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"Gypsies" genes reveal traces of convergent evolution

"Gypsies" genes reveal traces of convergent evolution

Deadly epidemics affect the configuration of the human immune system

04.02.2014

 

" Gypsies" genes reveal traces of convergent evolution"

The Black Death or bubonic plague , the deadliest pandemic in history of Europe, not only killed sixty million people, but also left a mark on the immune system of the inhabitants of the continent, according to a research published in the PNAS. The study, conducted by researchers at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (UPF -CSIC ) and the Radboud University in the Netherlands, concludes that the deadly epidemics affect the configuration of the human immune system.
The aim of the research was to detect patterns of genetic variation resulting from the selective pressure of an infectious disease, process known as convergent positive selection. It seems to be what have happened in Europe in the fourteenth century, during the outbreak of bubonic plague that only affected the inhabitants of this continent. This infectious process performed on the genome of two ethnic groups sharing the same environment but differed in their baggage genetic: Romanians and Gypsies as can be nowadays seen in some inmune system genes.

Reference article: "Convergent evolution in European and Rroma populations reveals pressure exerted by plague on Toll-like receptors," by Hafid Laayouni et al.2014. PNAs. published ahead of print February 3, 2014, doi:10.1073/pnas.1317723111 Authors from Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Institute of Evolutionary Biology (CSIC-UPF): Hafid Laayouni, Pierre Luisi, Jaume Bertranpetit

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