DOI: 10.1101/487207Dec 4, 2018Paper

Natural selection contributed to immunological differences between human hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Genelle F HarrisonLuis B Barreiro


The shift from a hunter-gatherer (HG) to an agricultural (AG) mode of subsistence is believed to have been associated with profound changes in the burden and diversity of pathogens across human populations. Yet, the extent to which the advent of agriculture may have impacted the evolution of the human immune system remains unknown. Here we present a comparative study of variation in the transcriptional responses of peripheral blood mononuclear cells to bacterial and viral stimuli between Batwa rainforest hunter-gatherers and Bakiga agriculturalists from Uganda. We observed increased divergence between hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists in the transcriptional response to viruses compared to that for bacterial stimuli. We demonstrate that a significant fraction of these transcriptional differences are under genetic control, and we show that positive natural selection has helped to shape population differences in immune regulation. Across the set of genetic variants underlying inter-population immune response differences, however, the signatures of positive selection were disproportionately observed in the rainforest hunter-gatherers. This result is counter to expectations based on the popularized notion that shifts in pathogen...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Transcription, Genetic
Gene Mutant
Population Group
Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell (Cell)
Regulation of Immune Response
IDS gene
Comparative Study Research

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