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Ernst Mayr's theory illustrated in genetic epidemiology studies

ut this adaptive process can go in directions that can't be predicted just by selection alone because a random force puts a new direction into play ?that's where the genetic revolution comes from."

Templeton spoke Feb. 18 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement science, held Feb. 16-20 in St. Louis. He dedicated his talk to the late Ernst Mayr and the late Hampton Carson, another famed biologist who was at Washington University from 1944-70 and was an important mentor of Templeton's. Templeton said that Carson's work on founder events with an Hawaiian Drosophila species contributed greatly to the refinement of May's concept of genetic revolution.

Templeton said that his CAD studies in human founder populations reveal interactions between two important genes involved in high cholesterol, the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene and the Low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) gene. Interestingly, it has been found that the protein products of these genes physically interact. Both play a role in high cholesterol that can lead to CAD, but in most human populations the APOE component is very rare and the LDLR component is very common.

Because rare factors tend to be the limiting factors in an interaction system, strong genetic effects are observed only at APOE ?the rare component ?and not at LDLR ?the common component. However, simply by altering the frequencies of the interacting genes, the apparent importance of these two genes in influencing cholesterol levels can be totally reversed. Such alterations, Templeton said, are the fundamental basis of genetic revolution.

A school of biologists who goes back to the English biologist R. A. Fisher believes that genes alone inherently are major or minor in terms of effects on traits. A school following the 1920s biologist Sewal Wright believes there is no such thing as a major or minor gene except in the context of another population. Templeton is in the Wrigh
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Source:Washington University in St. Louis


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