Meeting: Catalysis Meeting

Human Evolution and Adaptation to High-Altitude Hypoxia

Date19-Mar-2009 ~ 21-Mar-2009
ProjectHuman evolution and adaptation to high-altitude hypoxia
SummaryA fundamental question in human biology is the extent to which high-altitude native populations have evolved by natural selection to differ from their low-altitude ancestors. Answering this question will have implications for larger questions including the size of selection pressures and the mode and tempo of human evolution. High-altitude natives differ biologically from low-altitude populations at low altitude and during acute exposure to high altitude. The high-altitude populations also differ among themselves in numerous biological features thought to be adaptive, suggesting that these natural experiments had different outcomes. The central theme of the proposed catalysis meeting is how to test the hypothesis of genetic adaptation to high-altitude hypoxia of human populations indigenous to the Tibetan, Andean, and East African plateaus. The purpose of this meeting is to examine how recent advances in genomic technologies and research design can address some of these questions. The meeting aims to review the extant evidence for genetic adaptation to high altitude and to catalyze the formation of the somewhat larger interdisciplinary groupings that are required to develop such studies.