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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

More on the Genetics on LI

If you need any more reason to understand why the medical journal coverage of how actual everyday people react to lactose is so awful, as I've been covering in more recent posts than I care to link to, all you need to do is to look at what's hot and sexy.

Genetics is. How to explain that a study called High frequency of lactose intolerance in a prehistoric hunter-gatherer population in northern Europe by Helena Malmstrom et al., BMC Evolutionary Biology 2010, 10:89doi:10.1186/1471-2148-10-89, is getting coverage all over the planet?

The reader-friendly version can be found from UPI.com.

Stone Age hunter-gatherers who lived along the southern coast of Scandinavia 4,000 years ago were unable to digest milk, researchers said.

The findings support a widely held theory that modern Scandinavians descended from people who arrived in the area after the Stone Age population.

Unlike modern Scandinavians, the DNA of the hunter-gathers shows they were lactose intolerant, said researchers at Stockholm University and Uppsala University. ...

"The findings are indicative of what we call 'gene flow,' in other words, migration to the region at some later time of some new group of people, with whom we are genetically similar," Gotherstrom said.

A more technical account can be found on Razib Khan's science blog at Discover Magazine.

Exactly how, when, and by whom the genes for lactase persistence arrived in northern Europe, where they would in historical terms be almost instantly spread around the world by colonists, is a fascinating question. Just not our personal number one question. As long as that is where the funding goes and the newspapers hunt for hot articles, our personal problems will stay as ignored as they have been for the past couple of decades.

Life's not fair. And there's nobody to rant at.

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