Izzy Starr (they/them/their) led this project along with our collaborators Ani Sinha, and Kristina Seiffert to investigate the relationship between recent evolution and immune-mediated trends in human skin. Our major finding is that there are specific genes that are expressed in a human-specific manner in the skin which are also involved in psoriasis. Further, these genes cluster across the human genome and affect immune and neuro pathways with implications on our understanding of psoriasis as a systemic condition involving multiple biological systems. From an evolutionary perspective, it is immensely interesting to me that skin, which may be the most evolved organ in humans (a nod to great Nina Jablonski), may carry the signatures of this evolution and may make it hyper-perceptive – an invitation for immune-mediated conditions.
The paper is now published in Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health – “Evolutionary context of psoriatic immune skin response“