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Evolutionary history of the sickle cell trait among Central African hunter-gatherers and farmers

Project description

Human genomic evolution during the Neolithic transition

In sub-Saharan Africa, 400 000 people die every year from malaria. The prevailing view among scientists was that malaria was active since the Neolithic transition, a period marked by the diffusion of agriculture. It is believed that the genetic disease sickle cell anaemia developed as a survival mechanism against malaria. Recent comparative studies detected Pygmy populations with high incidence of sickle cell anaemia, suggesting that malaria has a pre-Neolithic origin. The EU-funded PreNeolithicMalaria project will use genetic data from Bantu and Pygmy populations to test the hypothesis that sickle cell developed in pre-Neolithic times. If proven, it will indicate that human genomic resistance to malaria could have facilitated the Neolithic transition.

Coordinator

THE UNIVERSITY COURT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ST ANDREWS
Net EU contribution
€ 224 933,76
Address
North Street 66 College Gate
KY16 9AJ St Andrews
United Kingdom

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Region
Eastern Scotland Clackmannanshire and Fife
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 224 933,76