As the worlds population continues to grow exponentially, we are starting to discover some not so expected results of the explosion. According to researchers at Cornell University, rare genetic variations are leading to an increase of complex disease.
Despite the obvious implications of the population explosion, ie water shortages, lack of resources, food shortages and the list starts to sound like some kind of litany you expect from a preacher at sunday school, the earths population continues to rise at an alarming rate.
Since about 2,000 years ago (fewer than 100 generations), the human population has experienced an explosive growth after 8,000 years of moderate exponential growth.
This recent accelerated growth has created more genetic mutations and rare gene variants, which may play a role in boosting the risks of complex diseases in which genes play a role, say Cornell University researchers in the journal Science.
When a large sample of 10,000 individuals was used in a model of human population growth, rare genetic variants were detected far more frequently than in previous studies. The new model also shows that the vast majority of these rare variants were due to mutations that arose in the past 2,500 years, coinciding with the explosive growth.
Straight from the Source
Previous models had used small samples with 62 or fewer individuals, or they did not account for the recent increased rate of population growth, and, therefore, they predicted lower numbers of rare genetic variants.
“It is expected that the number of rare alleles [variants of genes] would increase with population growth,” says Alon Keinan, assistant professor in life science and technology, who co-authored the study with Andrew Clark, a professor of population genetics.
“Our conclusions show just how huge of an effect recent explosive growth in humans could have in this regard,” Keinan says, adding that the study also shows the importance of considering a very large sample in order to observe the rare variants in the population overall….More at Futurity.org – Population explosion comes with genetic risk