Cambridge University researchers have discovered that lactose tolerant milk-drinkers in India and Europe could be related to the same person who lived at some point in the last 10,000 years
The Cambridge team, in association with fellow researchers at CCMB Hyderabad, UCL, University of Tartu, Harvard and University of Chennai, were studying genetic changes that allow some 32 per cent of the world’s population to be lactase persistent – able to digest lactose, the sugar in milk. To their surprise they found the same mutation, with the same origin, at high frequency in Europe and India.
The team’s study may also help scientists’ understanding of evolutionary processes such as biological adaptation and how culture and economic developments affect human biology. Its authors say the study has shown that with a little kick from natural selection, genes can spread far, wide and fast.
- Published in Genetics and Birth Defects