Document Type


Publication Date

August 2014


THE SYNERGISTIC EFFECTS OF GENES AND THE ENVIRONMENT ON HEALTH ARE EXPLORED IN THREE CASE STUDIES: adult lactase persistence, autism spectrum disorders, and the metabolic syndrome, providing examples of the interactive complexities underlying these phenotypes. Since the phenotypes are the initial targets of evolutionary processes, understanding the specific environmental contexts of the genetic, epigenetic, and environmental changes associated with these phenotypes is essential in predicting their health implications. Robust databases must be developed on the local scale to deconstruct both the population substructure and the unique components of the environment that stimulate geographically specific changes in gene expression patterns. To produce these databases and make valid predictions, new, locally focused, and information-dense models are needed that incorporate data on evolutionary ecology, environmental complexity, local geographic patterns of gene expression, and population substructure.