IBE: "Gypsies" genes reveal traces of convergent evolution

IBE: "Gypsies" genes reveal traces of convergent evolution

News from IBE (CSIC-UPF)

The Black Death or bubonic plague, the deadliest pandemic in the 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 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 have affected 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, a process known as convergent positive selection. This seems to be what happened in Europe in the fourteenth century, during the outbreak of the bubonic plague that only affected the inhabitants of this continent. 

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Hafid Laayouni, Marije Oosting, Pierre Luisi, Mihai Ioana, Santos Alonso, Isis Ricaño-Ponce, Gosia Trynka, Alexandra Zhernakova, Theo S. Plantinga, Shih-Chin Cheng, Jos W. M. van der Meer, Radu Popp, Ajit Sood, B. K. Thelma, Cisca Wijmenga, Leo A. B. Joosten, Jaume Bertranpetit i Mihai G. Netea, (2014), "Convergent evolution in European and Rroma populations reveals pressure exerted by plague on Toll-like receptors" , PNAS, 3 de febrer.