‘Evolution in action’: How ancient humans developed a mutation to protect against diabetes

sn vegetarianism
Image: Natural History Museum/Alamy

An ancient mutation that spread through humans after the advent of cooking may protect people against high blood sugar and diabetes today, scientists have said.

Researchers at University College London (UCL) discovered the mutation while studying a gene called CLTCL1, which is heavily involved in removing sugar from the bloodstream.

While a certain amount of blood sugar is necessary to provide energy to the brain and other organs, too much leads to type 2 diabetes, where the body loses its ability to control how much sugar is circulating.

The scientists found that about half the world’s population carries a mutation that helps the body to clear sugar from the circulation more effectively than in the past.

ADVERTISEMENT

The scientists believe the mutant form of the gene became common when humans turned to cooking nearly half a million years ago, though it may be a more recent event that took off with farming about 12,500 years ago.

Related article:  Alien signal or damp squib? Rio 2.0 scale promises to help judge

“Cooking and farming meant more sugar in the diet, so we needed to clear it more readily,” said Prof Frances Brodsky, a biochemist who led the research. “This is an example of evolution in action which influences human metabolism and vice versa.”

Read full, original post: Ancient gene mutation could protect against diabetes, study finds

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
GLP Podcasts
Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Do you know where biotech crops are grown in the world? This updated ISAAA infographics show where biotech crops were ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists
Send this to a friend