humanity is becoming 'more homogenous' genetically or whether we are, in fact, diverging.

Has there been any empirical research or consensus on this? Is such an answer even possible?

  • 1
    It would be nice to find someone arguing for the claim in the last ten or twenty years, rather than 1930, to show it is still notable. – Oddthinking May 13 '14 at 0:38
  • 3
    From the (limited) perspective of my armchair, the claim that we are diverging would be more extrardinary, without evidence of major barriers to gene flow. – DMGregory May 13 '14 at 4:11
  • @DMGregory it can be argued either way. There have been populations living in close proximity for hundreds of years in 'enclaves' that have not merged genetically. If the community finds this to be a stupid question, feel free to close. I am literally just curious. – MrFox May 13 '14 at 13:56
  • The answer will depend on a lot of assumptions about future migration and mating behavior. For instance, will high migration rates continue if developing countries become richer? What if oil becomes very expensive? Will ethnic communities integrate more rapidly than in the past (lack of racism), or will ethnic barriers be more longed-lived (due to easier communication with the homeland). These factors are changing so quickly that I don't think that there's a reasonable default assumption. In other words, I don't think it's meaningful to say "if current trends continue...". – adam.r May 20 '14 at 2:50

This study on genetic diversity between populations suggests that separate populations are still genetically distinct from each other. Unfortunately, I haven't found a good accessible paper on how this has varied historically, although the scientists do seem to proceed from the viewpoint that greater genetic variation is tied to an "older" historical population within an area.

  • I think your are misinterpreting (or mis-describing) that first study. First, I consider "discernible" to be different from "distinct", and the study addresses the former, not the later. More fundamentally, the study avoided "mixed raced" people, so they are explicitly removing the effect of recent admixture. It's hard to track down the details for most samples, but one telling description is this: "60 Utah residents with ancestry from northern and western Europe". So at least in this case they selected for homogeneous ancestry...and they probably did the same for all samples, if they could. – adam.r May 20 '14 at 2:27

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