What the Boss Likes – science that shows how evolution works

A nifty new bit of research about the Black Death. I’ve always been fascinated with that time period. This shows how there is no “good” or “bad” in evolution, only what gets the attributes passed on. My family has alpha-1 anti-trypsin deficiency, which can give you what amounts to emphysema, but they think also protected from parasites.

“Infectious diseases are among the strongest selective pressures driving human evolution1,2. This includes the single greatest mortality event in recorded history, the first outbreak of the second pandemic of plague, commonly called the Black Death, which was caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis3. This pandemic devastated Afro-Eurasia, killing up to 30–50% of the population4. To identify loci that may have been under selection during the Black Death, we characterized genetic variation around immune-related genes from 206 ancient DNA extracts, stemming from two different European populations before, during and after the Black Death. Immune loci are strongly enriched for highly differentiated sites relative to a set of non-immune loci, suggesting positive selection. We identify 245 variants that are highly differentiated within the London dataset, four of which were replicated in an independent cohort from Denmark, and represent the strongest candidates for positive selection. The selected allele for one of these variants, rs2549794, is associated with the production of a full-length (versus truncated) ERAP2 transcript, variation in cytokine response to Y. pestis and increased ability to control intracellular Y. pestis in macrophages. Finally, we show that protective variants overlap with alleles that are today associated with increased susceptibility to autoimmune diseases, providing empirical evidence for the role played by past pandemics in shaping present-day susceptibility to disease.”
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-05349-x

I’ve also recently watched Lucy Worsley’s show on the Black Death too:

https://www.pbs.org/show/lucy-worsley-investigates/

4 thoughts on “What the Boss Likes – science that shows how evolution works

  1. Talk Origins was responsible for my ditching the last remnant of faith desperately hanging on by a thread. I was well into the agnostic stage, holding out for the possibility that maybe I just didn’t know. But I found the 29 Evidences for Evolution there. I read it. It’s a deep read, so I read it again. I absorbed it pretty well the second time through and came out of that as an out and out atheist. There was no more doubt that evolution is the solution, and religion is BS.

    So thank you Talk Origins! It is where I saw the light. Once I had an understanding of evolution, and how it left no room for magic bullshit, I knew religion and I were done.

    Thankfully much of TO is still archived. In fact I might go back and give the ole 29 Evidences another run through.

    Thankfully PT still lives on. Fighting the good fight.

    Liked by 1 person

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