HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
History of human cannibalism eats away at researchers

In a new study published by the journal Genome Research, a team of scientists reports that 'mad cow'-like diseases have not been a major force in human history, nor have been cannibalistic rituals that are known to be associated with disease transmission. Prof. Jaume Bertranpetit, a scientist at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and his colleagues used a fresh set of genetic data to show that balancing selection associated with cannibalism has not been a major selective driving force on the prion protein gene, as has recently been proposed. Their work also has important scientific implications for researchers using a specific class of DNA markers called SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) to examine genetic associations with diseases or to evaluate historical patterns of human migration.

The prion protein gene (PRNP) encodes a protein that can abnormally fold and amass in brain tissues to cause fatal neurodegenerative diseases such as mad cow disease. These diseases are cumulatively known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) and in humans, include CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) and kuru. Kuru is confined to a human population in Papua-New Guinea and is transmitted by cannibalism at ritualistic mortuary feasts.

A high-profile study published nearly three years ago suggested that individuals who were heterozygous for a common polymorphism in the PRNP gene were relatively resistant to the disease. Over time, homozygotes who participated in the cannibalistic rituals purportedly diminished in numbers due to their increased susceptibility to kuru. This indicated that cannibalism conferred an effect of balancing selection on the PRNP gene throughout human history.

Bertranpetit and his colleagues sequenced 2,378 base pairs of the PRNP gene in 174 individuals; in addition, they genotyped two SNPs (or single nucleotide polymorphisms) from the PRNP gene in 1000 individuals from population
'"/>

Contact: Maria Smit
smit@cshl.edu
516-422-4013
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
3-Jan-2006


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. GenePOPS -- Sequencing Human History: The Genetics and Commerce of Personal Ancestry
2. History-hunting geneticists can still follow familiar trail
3. History of Earth Sciences Society joins AGI
4. National Academies advisory: Feb. 15 program for African-American History Month
5. Rob DeSalle and Michael Yudell to appear at the American Museum of Natural History
6. Facial attraction -- choice of sexual partner shaped the human face
7. Gene regulation, not just genes, is what sets humans apart
8. OHSU turns mouse into factory for human liver cells
9. Antioxidant overload may underlie a heritable human disease
10. UCLA scientists produce functioning neurons from human embryonic stem cells
11. Beyond Mesopotamia: A radical new view of human civilization reported in Science

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


(Date:8/7/2020)... ... August 06, 2020 , ... ... in the prestigious National STEM Scholar Program, a unique professional development program that ... project support for middle school science teachers nationwide. , Created in partnership between ...
(Date:7/31/2020)... ... July 30, 2020 , ... ... therapeutics product portfolio with a near term focus on Type 2 diabetes and ... commercialization experience across multiple therapeutic areas and classes. As Chief Commercial Officer, Justin ...
(Date:7/10/2020)... ... 08, 2020 , ... Overcoming Comparability Issues in Regenerative Medicines ... Wednesday, July 22, 2020 • 1:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m. EDT, https://www.fdanews.com/cellandgenetherapy , ... way to complete one? Will the study comply with all FDA requirements? Understanding ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/31/2020)... and SOMERSET, N.J (PRWEB) , ... July 29, ... ... genome editing company, and Catalent, the leading global provider of advanced delivery technologies, ... health products, today announced that they have entered into a strategic partnership whereby ...
(Date:7/31/2020)... MIAMI (PRWEB) , ... July 29, 2020 , ... ... nearly 200 of the top radiation centers in 16 countries, has reached its ... years, SDX® is now in routine use at top universities including University of ...
(Date:7/22/2020)... ... ... Join experts from Reed Tech , Gary Saner, Sr. Manager, Information ... live webinar on Thursday, August 13, 2020 at 11am EDT (4pm BST/UK). ... Specifically, for medical devices, the NMPA has departments dealing with medical device registration (pre-market ...
(Date:7/18/2020)... ... July 16, 2020 , ... “We are thrilled to deliver this new ... only technology of its kind on the market and we were pleased that the ... capacity of traditional cultured ingredients, creating a natural way to extend the shelf life ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: