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Why the frog?

The red-eyed tree frog is native to and symbolic of Costa Rica, where some of our work takes place. ¬†Specifically, much of our genetic research is focused on the Central Valley of Costa Rica (CVCR) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Costa_Rican_Central_Valley), which, for historical, political, and geographic reasons, experienced minimal immigration or emigration from the arrival of Spanish settlers in the 1560’s to the early 1800’s. ¬†This relative isolation, in conjunction with rapid population growth, has led to what is called a genetically isolated population, where individuals from within that group are more genetically related to each other than individuals from other populations, such as in the US. ¬†Although there is no evidence of increased rates of OCD, Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, anxiety, or any of the other traits that we study in the CVCR, the increased genetic homogeneity of this population, in addition to the excellent health care system and relatively high socioeconomic level of its inhabitants, makes it an excellent place for genetic research.

See this paper for more details: Genetic studies of neuropsychiatric disorders in Costa Rica: a model for the use of isolated populations.