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Evolution: The Molecular Landscape

Cold Spring Harbor’s 74th Symposium
The Molecular Landscape
Edited by Bruce Stillman,
David Stewart, and
Jan Witkowski,
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory


Evolution Chapter 26 Discussion Questions

DQ 26.1

Often, when a Mendelian disease with the same phenotype is mapped in different families, a different allele is found to be responsible. (This may be a different allele at the same gene or the alleles may be at different genes.) What does this heterogeneity tell us?

DQ 26.2

In Chapter 14, we reviewed methods for mapping quantitative trait loci (QTLs). How far can these methods be applied to find the alleles responsible for human disease?

DQ 26.3

How has the Human Genome Project helped us to find the alleles responsible for

i) Mendelian diseases?

ii) genetically complex diseases?

DQ 26.4

Explain how tagging SNPs (tSNPs) improve the efficiency of association studies.

DQ 26.5

How does the extent of linkage disequilibrium affect our ability to map disease genes?

DQ 26.6

Some of the difficulties that face association studies that aim to find the causes of human disease are discussed on pages 761–763. How can an association study be designed to avoid these difficulties?

DQ 26.7

How do evolutionary studies of nonhumans help us to know whether inherited disease is due to rare or to common alleles?

DQ 26.8

It may soon be possible for an individual to know his or her risk of suffering from a range of inherited diseases. Would this knowledge be worthwhile? HINT 26A

DQ 26.9

Should insurance premiums vary with individual risk? See Web Notes.

DQ 26.10

Typically, there are modest differences in allele frequency between humans from different continents; however, some genes show strong differences that have been caused by adaptive natural selection (pp. 769–773). What are the implications for our views of racial variation?

DQ 26.11

How does natural selection act on our species now?

DQ 26.12

Many diseases that used to be lethal or caused infertility can now be cured. What will the consequences be of this relaxation of selection?

DQ 26.13

Is it likely that we will be able to substantially delay aging? (See also Chapter 20.)

DQ 26.14

What would be needed to show that a human behavior is an adaptation? Discuss, with examples.

DQ 26.15

“Human language and culture have been at least as important as biological evolution in shaping our species” (p. 587). Argue either for or against this assertion.


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