Newly Evolved, Uniquely Human Gene Variants Protect Older Adults from Cognitive Decline

December 1, 2015

Humans evolved unique gene variants that protect older adults from neurodegenerative disease, thus preserving their valuable contributions and delaying dependency —

Many human gene variants have evolved specifically to protect older adults against neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, thus preserving their contributions to society, report University of California, San Diego School of Medicine researchers in the November 30 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. …Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Ajit Varki, MD, and Pascal Gagneux, PhD, led the study. Dr. Varki is Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine, adjunct professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and co-director of the UC San Diego/Salk Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA).

Dr. Gagneux is associate professor of pathology and associate director of CARTA.