Log In
Tuesday 25th October 2016

Bug resistant city life

27th September 2010

Researchers from the University of London have said that people who live in urban environments may have the genetic advantage when it comes to resisting infection.


The team looked at the number of people who were carriers of a certain genetic variant which made them resistant to tuberculosis and leprosy.

They found that the gene was more prevalent in people who lived in urban areas, where the diseases had more likelihood of existing at some time.

The team said the result showed evidence of "evolution in action".

This resistance occurs when people are threatened by a deadly disease and those who survive - whose genes are best suited to fighting or resisting infection - pass their genes to their children.

People who live in cities and urban environments have more likelihood of being exposed to these diseases.

The researchers analysed DNA samples from 17 populations from Europe, Africa and Asia.

The gene variant was discovered in almost the entire sample of people who lived in the Middle East, India and placed in Europe with long-established cities. 

However the variant was less widespread in areas such as Africa.

Dr Ian Barnes, one of the authors of the study, said: "This seems to be an elegant example of evolution in action. It flags up the importance of a very recent aspect of our evolution as a species, the development of cities as a selective force."

"It could also help explain some of the differences we observe in disease resistance around the world,"  he added.


Share this page


There are no comments for this article, be the first to comment!

Post your comment

Only registered users can comment. Fill in your e-mail address for quick registration.

Your email address:

Your comment will be checked by a Healthcare Today moderator before it is published on the site.

Mayden - Innovative cloud-based web development for the healthcare sector
© Mayden Foundation 2016