Human pathogen-driven evolution

Published on March 18, 2015   44 min

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Other Talks in the Series: Human Population Genetics II

Hi, my name is Matteo Fumagalli, and I'm a research associate at UCL Genetic Institute, University College London. Today I'll be talking about how pathogens have exerted a strong selective pressure throughout human history, and how humans have genetically adopted to it.
Genetic adaptation to new environments has held an important role during human evolution. The ancient human migration to colder climates with less incident of sunlight had adaptive consequences for pigmentation or metabolic traits. Likewise, the changes in the subsistence strategies, for instance, after the advent of agriculture, allowed for both the establishment of larger and connected social groups, and for the availability of newer sources of food, with a notable impact at the metabolism level. And finally, the recent expansions in proximity to livestock, as well as recent human migrations and colonization of new habitats, enhanced the exposures to novel infective agents, and the spread of new diseases, imposing a strong selective pressure at the immune system level. These observations raise the question of to what extent these selective pressures have left a signature in the human genome.