Comments on Final Presentations

Students delivered many thoughtful and creative presentations today. These included consideration of co-evolutionary arms races in lymphatic filariasis,  antagonistic pleiotropy in Alzheimer’s, adaptive vs. maladaptive hypotheses regarding OCD symptoms, ADHD and schizophrenia-risk alleles, and polycystic ovary disease. Also the interaction of anemia and malaria in Africa was discussed, as well as microbiota transfer in kissing, and the evolution of AIDS.

Great points made by students were: the inclusion of many alternative hypotheses, both adaptive and non-adaptive; highlighting the evolutionary hypothesis and contrasting it with proximate causation. I also appreciated the participation of the audience and the very well-informed questions posed by undergrads and graduate students. Nice work, all.

Regarding HIV, I made reference to 30K years ago being the last common ancestor of immunodeficiency viruses. That date was proposed as an early date of divergence of SIV among primates (not HIV). As Michael presented, HIV and SIV have a common ancestor that diverged 100-200 years ago by some estimates. Worobey and colleagues have published one of the best dating estimates in the literature. Also here.

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