Exploring the role of copy number variants in human adaptation

Rebecca C. Iskow, Omer Gokcumen, Charles Lee
2012 Trends in Genetics  
Over the past decade, the ubiquity of copy number variants (CNVs, the gain or loss of genomic material) in the genomes of healthy humans has become apparent. Although some of these variants are associated with disorders, a handful of studies documented an adaptive advantage conferred by CNVs. In this review, we propose that CNVs are substrates for human evolution and adaptation. We discuss the possible mechanisms and evolutionary processes in which CNVs are selected, outline the current
more » ... es in identifying these loci, and highlight that copy number variable regions allow for the creation of novel genes that may diversify the repertoire of such genes in response to rapidly changing environments. We expect that many more adaptive CNVs will be discovered in the coming years, and we believe that these new findings will contribute to our understanding of human-specific phenotypes.
doi:10.1016/j.tig.2012.03.002 pmid:22483647 pmcid:PMC3533238 fatcat:mz2thiojbffexlwqxspgkxnmam