Thursday, August 14, 2008

Europe's Genetic Map.

Biologists have constructed a genetic map of Europe showing the degree of relatedness between its various populations. Of the 100 strongest genomic sites, 17 are found in the region of the genome that confers lactose tolerance, an adaptation that arose among a cattle herding culture in northern Europe some 5,000 years ago. Most people switch off the lactose digesting gene after weaning, but the cattle herders evidently gained a great survival advantage by keeping the gene switched on through adulthood.