Do you thrive in cold weather? 20% of people have a genetic mutation that keeps skeletal muscles warmer

Skeletal muscle comprises fast-twitch (white) fibers that fatigue quickly and slow-twitch (red) fibers that are more resistant to fatigue. The protein α-aktinin-3, which is found only in fast-twitch fibers, is absent in almost 20 percent of people – almost 1.5 billion individuals – due to a mutation in the gene that codes for it. In evolutionary terms, the presence of the mutated gene increased when humans migrated from Africa to the colder climates of central and northern Europe.

“This suggests that people lacking α-aktinin-3 are better at keeping warm and, energy-wise, at enduring a tougher climate, but there hasn’t been any direct experimental evidence for this before,” says Håkan Westerblad, professor of cellular muscle physiology at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet. “We can now show that the loss of this protein gives a greater resilience to cold and we’ve also found a possible mechanism for this.”

Follow the latest news and policy debates on agricultural biotech and biomedicine? Subscribe to our newsletter.

“The mutation probably gave an evolutionary advantage during the migration to a colder climate, but in today’s modern society this energy-saving ability might instead increase the risk of diseases of affluence, which is something we now want to turn our attention to,” says Professor Westerblad.

ADVERTISEMENT

Read the original post

Related article:  'Bridge to transplant': Mini human livers grown in rats spurs research that could alleviate transplant shortage
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Genetics Unzipped
Infographic: Deaths from COVID-19 are far higher than reported estimates

Infographic: Deaths from COVID-19 are far higher than reported estimates

More than 2.8 million people have lost their lives due to the pandemic, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis ...
seralinistud

Gilles-Éric Séralini: Activist professor and face of anti-GMO industry

The French biologist and his research team--funded by the Rodale ...
vandana shiva

Vandana Shiva: ‘Rock Star’ of GMO protest movement has anti-science history

In a 2012 interview, Bill Moyers referred to Vandana Shiva as ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend