Polygenic adaptation leads to a higher reproductive fitness of native Tibetans at high altitude
by Yaoxi He | Bing Su | Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences | Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Abstract ID: 194
Event: The 3rd AsiaEvo Conference
Topic: Genetics of adaptation and evolution of novel traits
Presenter Name: Yaoxi He

The adaptation of Tibetans to high-altitude environments has been studied extensively. However, the direct assessment of evolutionary adaptation, i.e. the reproductive fitness of Tibetans and its genetic basis remain elusive. Here, we conduct systematic phenotyping and genome-wide association analysis of 2,252 mother-newborn pairs of indigenous Tibetans, covering 12 reproductive traits and 76 maternal physiological traits. Compared to the lowland immigrants living at high altitudes, indigenous Tibetans show better reproductive outcomes, reflected by their lower abortion rate, higher birth weight, and better fetal development. The results of genome-wide association analyses indicate a polygenic adaptation of reproduction in Tibetans, attributed to the genomic backgrounds of both the mothers and the newborns. Furthermore, the EPAS1-edited mice display higher reproductive fitness under chronic hypoxia, mirroring the situation in Tibetans. Collectively, these results shed new light on the phenotypic pattern and the genetic mechanism of human reproductive fitness under extreme environments.