Genomics

Evolving risks to personality

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Science  05 Oct 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6410, pp. 42
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6410.42-b

The origin of the uniquely large and complex human brain has been shrouded in mystery. To identify genetic changes that may underlie human evolution, Sato and Kawata examined human-specific genetic changes associated with neuropsychiatric disease and identified selection for variants in three genes. Interestingly, one variant of the SLC18A1 gene, which encodes a neurotransmitter, arose at the time humans migrated out of Africa. It appears to be under balancing selection in some populations, which has resulted in two variants in most non-African populations. This variant is linked with anxiety, but it is not yet understood what conditions favor its selection.

Evol. Lett. 2, 499 (2018).

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