HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Widespread cannibalism may have caused prehistoric prion disease epidemics, Science study suggests

This news release is also available in French.

Human flesh may have been a fairly regular menu item for our prehistoric ancestors, according to researchers. They say it's the most likely explanation for their discovery that genes protecting against prion diseases -- which can be spread by eating contaminated flesh -- have long been widespread throughout the world.

The genes, which are mutant versions of the prion protein gene, show key signs of having spread through populations as the result of natural selection, the researchers report in the journal Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Such mutations, or "polymorphisms," could have provided prehistoric humans a better chance of surviving epidemics of prion diseases, similar to modern day diseases such as Creutzfeld Jacob disease, or kuru.

"What we're showing here is evidence that selection for these polymorphisms has been very widespread or happened very early in the evolution of modern humans, before human beings spread all over the planet," said study author John Collinge of University College London. "We can't say which of those it is; but the obvious implication is that prion disease has provided the selection pressure."

Prion diseases are caused by misfolded versions of the prion protein, which cause other prion proteins to misfold and clump together in the brain. Kuru and Creutzfeld Jacob disease, in humans, as well as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, in cows, cause brain degeneration and, ultimately, death.

In a previous study, Collinge and his colleagues determined that people with one normal copy and one mutated copy of the prion protein were somehow protected against Creutzfeld Jacob disease. The mutation consisted of a single amino acid substitution at a certain spot in the gene, and is known as "M129V." Among the Japanese and other
'"/>

Contact: Lisa Onaga
lonaga@aaas.org
202-326-7088
American Association for the Advancement of Science
10-Apr-2003


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Widespread amphibian deformities caused by parasite
2. Widespread superbug is expert at acquiring drug-resistance
3. High-pressure Oxygen Therapy Could Offer Widespread Benefits
4. New Study Of BRCA1 Shows No Need For Widespread Screening Of American Women
5. Widespread Genus Of Monkeys Gives Up Genealogical Secrets To Columbia Researchers
6. Biosensor Is A Model For Widespread Testing Of Chemicals, Molecules
7. Project Shows Native Bacteria Can Destroy Widespread Pollutant In Groundwater
8. Study provides direct evidence of cannibalism in the Southwest
9. Climate change plus human pressure caused large mammal extinctions in late Pleistocene
10. New evidence says Earths greatest extinction caused by ancient meteorite
11. Cell density determines extent of damage caused by cigarette smoke exposure

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:7/1/2020)... (PRWEB) , ... July 01, 2020 , ... ... that it had completed the purchase of Teva-Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ packaging facility in Minakuchi, ... company’s existing Japanese clinical supply facility located in Kakegawa, the new 60,000-square-foot facility ...
(Date:6/28/2020)... ... June 25, 2020 , ... ... biopharmaceutical R&D, today announced that it has entered into a multi-year contract ... (Multiclonics®), to support their translational and clinical research strategy to discover and ...
(Date:6/25/2020)... ... June 24, 2020 , ... ... software and software-driven clinical data services that accelerate drug development, is collaborating with ... an XPO1 inhibitor, in hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19. This is the first ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/31/2020)... ... July 29, 2020 , ... R3 Stem Cell International ... only $3950. With 50 million stem cells total, patients may choose which extremities they ... works for arthritic joints (BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2016). At R3 International, umbilical cord tissue ...
(Date:7/31/2020)... , ... July 29, 2020 , ... eSource has long ... This webinar will cover the history of eSource, the reasons it did not take ... to wearables, to site source, the industry is moving towards capturing data electronically for ...
(Date:7/18/2020)... ... July 16, 2020 , ... “We are thrilled to ... Bioactives. “It’s the only technology of its kind on the market and we were ... with the protective capacity of traditional cultured ingredients, creating a natural way to extend ...
(Date:7/10/2020)... ... July 09, 2020 , ... ... is commonly used to suppress pigment formation in zebrafish embryos, maintaining optical transparency ... led by Dr MA has been using the zebrafish model to investigate the ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: