Accuracy of evolutionary analysis of populations within a species requires the testing of a large number of genetic polymorphisms belonging to many loci. We report here a reconstruction of human differentiation based on 100 DNA polymorphisms tested in five populations from four continents. The results agree with earlier conclusions based on other classes of genetic markers but reveal that Europeans do not fit a simple model of independently evolving populations with equal evolutionary rates. Evolutionary models involving early admixture are compatible with the data. Taking one such model into account, we examined through simulation whether random genetic drift alone might explain the variation among gene frequencies across populations and genes. A measure of variation among populations was calculated for each polymorphism, and its distribution for the 100 polymorphisms was compared with that expected for a drift-only hypothesis. At least two-thirds of the polymorphisms appear to be selectively neutral, but there are significant deviations at the two ends of the observed distribution of the measure of variation: a slight excess of polymorphisms with low variation and a greater excess with high variation. This indicates that a few DNA polymorphisms are affected by natural selection, rarely heterotic, and more often disruptive, while most are selectively neutral.