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Milk allergy / Lactase intolerance in Europeans 'caused by Stone Age genes'

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  • Milk allergy / Lactase intolerance in Europeans 'caused by Stone Age genes'

    Study of ancient genes shows that all the old European populations were intolerant to lactase 8000 to 7000 years ago. The article referred to mentions 2 hypotheses:

    1) Ability to digest milk has increased in European populations after cattle farming starting to spread about 9000 years ago.

    2) A small group of Neolithic farmers tolerated milk and their genes are the ones that now are the majority in present Europe.


    There are groups in Africa and the Middle East that tolerates milk the article tells.


    "The ability to drink milk is the most advantageous trait that's evolved in Europeans in the recent past," added Dr Thomas.

    My advice: If you are intolerant, stay away from it. No one really needs milk. There are other much better alternatives for calcium.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/connected.../nmilk227.xml/

  • #2
    Tested adults from this time period most likely did not drink milk even thou their children might have. More test too follow . . . People most likely started to drink milk in these regions during this time period for health and for survival reasons.

    Most mammals lose the ability to digest the milk sugar lactose after weaning because they no longer make lactase in their intestine. But in north west Europeans, the survival advantage of milk drinking favoured those who kept their lactase for longer in life.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by GregKiroKHR1bL1
      Tested adults from this time period most likely did not drink milk even thou their children might have. More test too follow . . . People most likely started to drink milk in these regions during this time period for health and for survival reasons.
      Yes it seems so. People with the oldest European genes might still be more intolerant to lactase. Not all European populations have adapted in the same way to lactase.

      The origin of lactase tolerance might have come with people from somewhere else, take a look at this article:

      Lactase persistance in Eurasia: different departure, same destination
      http://scienceblogs.com/gnxp/2007/08...in_eurasia.php

      Comment


      • #4
        milk

        My favorite beverage is milk. Drink about a quart every day.
        I guess I don't have stone age genes.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by rainbow
          My favorite beverage is milk. Drink about a quart every day. I guess I don't have stone age genes.

          Then..... Your Stone Age Genes probably come from somewhere else than Europe - as mentioned in the last article the high prevalence of lactase tolerance (persistence) genes in many Northern European populations does not necessarily meant that the T (-13910) allele originated there. The author suggests that the alleles that make people tolerant to lactase originated in the Central Eurasian heartland. You need to follow the debate to learn more as the results adds up on this topic. It is quite interesting.

          “Evidence of Still-Ongoing Convergence Evolution of the Lactase Persistence T-13910 Alleles in Humans” by Nabil Sabri Enattah et al. (2007).

          The American Journal of Human Genetics, volume 81 (2007), pages 615–625

          Abstract:
          “A single-nucleotide variant, C/T-13910, located 14 kb upstream of the lactase gene (LCT), has been shown to be completely correlated with lactase persistence (LP) in northern Europeans. Here, we analyzed the background of the alleles carrying the critical variant in 1,611 DNA samples from 37 populations. Our data show that the T-13910 variant is found on two different, highly divergent haplotype backgrounds in the global populations. The first is the most common LP haplotype (LP H98) present in all populations analyzed, whereas the others (LP H8 H12), which originate from the same ancestral allelic haplotype, are found in geographically restricted populations living west of the Urals and north of the Caucasus. The global distribution pattern of LP T-13910 H98 supports the Caucasian origin of this allele. Age estimates based on different mathematical models show that the common LP T-13910 H98 allele ( 5,000 12,000 years old) is relatively older than the other geographically restricted LP alleles ( 1,400 3,000 years old). Our data about global allelic haplotypes of the lactose-tolerance variant imply that the T-13910 allele has been independently introduced more than once and that there is a still-ongoing process of convergent evolution of the LP alleles in humans.” (End of quote from the following URL:

          http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/cgi...000944868Guest
          Last edited by Wena; 23 August 2007, 03:29 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            There is another tread here in this forum about a similar subject:

            Milk drinkers came from Ural Mts. in Russia

            http://www.ftdna.com/forum/showthrea...6086#post36086

            Comment


            • #7
              I think I remember a similar article a few years ago.

              Ural Farmers Got Milk Gene First?
              Science Magazine ^ | 2004-11-19 | Jocelyn Kaiser

              Almost all mammalian babies produce lactase, the enzyme that digests the milk sugar lactose. But in most animals and many people, the lactase gene is gradually turned off after infancy, leaving them unable to tolerate milk as adults. Two years ago, a team led by Leena Peltonen of the University of Helsinki, Finland, and the University of California, Los Angeles, identified mutations near the lactase gene that are associated with adult lactose tolerance and likely play a role in regulating the lactase gene. . . . Her team linked the lactase gene changes to an ancestral variant that these groups apparently got from intermixing with tribes migrating from the Asian steppes.

              . . . He notes that a competing idea for explaining the origin of the Proto-Indo-Europeans is that they were crop-growing farmers from the Anatolia region in modern Turkey (Science, 27 February, p. 1323). But the milk study reinforces Cavalli-Sforza's view that both theories are correct: Indo-Europeans migrated to Europe in two waves, first from Turkey and later from the Urals.

              http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1284595/posts
              The ending for a sugar is "ose," and for an enzyme is "ase." Chevreul did a lot of follow up work generated by his teacher in 19th century France.

              Originally posted by Wena
              Yes it seems so. People with the oldest European genes might still be more intolerant to lactase. Not all European populations have adapted in the same way to lactase.

              The origin of lactase tolerance might have come with people from somewhere else, take a look at this article:

              Lactase persistance in Eurasia: different departure, same destination
              http://scienceblogs.com/gnxp/2007/08...in_eurasia.php
              Most people do not realize how the intolerance to lactose changed over the years from person to person. Notice that many people can drink a little milk without problems.

              Adult milk allergies are usually caused by lactose, the sugar in milk. Whereas, infant milk allergies are usually to casein, the protein in milk, but also can be to lactose.
              Most persons with lactose intolerance can usually tolerate amounts between no milk up to a maximum of 2 cups per day. Tolerance to milk can be improved by drinking milk with meals, using milk with higher fat content or drinking chocolate milk instead. New research in fact suggests that lactase deficient people can actually improve their tolerance to milk products by consuming small amounts periodically during a day.

              Symptoms of lactose intolerance are abdominal cramping and watery diarrhea that occur within 30 minutes to a few hours after eating a milk product. Milk protein allergy can cause the same or more severe symptoms.

              http://www.dietitian.com/milk.html
              Some people examine the chemicals in milk. Cysteine deficiency is relatively uncommon, but may be seen in vegetarians with low intake of the plant foods containing methionine and cysteine. Cysteine is found in a variety of foods including poultry, yogurt, egg yolks, red peppers, garlic, onions, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, oats, and wheat germ. It has a unique smell when it is passed through the body.

              Milk and sodium caseinate produced from milk have high protein contents. They have to be analyzed in alkaline solution to prevent precipitation of proteins on the separation column. The determination limits are approx. 50 µg/L for cysteine and approx. 1 mg/L for cystine.

              http://www.analysis-food.com/dairy/milk-cystine-va.html

              Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine have shown that two genes, ApoA4 and ApoE, help to determine the amount of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and total fat in the breast milk mothers produce. Dr. Richard B. Weinbert says . . .

              DHA is an omega-3 fat that is critical in the development of the brain and eye. DHA deficiency is believed to play a role in autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and learning disabilities. Mothers who carry the 347S variant of ApoA4 produce 40% more DHA in their breast milk than women with the more common (347T) version.

              http://www.geneticsandhealth.com/200...d-breast-milk/
              Last edited by GregKiroKHR1bL1; 24 August 2007, 06:18 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                We all have a gene to produce lactase (I think). It just cuts off for some people, and it cuts on for other people. True, some infants have problems, but many mammals just love milk as young mammals. It had really important multiple mutations which people study for migrations.

                Originally posted by rainbow
                My favorite beverage is milk. Drink about a quart every day.
                I guess I don't have stone age genes.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by rainbow
                  My favorite beverage is milk. Drink about a quart every day.
                  I guess I don't have stone age genes.
                  Originally posted by Wena
                  Then..... Your Stone Age Genes probably come from somewhere else than Europe

                  AND

                  Originally posted by Wena
                  2)A small group of Neolithic farmers tolerated milk and their genes are the ones that now are the majority in present Europe.
                  Actually, the Neolithic is the Stone Age (Neo = New, Lith = Stone).

                  The original articles states:
                  "Instead, the Neolithic descendants of Palaeolithic (stone age) people evolved their tolerance of milk within the last 8000 years due to exposure to dairy products, making this "the most rapidly evolved European trait of the past 30,000 years," according to Dr Mark Thomas of UCL."

                  And in any case, study after study demonstrates that the overwhelming majority of most European ancestry has been present in Europe since the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age -- up to 10,000 BCE).


                  Originally posted by Wena
                  Yes it seems so. People with the oldest European genes might still be more intolerant to lactase. Not all European populations have adapted in the same way to lactase.

                  The origin of lactase tolerance might have come with people from somewhere else, take a look at this article:

                  Lactase persistance in Eurasia: different departure, same destination
                  http://scienceblogs.com/gnxp/2007/08...in_eurasia.php
                  From Lactase persistance in Eurasia: different departure, same destination
                  http://scienceblogs.com/gnxp/2007/08...in_eurasia.php :

                  "To me this suggests that in Eurasia LP alleles arose in what Halford Mackinder would call "the Heartland." The present of other LP conferring alleles which arose more recently, in the last few thousand years, implies that the selection pressures have continued to be operative in this region. I have also wondered if these new alleles might be a "better" somehow, perhaps with fewer negative fitness implications. In any case, the fact that groups like the Basques have a higher frequency of LP than the French, even though the allele is central Eurasian in origin, brings home the force of selection. That is, this allele swept through populations where it conferred a fitness benefit. As an analogy, imagine a fountain gushing water. The puddles around it will emerge at the lowest points, not necessarily the nearest ones. So it is no surprise that peoples and regions closer to the likely point of departure of the allele may exhibit it to a lower proportion that populations as far distant as the Basques and the Fulani. This just reiterates that adaptive alleles can be radically and quickly decoupled from demographic mass movements, as they sweep across populations and disregard phylogenetic considerations. The Basque may be more closely related to the Sicilians in regards to total genome content, but when it comes to that one particular SNP which confers LP they are, on average, more likely to be similar to Pathans, Fulani and Finns.

                  Finally, we have to take a step back and consider these findings in the grand arc of human history. These results imply a genetic revolution 5 to 10 thousand years ago, and likely closer to 5. We do know that the Neolithics likely didn't bring this allele to Europe, the ancient farming Central Europeans 6-7 thousand years ago didn't have them. Rather, it seems likely that they arose on the Eurasian steppe. From this steppe the adaptive rays shot outward, south and east to India, to the most distant west in Europe, and even arcing across the western fringe of Africa and across the Sinai. I have said above that adaptive alleles may decouple from gross phylogenetic trends, but, it seems a bit much to assume that T-13910 rose to prominence via village-to-village bride exchange or the occasional sojourner. Something to think about."



                  Also, from the first article:
                  "But the global picture is still complex, Dr Thomas said. Lactose tolerance is absent in the Far East, present to a limited extent in India and at varying levels in Africa and even southern Europe. "It's striking, for example, that today around eighty per cent of southern Europeans cannot tolerate lactose even though the first dairy farmers in Europe probably lived in those areas. Through computer simulations and DNA testing we are beginning to get glimpses of the bigger early European picture."

                  Most mammals lose the ability to digest the milk sugar lactose after weaning because they no longer make lactase in their intestine. But in north west Europeans, the survival advantage of milk drinking favoured those who kept their lactase for longer in life."


                  It's interesting to me that while 3% percent of Swedes are lactose intolerant, Finns are about 25% intolerant and Sami 25% - 60% intolerant. Perhaps the recent (last few hundred years') greater dependence on hunting and fishing, etc?


                  Originally posted by Wena
                  My advice: If you are intolerant, stay away from it. No one really needs milk. There are other much better alternatives for calcium.

                  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/connected.../nmilk227.xml/
                  Good advice! And ironic/serendipitous timing, too! I can handle a bit of cheese, but not straight milk. This morning I ran out of hazelnut milk and instead had some of my husband's cow's milk... what a mistake! Ughhhh.... (Also, IMHO, unless it comes from ethical ranches, the worrisome health and ethical considerations are many when it come's to cow's milk....)

                  So, interesting that the original article noted the difference between cheese and milk:
                  "This suggests that the first European cattle farmers used their herds for working the land, leather and meat. They moved on to yoghurt and cheese, which contain less lactose."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    New Article on Early Farming in Europe and Near Eastern Migrations

                    BBC News

                    Pig DNA reveals farming history


                    By Liz Seward
                    Science reporter

                    The first domesticated pigs in Europe were introduced from the Middle East by Stone Age farmers, a new study shows.

                    The international research project examined DNA in the jawbones or teeth of modern and 7,000-year-old pigs.

                    The genetic investigation provides fresh insight into the immigration of ancient peoples and ideas.

                    The scientists tell the journal PNAS that the incoming farmers brought more than just ideas - they brought examples of domesticated livestock.

                    Agriculture is thought to have begun about 12,000 years ago, in the central and western parts of the Middle East, known as the Near East to archaeologists.

                    'Farming package'

                    Between 6,800-4,000 BC, farming methods spread across Europe, but the question of how these methods spread has not been fully established.

                    The two competing theories are that farming spread through cultural exchange, possibly during trading or that people migrated to Europe bringing their expertise with them.

                    A previous study, in 2005, analysed modern pig DNA and showed that all modern pigs are descended from European wild boar. This led researchers to conclude that early Europeans domesticated pigs independently of other farming methods.

                    This new study, however, has discovered that the first domesticated pigs in Europe did have Near Eastern ancestry, indicating that farmers migrated to Europe, bringing their "package" of livestock and farming methods with them.

                    Domestic pigs of European wild boar ancestry appear soon afterwards.

                    Bright idea

                    Dr Keith Dobney, from Durham University, told BBC News: "By use of genetics, we've shown that the earliest domesticated pigs that moved into Europe were originally from the Near East.

                    "That means that people moved these animals from the Near East into Europe.

                    "And what happened after that, which is even more interesting, is it appears that once they were introduced, these domesticated pigs spurred or lit the blue touch-paper for people to domesticate the local indigenous wild boar.

                    "So, we have a secondary domestication which is happening in Europe soon afterwards."

                    The DNA records show that European domestic pigs became widespread throughout Europe, and that the Near Eastern pigs disappeared.

                    Export back

                    Dr Greger Larson, from Uppsala University, Sweden, performed the genetic analysis.

                    "The domestic pigs that were derived from the European wild boar must have been considered vastly superior to those originally from the Middle East, though at this point we have no idea why," he said.

                    "In fact, the European domestic pigs were so successful that over the next several thousand years, they spread across the continent and even back into the Middle East where they overtook the indigenous domestic pigs.

                    "For whatever reason, European pigs were the must-have farm animal."

                    Studies of cattle also show that modern European cows are partly descended from ancient wild Italian aurochs, disputing a previous claim that all present-day European breeds are descended from cattle domesticated in the Near East.

                    Story from BBC NEWS:
                    http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/h...re/6978203.stm

                    Published: 2007/09/04 14:53:30 GMT

                    © BBC MMVII

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