[Genetically determined human susceptibility to selected infectious diseases].
As predictions show infectious diseases were, are and will be, responsible for a significant percentage (more than 12% in the year 2030) of deaths worldwide. Infectious diseases are, according to J.B.S. Haldane's theory, the major agent determining natural selection, as they lead to elimination of more susceptible people and only leave to survive these, who are more resistant. It has been revealed that susceptibility to pathogens varies among ethnic groups. Explanation of this phenomenon can be found in the human genome. Standard genetic analysis led to identification of several gene variants which modulate susceptibility to particular infectious disease as well as its progression. HLA genes encoding major histocompatibility complex are one of the most interesting ones as they are reported to influence the susceptibility to a wide range of pathogens. It is also proved that in several cases many other genes take part in modulation of clinical outcome of the diseases. Alleles conferring partial or total protection against disease development have already been identified. This review presents results of selected research concerning genetically determined susceptibility to malaria, cholera, leprosy and HIV.