Saturday, December 29, 2012

NPR food-for-thought blog on lactose tolerance.

NPR has a blog on the evolution of lactose tolerance: An Evolutionary Whodunit: How Did Humans Develop Lactose Tolerance? by Helen Thompson.   This blog discuss a review on lactase persistence in Europe based on archaeological and genetic evidences, written by Leonardi, Gerbault, Thomas, and Burger. This blog highlighted the speculative combination of famine and diarrhea to explain the quick adaptive sweep of lactase persistence in European populations. I was surprised that lactase persistence  was argued by Cordain to provide advantage against malaria in Africa and Southern Europe and rickets in Northern Europe. 

 I found many interesting ideas in the comments posted on this blog, often with entertaining exchanges. One reader linked another blog on evolution of lactose tolerance at, that also gave some interesting speculations. I have to say that some of the discussions on lactose intolerance in Chinese population contain inaccurate facts.

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