Inferring the selection history of worldwide populations in relation to phenotypes

Year of award: 2017


  • Dr Garrett Hellenthal

    University College London

Project summary

Patterns in our DNA enable us to adapt to our environment. Genes that encode mechanisms that are vital to our survival in different environments have been passed down over the years. Many such conserved genetic regions have been linked to diseases, such as sickle cell anaemia. Finding the regions that our genome has chosen to preserve can help us to understand which genetic pieces are vital for warding off disease or resisting pathogens.

We will identify these genetic regions by applying mathematical models to large-scale DNA resources consisting of samples from more than 10,000 people worldwide. We will explore DNA patterns across groups to understand how human adaptation has varied in different environments.

By comparing our DNA patterns with those of our ancestors, we will learn how genes have evolved to extend our lives.