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Unit Chapters
Genomics
Proteins & Proteomics
Evolution & Phylogenetics
Microbial Diversity
Emerging Infectious Diseases
HIV & AIDS
Genetics of Development
Cell Biology & Cancer
Human Evolution
Introduction
New Fossils
What Does DNA Tell Us About Our Position Among the Apes?
Variation Within and Among Human Populations
Out of Africa?
Neaderthals in Our Gene Pool?
Human Genetic Variation and Disease
Malaria, Sickle Cell Anemia, and Balancing Selection
Resistance to HIV
The Genetics of Asthma, a Complex Disease
Our History, Our Future
Neurobiology
Biology of Sex & Gender
Biodiversity
Genetically Modified Organisms
Human Genetic Variation and Disease

Disease has continued to have a strong impact on human mortality and reproduction. One would expect there to be genetic variation for the ability to resist disease. Indeed, there is such variation. Moreover, biologists have been increasingly able to correlate variation at specific genetic loci, and susceptibility to or severity of various diseases. For example, scientists are combining genetic and genealogical data to locate genes that affect disease tendency in Icelanders.

Genetic variation for disease resistance and natural selection associated with disease has shaped the evolution of our species. Below, we discuss the impact of two infectious diseases: malaria and HIV. We conclude with a discussion of the genetics of asthma propensity -- an illustration of the complex interplay of genetics and environmental effects.

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