"The theory of kin selection and more recent evolutionary theory of genetic imprinting have helped scientists unravel the likely genetic influences of social competition over shared resources, although application of the latter for understanding conflicts in human reproduction is still in its infancy. This is remarkable as pregnancy disorders and mental diseases are a major source of human suffering where indications of maternal and paternal genetic conflicts altering metabolic and psychological pathways in offspring are increasingly discovered. However, ethical and privacy problems of obtaining relevant data have precluded explicit analyses of large data bases that would have the potential to confirm or refute predictions from genomic imprinting theory for embryonic development and later mental disease. The Nordic registry-based databases such as those located in Denmark offer a unique and untapped opportunity for doing such research. I propose to use this data to test the following questions: 1) does the incidence of genetic imprinting markers of parent-offspring conflict during the perinatal period increase the risk of developing psychological disorders later in life; 2) how does the expression of genetic conflict between parents and offspring relate to metabolic disorders and other components of offspring morbidity, health and reproductive life history? This body of theory has been developed by pioneers of Evolutionary Medicine in the U.S. and the necessary biostatistical expertise by myself, while working on the U.S. Framingham Heart Study population on a two-year postdoc at Yale University. This proposal aims to transfer these skills to Europe by training students while working with anonimised data from the Danish health databases, providing a networking platform at an upcoming international conference and strengthening newly developed research and teaching programs in Evolutionary Medicine that were initiated by the Copenhagen Centre for Social Evolution."
Field of science
- /social sciences/psychology/psychotherapy
- /natural sciences/computer and information sciences/databases
Call for proposal
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