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Approved research

High-throughput detection of genealogical distortions due to selection

Principal Investigator: Professor Jonathan Terhorst
Approved Research ID: 42622
Approval date: May 7th 2019

Lay summary

Understanding how humans evolved and adapted to their environment is one of the most important and interesting questions in science. This project aims to uncover the genetic basis of traits that evolved recently in humans and made them fitter. Examples of this include the ability to metabolize lactose into adulthood (lactase persistence) or various forms of skin and eye pigmentation. Using a large amount of data from the UKBB, we hope to uncover other beneficial traits that arose recently (in the last 10,000 years, say) and are therefore only found in a small fraction of the population. By locating the genetic basis of these traits, we can gain important insight into their so-called "genetic architecture". Understanding the genetic architecture of complex traits is broadly beneficial to our understanding of human health and heritable genetic diseases.