You and Some 'Cavemen' Get a Genetic Health Check

Evolution has improved upon the genetic foundations of human health ... but could that have changed?

Heart problems were much more common in the genes of our ancient ancestors than in ours today, according to a new study by geneticists at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who computationally compared genetic disease factors in modern humans with those of people through the millennia.

Overall, the news from the study is good. Evolution appears, through the ages, to have weeded out genetic influences that promote disease, while promulgating influences that protect from disease. But there's also a hint of bad news for us modern folks. That generally healthy trend might have reversed in the last 500 to 1,000 years. 

So, who appears to have had the healthier genes? The “cavemen?” We moderns? And who was more genetically susceptible to mental illness?

READ about our genomic health heritage here, and meet our Copper Age ancestor, the “Iceman.”

Related Media

Click on image(s) to view larger version(s)

  • Joe Lachance and Taylor Cooper

For More Information Contact

Ben Brumfield
Senior Science Writer
ben.brumfield@comm.gatech.edu
404-660-1408