Selection Pressure Shapes Fatty Acid Metabolism in Greenlandic Inuit Populations
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By shaping the genomes of ancient populations, selection pressure allowed individuals to adapt to local environments and stressors.1 Well-known examples include thalassemia and sickle cell disease, which offered protection against malaria in Mediterranean and African populations, respectively. More recently, variations in the lactase gene have been identified among populations with a long history of cattle herding and milk consumption to maintain the ability to metabolize lactose into adulthood.2 Indeed, many of the ancient genetic variations shaped by selection pressure explain the phenotypic and physiological variation across geographically diverse populations that exist today. As is the case with sickle cell disease, however, the benefits of certain genetic variants can disappear, or worse, the variants can become detrimental in environments different from which they were derived.
See Article by Skotte et al
Whereas early investigations in molecular anthropology studied population genetics in relation to anthropometric or physiological characteristics, advances in ‘omics technology now allow the integration of genetic variation with additional molecular data to provide a more granular and mechanistic view of evolutionary adaptation. However, although this integrative molecular approach has been used within populations to characterize the genetic architecture of certain disease states,3–5 its application in unraveling the implications of genetic variation between populations has been limited. As populations …