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Genetic Linkage

When Mutation Counters Infection: From Sickle Cell to Ebola

Balanced polymorphism retains mutant genes in populations when they protect against other conditions.
While pharmaceutical companies focus on drug discovery for Ebola virus disease, a powerful clue is coming from a rare “Jewish genetic disease” that destroys the brain. People with Niemann-Pick C1 disease can’t get Ebola, adding to the list of disease pairs that arise from a fascinating form of natural selection.

Balanced polymorphism, aka heterozygote advantage, is a terrific illustration of ongoing evolution. And it pits the human body against all sorts of invaders – prions, viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. Read More 
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Bed Bug Orgies and Evolution

Seeking evidence for evolution? Look at bed bugs.

For the past century, the 5-millimeter-long, triangular headed, reddish residents of urban hotel bedrooms have mutated themselves into resistance to any insecticide we can throw at them. Cimex lectularius was nearly vanquished mid-century, when  Read More 
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