Population genetics contributes to understanding modern immunity

Comparing the genomes of various modern human populations can lead to crucial insights in immune responses. In the study depicted below, we compared the genetic make-up of an European population (Romanians), a Roma population leaving in Europe, and an ancestral North-Indian population. Although these populations are genetically distinct, we were able to identify gene sets that have been pushed to evolve in the same direction by infectious pressures such as the plague. In this way we have identified a new receptor system for the recognition of the plague pathogen, Yersinia pestis.

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