Speaker: Bing Su

Title: Natural Selection, Population History and Psychiatric Disorders


The dramatically enlarged brain and highly improved cognitive skills are the hallmarks of our own species. When acquiring these adaptive changes during human evolution, the associated genetic loads may be generated due to the hitchhiking effect, which may cause human diseases in the central nervous system. We studied a set of susceptibility genes for schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, and identified risk SNPs showing large between-population divergence which was caused by regional selection. Our results suggest that differential population histories due to natural selection on regional populations may lead to genetic heterogeneity of susceptibility to complex diseases, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and explain inconsistencies in detecting the genetic markers of these diseases among different ethnic populations.