Broad Paper Vids: Natural selection and infectious disease in human populations



we have this hypothesis that infectious disease going to be shaping the human genome but is this actually true do we have evidence out there is there work that people have done that shows us that this is going on and what we we kind of cover in this review paper is we show that there are many many examples where we are seeing actually that infectious diseases have shaped our genome and that this is actually relevant to health problems today humans evolved originally in Africa and about 50,000 years ago they left and spread out across the world and if you kind of think about it they spread into new environments which meant they were encountering diseases they hadn't seen before and at the same time we were developing these new technologies like agriculture where we were living in much closer contact with one another we're building cities we were domesticating animals so as we're kind of leaving Africa spreading out across the world and also changing our civilization we're encountering all of these new infectious diseases and you actually see this kind of in the skeletal records where our populations explode the number of people goes way up but actually our average life span seems to go down so people are dying younger and so we kind of said all right this looks great in it and we can actually we know from our tests for natural selection that we can kind of detect natural selection that's happening right within this time frame that people are spreading out across the world and so this is kind of where it started and what we found is that it there are there there is evidence that our own genetics so things in our own genome affect whether we're going to get sick or not when we're exposed to these diseases and in the past it turns out you know the people that got sick with these diseases were more likely to die people that didn't get sick were more likely to survive and we've had more children and its really really interesting from a medical standpoint because basically when you kind of think about it it's basically this epic clinical trial is evolution you know for thousands and thousands and thousands of years we've been randomly changing our genome and then figuring out whether it makes us healthier and things that are healthier get kept around and things that make us less healthy get weeded out and so we kind of have this epic clinical trial that's been going on for thousands of years and now that we have all of these huge you know kind of new genomic technologies where we can look at the entire genome for the first time we actually have the power and the ability to go back and figure out the results of that clinical trial and so it's kind of a cool way is a cool new way of looking at the human genome to kind of use that past but the really interesting thing about being at the broad is that there are all these other groups that are working on different pieces of the puzzle and so we've got groups that are looking at you know how cells respond to you know exposure to viruses in a very specific way and how it cells exposed to how immune cells respond to exposure to bacteria in a really specific way and by kind of even though each of these pieces right now might not be exactly tied together once you find something new and exciting you can go and talk to all of these other people and figure out what does this mean and what does everybody else know about it and it kind of like leapfrogs your research forward so much faster than it would if you're trying to do it all by yourself you

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