Interactions between biological and cultural processes in human populations
I am a human population geneticist. My research projects in the team AGene aim at understanding the processes shaping human genetic and epigenetic diversity, and particularly the contribution of cultural factors. To do this, I collect and analyze interdisciplinary data (genetic, epigenetic, ethno-demographic) from human populations with various cultural practices.
I am particularly interested in the way social kinship shapes genetic kinship. My projects in Central Asia and in Southeast Asia have shown that patrilineal, matrilineal and cognatic descent systems leave distinct signatures in the genetic diversity of human populations. These genetic signatures may be useful to understand better the past and present dynamics of these social organizations. I also study the cross-talk between alliance rules and genetic data. On these topics, I have ongoing collaborations with Evelyne Heyer (MNHN, Paris), Anne-Louise Leutenegger (INSERM, Paris), Claire Dandine (CEA, Paris), Laure Gineau (IRD, Paris), Bruno Toupance (Université Paris 7), Romain Laurent (MNHN, Paris), Chou Monidarin (faculty of Pharmacy, Phnom Penh), Samuel Pavard (MNHN, Paris), Frédéric Bourdier (IRD), Olivier Evrard (IRD) and Gérard Diffloth (Phnom Penh).
I am also interested in the dynamics of the human epigenome throughout life. It has been shown by many studies that exposure to psychological stress is deleterious in terms of health and leads to harmful epigenetic marks. I am evaluating the influence of stress management (through meditation practice) on the human epigenome, in collaboration with Perla Kaliman (Center for Healthy Minds, Wisconsin-Madison), Maud Fagny (INRA, Moulon), Antoine Lutz (INSERM, Lyon) and Richard J. Davidson (Center for Healthy Minds, Wisconsin-Madison).
Publications in peer-reviewed journals
Chaix R, Fagny M, Cosin-Tomás M, Alvarez-López M, Lemee L, Regnault B, Davidson RJ, Lutz A, Kaliman P. Differential DNA methylation in experienced meditators after an intensive day of mindfulness-based practice: Implications for immune-related pathways. Brain, Behavior and Immunity (in press)
Ly G, Laurent R, Lafosse S, Chou M, Diffloth G, Bourdier F, Evrard O, Toupance B, Pavard S and Chaix R. (2019) From Matrimonial Practices to Genetic Diversity in Southeast Asian Populations: The Signature of The Matrilineal Puzzle. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 374, 1780, 20180434
Dandine-Roulland C, Laurent R, Dall’Ara I, Toupance B, Chaix R (2019) Genomic Evidence for MHC Disassortative Mating in Humans. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 286, 20182664.
Ly, G., Alard, B., Laurent, R., Lafosse, S., Toupance, B., Monidarin, C., … Chaix, R. (2018). Residence rule flexibility and descent groups dynamics shape uniparental genetic diversities in South East Asia. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, doi: 10.1002/ajpa.23374.
Chaix, R., Alvarez-López, M. J., Fagny, M., Lemee, L., Regnault, B., Davidson, R. J., Lutz A., Kaliman, P. (2017). Epigenetic clock analysis in long-term meditators. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 85, 210–214.
Aimé C, Laval G, Patin E, Verdu P, Ségurel L, Chaix R, Hegay T, Quintana-Murci L, Heyer E, Austerlitz F. (2013). Human genetic data reveal contrasting demographic patterns between sedentary and nomadic populations that predate the emergence of farming. Molecular Biology and Evolution 30(12), 2629–2644.
Laurent R, Toupance B, & Chaix R (2012). Non-random mate choice in humans: insights from a genome scan. Molecular Ecology 21(3), 587–96.
Laurent R, & Chaix R (2012b). MHC-dependent mate choice in humans: why genomic patterns from the HapMap European American dataset support the hypothesis. BioEssays 34(4), 267–71.
Laurent R, & Chaix R (2012a). HapMap European American genotypes are compatible with the hypothesis of MHC-dependent mate choice. BioEssays 34, 871–872.
Heyer E, Chaix R, Pavard S, & Austerlitz F (2012). Sex-specific demographic behaviours that shape human genomic variation. Molecular Ecology 21(3), 597–612.
Heyer E, Balaresque P, Jobling MA, Quintana-Murci L, Chaix R, Segurel L, Aldashev A, Hegay T (2009) Genetic diversity and the emergence of ethnic groups in Central Asia. BMC Genetics 10:49
Chaix R, Somel M, Kreil DP, Khaitovich P, Lunter G (2008) Evolution of Primate Gene Expression: Drift and Corrective Sweeps? Genetics 180:1379 - 1389
Chaix R, Austerlitz F, Khegay T, Quintana-Murci L, Heyer E. (2008) Genetic traces of east to west expansion waves in Eurasia. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 136(3):309-317
Chaix R, Cao C, Donnelly P (2008) Is mate choice in humans MHC-dependent? PLoS Genet 4:e1000184
Chaix R, Quintana-Murci L, Hegay T, Hammer M, Mobasher Z, Austerlitz F, Heyer E (2007) From social to genetic structures in Central Asia. Current Biology 17: 43-48
McVean G, Spencer C, Chaix R (2005) Perspectives on human genetic variation from the HapMap project. Plos Genetics 1:413-418
Kalaydjieva L, Morar B, Chaix R, Tang H (2005) A newly discovered founder population: the Roma/Gypsies. Bioessays 27:1084-1094
Thackeray JF, Maureille B, Vandermeersch B, Braga J, Chaix R (2005) Morphometric comparisons between Neanderthals and 'anatomically modern' Homo sapiens from Europe and the Near East. Annals of the Transvaal Museum 42:47-51
Chaix R, Austerlitz F, Khegay T, Jacquesson S, Hammer MF et al. (2004) The Genetic or Mythical Ancestry of Descent Groups: Lessons from the Y Chromosome. Am J Hum Genet 75(6):1113-1116.
Chaix R, Austerlitz F, Morar B, Kalaydjieva L, Heyer E (2004) Vlax Roma history: what do coalescent-based methods tell us? Eur J Hum Genet 12(4): 285-292.
Quintana-Murci L, Chaix R, Wells RS, Behar DM, Sayar H et al. (2004) Where west meets east: the complex mtDNA landscape of the southwest and Central Asian corridor. Am J Hum Genet 74(5): 827-845.