The genes that control the response of the human immune system vary enormously between individuals. Understanding the evolution of these genetic differences and how they individualize immune responses is central to understanding how the immune system works in health and disease. In this regard, the KhoeSan of southern Africa are particularly informative because they are genetically diverse, divergent from other modern human populations and have been subject to unique demographic history. In the KhoeSan population, we studied variable genes that control natural killer cell function.

Streptococcus pneumoniae is carried asymptomatically in the nasopharyngeal tract. However, it is capable of causing multiple diseases, including pneumonia, bacteraemia and meningitis, which are common causes of morbidity and mortality in young children. Antibiotic treatment has become more difficult, especially that involving the group of beta-lactam antibiotics where resistance has developed rapidly. The organism is known to be highly recombinogenic, and this allows variants conferring beta-lactam resistance to be readily introduced into the genome.

Genetic studies have identified substantial non-African admixture in the Horn of Africa (HOA). In the most recent genomic studies, this non-African ancestry has been attributed to admixture with Middle Eastern populations during the last few thousand years. However, mitochondrial and Y chromosome data are suggestive of earlier episodes of admixture. To investigate this further, we generated new genome-wide SNP data for a Yemeni population sample and merged these new data with published genome-wide genetic data from the HOA and a broad selection of surrounding populations.

Having amassed non-invasively collected samples from 73 tigers from 28 Indian reserves, Mondol, Karanth, and Ramakrishnan have published a comprehensive study of genetic variation in tigers in PLoS Genetics.

With only 3,000 wild individuals surviving restricted to just 7% of their historical range, tigers are now a globally threatened species. Therefore, conservation efforts must prioritize regions that harbor more tigers, as well try to capture most of the remaining genetic variation and habitat diversity.