Rasmus Nielsen, a professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and Statistics, explores the origins of multiple sclerosis (MS) through ancient European DNA analysis. Nielsen and his team sequenced DNA from individuals dating back 34,000 years, revealing that genetic variants initially protecting against animal-borne diseases now increase MS risk. The study links a Bronze Age migration event by the Yamnaya people, showing how genetic traits can shift from beneficial to detrimental over time. Nielsen’s research sheds light on the historical and genetic factors influencing MS prevalence in Northern Europeans compared to Southern Europeans, providing valuable insights for future research and treatment approaches.
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