A study carried out by researchers from the Research programme on Biomedical Informatics (GRIB) at IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute) and the UPF has used new human genetic data to learn more about mutations that may have conferred a selective advantage to humans over the past 5 million years of evolution. This provides researchers with a new vision on human evolution.
The availability of the genetic variants in a large number of people, through initiatives such as the Project 1000 Genomes, is useful not only to understand the genetic basis of diseases, but also to carry out research on the human evolution. According to Mar Albà, an ICREA professor and the coordinator of the IMIM research group on Evolutionary Genomics “This variation provides us with a measure on the proportion of the amino acid changes seen typically in a protein while it maintains its function. Once we have this value, we can then count the differences with the ancestral protein in humans and chimpanzees and if we find there have been more changes than expected, this is because the function of the protein may have changed during human evolution”.
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