Omer Gokcumen

A map of Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Project by Omer Gokcumen

A new study from UB probes the evolutionary history of eczema, and finds no evidence that a genetic predisposition for this disorder has helped humans.

The research published on Sept. 27 in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution examines a genetic variant strongly associated with the most common form of eczema, atopic dermatitis.

This skin condition can cause a slew of unpleasant symptoms, including extreme itchiness and dry, scaly rashes, but there doesn't seem to be a tradeoff for this discomfort: The genetic variant studied appears to be a random vestige of evolution, says University at Buffalo biologist Omer Gokcumen, who led the research.

One interesting finding was the refutation of previously claimed connection with UV exposure - Spatial analyses clearly showed that latitude does not correlate with the frequency of these variants.