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Evolution in Health and Disease$
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Stephen C. Stearns and Jacob C. Koella

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199207466

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199207466.001.0001

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Global spatial patterns of infectious diseases and human evolution

Global spatial patterns of infectious diseases and human evolution

Chapter:
(p.19) Chapter 2 Global spatial patterns of infectious diseases and human evolution
Source:
Evolution in Health and Disease
Author(s):

Jean-François Guégan

Franck Prugnolle

Frédéric Thomas (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199207466.003.0002

This chapter surveys global spatial patterns of the incidence of infectious diseases and human genetic variation. Contagious diseases are everywhere; zoonotic pathogens are concentrated in the tropics. Thus, populations in the tropics have suffered, and are still suffering, from a greater diversity of pathogens. Pathogens have exerted selective pressures on humans, which have evolved resistant genotypes. The results can be observed in human genomes. The life-history traits of early humans were shaped by interactions with parasites, and connections between life history traits and disease biology can help us to understand fertility, sexual dimorphism, and lifespan. Important questions remain open: which kinds of pathogens are most likely to emerge into human populations in the future? Will the homogenization of zoonotic diseases interfere with human adaptation and evolution? If pathogen pressure maintains much human polymorphism, what will be the effects of disease control and eradication on our own evolution?

Keywords:   disease geography, pathogen diversity, infectious diseases, birth weight, fertility

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