Thursday, March 30, 2006

Recent Selection in the Human Genome

A new paper in PLoS Biology by Voight, Pritchard et al.

A Map of Recent Positive Selection in the Human Genome B. Voight et al.


Briefly, this paper uses the fact that favored alleles can be expected to lie in longer haplotypes than expected based on the rest of the genome (background). 800, 000 SNPs are examined in 309 individuals divided into 3 major population groups (AF, EU, AS). The authors point out that the signals of selection in this test are for markers that are at an intermediate frequency, and most of the signals of selection are presumed to have arisen after the three goups split off.

Types of genes under selection:

- chemosensory perception/olfaction
- carbohydrate metabolism
- fertility/reproduction/spermatogenesis (why????)
- skin pigmentation
- skeletal development/morphological features
... and a few others...

NOTE: There is also a paper in this same issue that discusses the need for more stringent measures and standards for reporting "selection" from genetic data.

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