Examining How Our Shared Evolutionary History Shapes Future Disease Outcomes

Fasil Tekola-Ayele, Emmanuel Peprah

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cardiometabolic diseases are major contributors to mortality and morbidity, and their burden displays global and regional disparities. Gene-environment interactions contribute to the pathogenesis of cardiometabolic diseases. Population differences in genetic structure, ancient environmental pressures that shape the human genome, and early life environmental adversities (e.g., in utero conditions) all contribute to observed disparities in global cardiometabolic diseases. The genetic and sociocultural diversity of global populations presents opportunities for discovering genomic loci that influence cardiometabolic diseases as illustrated by a few genetic, epigenetic, and population-genetic discoveries leading to notable understanding of disease mechanisms. However, African, Latin American and Hispanic, and indigenous peoples represent <4% of all genome-wide association study samples analyzed to date. Using examples of recent studies in African populations, we discuss the crucial importance of conducting genomic studies in ancestrally diverse populations to understand disease mechanisms and to prepare fertile ground for future delivery of precise health care to all individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-171
Number of pages3
JournalGlobal Heart
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Community and Home Care
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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