Amish people study suggests environmental factors influence mutations causing disease and evolution more than genes

be ef ef c fc a simple clothing amish family

The rate of new mutations in the human genome appear to be consistent across diverse populations, except one—the Old Order Amish of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This group has a lower rate of developing new mutations, according to a study published January 21 in PNAS. The lower mutation rate does not appear to have a genetic component, pointing to a possible role for environmental factors in modifying how fast human genomes accrue new mutations.

“It really looks like environmental differences might actually [have] the most significant effect on the number of mutations that you pass on to your offspring, rather than . . . there being some sort of gene” causing mutations, says Aylwyn Scally, a geneticist at the University of Cambridge who was not involved in the work.

Related article:  Mutations have turned our bodies into a mosaic of cellular variations

Mutation rates are a source of genetic variation within populations. Knowing more about these rates in humans can help researchers better understand disease and evolution. Before this study, mutation rates had “really only been looked at in Europeans, and so we wanted to be able to look in a much broader, diverse population,” evolutionary geneticist Timothy O’Connor of the University of Maryland, a coauthor on the new paper, tells The Scientist. 

Read the original post

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Nigeriacotton

Video: We can ‘finally’ grow GMOs—Nigerian farmer explains why developing countries need biotech crops

Nigerian farmer Patience Koku discusses the GMO crop trials she is conducting on her farm, and why growers can "rise ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
breastfeeding bed x facebook x

Infographic: We know breastfeeding helps children. Now we know it helps mothers too

When a woman becomes pregnant, her risk of type 2 diabetes increases for the rest of her life, perhaps because ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend