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Why and when was lactase persistence selected for? Insights from Central Asian herders and ancient DNA

Authors
  • Segurel, Laure
  • Guarino-Vignon, Perle
  • Marchi, Nina
  • Lafosse, Sophie
  • Laurent, Romain
  • Bon, Céline
  • Fabre, Alexandre
  • Hegay, Tatyana
  • Heyer, Evelyne
Type
Published Article
Journal
PLoS Biology
Publisher
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
Jun 08, 2020
Volume
18
Issue
6
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000742
PMID: 32511234
PMCID: PMC7302802
Source
PubMed Central
License
Unknown

Abstract

The genetic adaptation of humans to the consumption of animal milk is a textbook example of gene-culture coevolution. Taking advantage of the accumulated ancient DNA data, this Unsolved Mystery article explores where and when lactase persistence emerged. The mutation rapidly spread throughout Eurasia between 4000 and 3000 BP, but if Asian herders managed to culturally adapt to milk consumption, then why have Europeans genetically adapted at all?

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