In the course of evolution, people have become taller and smarter than their ancestors.
Scientists analyzed data on genes and health status from more than a hundred studies conducted in different parts of the world. Information was received on 350 thousand people: both urban residents and rural.
Scientists have noted all cases of inheritance from both parents of identical copies of genes (a sign of family ties between their paternal and maternal ancestors). The fewer such copies in an individual's genome, the higher the level of his genetic diversity.
It turned out that genetic diversity is correlated with high growth and developed intelligence, and even with a higher level of education.
Experts also expected that genetic diversity was associated with blood pressure and cholesterol levels (both are believed to increase the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease). However, these expectations were not confirmed. Thus, the family ties of ancestors do not affect the likelihood of developing complex diseases.
Our study answers questions about the benefits of genetic diversity that were first posed by Darwin. Next, we plan to focus on the specific regions of the genome that benefit most from it.
- Peter Joshi, Researcher