Disease Resistance May Be Genetic
Schliekelman used mathematical models to calculate the possible effect of “kin selection” on natural evolution. “Natural selection is typically seen as ‘survival of the fittest’, but in this case it might be more accurate to say ‘survival of the fittest families,’” says Schliekelman.
His research led to the following conclusions:
* There exists a strong tendency to catch infectious diseases from family members.
* If a relative has a gene that gives resistance to a disease, it would benefit other relatives because they would be less likely to catch the disease.
* Genes that offer resistance to infectious diseases will tend to cluster in families.
* Therefore, the resistance genes in a family help each other out and natural selection in their favor can be dramatically increased.
This model may prove useful in understanding the spread of deadly diseases and may alter the long-term natural selection of certain genes in a population. Studying the genetic behavior of these diseases could be an important step towards understanding the evolutionary history of infectious disease resistance.
Article based on information provided by: Blackwell Publishing, Malden, Massachusetts U.S.A.
Adapted and published by: Mooshee.com
Originally released on: August 31
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