Ancient DNA traces multiple sclerosis origins to 5,000-year-old migrations

Researchers have analyzed the bones and teeth of approximately 5,000 humans who lived across Western Europe and Asia up to 34,000 years ago to create the world’s largest ancient human gene bank. The findings show the historical spread of genes and diseases over time as populations migrated. The study pinpoints the introduction of MS risk genes into north-western Europe by herders from the east around 5,000 years ago, having a beneficial impact despite increasing the risk of MS. The gene bank resulted in a new understanding of genetic markers associated with autism, ADHD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. This research was supported by the Lundbeck Foundation and is a great leap forward in the understanding of immune systems and their impact on autoimmune diseases today.

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