I know that many readers are interested in our research on genetic networks and recent human evolution. I will be delivering a keynote presentation next month at the International Congress on Celiac Disease in Chicago, the morning of September 25. The meeting website has a full scientific program, as well as a separate clinical track throughout the entire meeting.
My talk will focus on the prehistory and history of celiac disease, using it as an example to understand how complex gene networks have responded to the last 20,000 years of human evolution. My Ph.D. student Aaron Sams (now postdoc at Cornell) has accomplished some great work on the distribution of variation and evolutionary history of the gene network underlying celiac risk. The first publication on that research came out this summer , and more will be forthcoming.
Many people know that celiac disease has been much more visible in recent years as diagnostic standards and our knowledge of the genetics of autoimmune conditions have both improved. What most people don't know are the fascinating anthropological story underlying celiac disease, and how the disorder provides a model for looking at the evolution of other complex traits.
- . Patterns of population differentiation and natural selection on the celiac disease background risk network. PLoS One. 2013 ;8(7):e70564.