Many complex diseases may simply be side-effects of adaptation

| November 5, 2012 |
A recent paper identified Dozens of new Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBD) genes, but can they predict disease? The short answer is that for individual prediction complex traits are going to be a hard haul over the long term. The moral of the story is that many complex traits and diseases may simply be the wages of adaptation itself. Even in an environmentally unperturbed context it is difficult to imagine a situation where endemic host-pathogen coevolution wouldn’t result in fluctuations in gene frequencies which might have deleterious consequences. This may be the best of all worlds, though all the most optimal worlds may be characterized by a familiar mediocrity in physiological fitness.

A recent paper identified Dozens of new Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBD) genes, but can they predict disease? The short answer is that for individual prediction complex traits are going to be a hard haul over the long term.

The moral of the story is that many complex traits and diseases may simply be the wages of adaptation itself. Even in an environmentally unperturbed context it is difficult to imagine a situation where endemic host-pathogen coevolution wouldn’t result in fluctuations in gene frequencies which might have deleterious consequences. This may be the best of all worlds, though all the most optimal worlds may be characterized by a familiar mediocrity in physiological fitness.

 

View the original article here: Irritable bowel syndrome is nature’s side effect