Climate is a key environmental factor and one of the main selective pressures affecting the survival of organisms, including human beings. Human populations were exposed to a wide range of environmental conditions after the migration Out of Africa, which could have shaped the evolution of traits related to metabolism, like thermoregulation. In this project, we will search for signals of selection caused by climate across the human genome to study climate adaptation in our species. We will assess the existence of recent and ancient events of selection using novel approaches that increase the statistical power respect to previous methods and control for many genomic confounding factors that are usually overlooked. We will combine bootstrapping and machine learning methods to this end. This project will focus on the influence of climate in the evolution of traits related to metabolism (thermoregulation in tissues like brown adipose tissue and skeletal muscle). We will also consider the influence of adaptive introgression from archaic humans (e.g. Neanderthals) that human populations encountered during their migrations. Finally, the evolutionary information generated will be used to inform genetic association studies and medical genetics. We will assess the influence of climate adaptation in current health issues by testing the relationship between climate-selected variants and prevalence of non-infectious chronic diseases. Finally, we will propose and test novel candidate genes for these diseases from genomic regions with high signals of climate selection.
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