Has Natural Selection Caused Inflammatory Disease?
Towfique Raj, PhD, BWH Department of Neurology, is the lead author on this study. The findings suggest that in the past these variants rose in frequency in the human population to help protect us against viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. But now in our modern world, the environment and exposure to pathogens has changed, and the genetic variants that were originally meant to protect us, now make an autoimmune reaction more likely. These results are consistent with the hygiene hypothesis in which our cleaner environment is thought to contribute to the increasing prevalence of inflammatory diseases.
This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (RC2 GM093080, R01 NS067305 and F32 AG043267).
Full manuscript can be found at: http://www.cell.com/AJHG/abstract/S0002-9297(13)00109-2
Brigham and Women's Hospital
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