Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 33667394
Link to DOI – S0002-9297(21)00051-310.1016/j.ajhg.2021.02.009
Am J Hum Genet 2021 Mar; 108(3): 517-524
Tuberculosis (TB), usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, is the first cause of death from an infectious disease at the worldwide scale, yet the mode and tempo of TB pressure on humans remain unknown. The recent discovery that homozygotes for the P1104A polymorphism of TYK2 are at higher risk to develop clinical forms of TB provided the first evidence of a common, monogenic predisposition to TB, offering a unique opportunity to inform on human co-evolution with a deadly pathogen. Here, we investigate the history of human exposure to TB by determining the evolutionary trajectory of the TYK2 P1104A variant in Europe, where TB is considered to be the deadliest documented infectious disease. Leveraging a large dataset of 1,013 ancient human genomes and using an approximate Bayesian computation approach, we find that the P1104A variant originated in the common ancestors of West Eurasians ∼30,000 years ago. Furthermore, we show that, following large-scale population movements of Anatolian Neolithic farmers and Eurasian steppe herders into Europe, P1104A has markedly fluctuated in frequency over the last 10,000 years of European history, with a dramatic decrease in frequency after the Bronze Age. Our analyses indicate that such a frequency drop is attributable to strong negative selection starting ∼2,000 years ago, with a relative fitness reduction on homozygotes of 20%, among the highest in the human genome. Together, our results provide genetic evidence that TB has imposed a heavy burden on European health over the last two millennia.