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Can Large MPAs Protect Tuna and Sharks?

Thu, 04 Jun 2015 14:04:29 +0000

a guest blog by David Curnick, written for the 2015 Write About Research Competition. With a global human population of over 7 billion it is becoming ever more important to manage our natural resources effectively. For centuries, the oceans have been seen as an endless bounty, ripe for harvesting. However, this simply isn’t the case […]

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LeCHE MEETING

14 May 2010

A new study led by UCL scientists (in GEE) has found that current genetic data cannot explain why vast swathes of the world can digest milk.

Study co-author Dr Yuval Itan (UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment) explains more fully what this study reveals.

The ability to digest the milk sugar lactose – also known as lactase persistence – is a selectively advantageous and recent evolutionary genetic trait, which emerged about 7,500 years ago in Europe and probably later in other parts of the world. This means that, once weaned, people in most parts of the world (large parts of Africa, most of Asia, and Oceania) cannot digest milk for the rest of their life.

However, the study published in BMC Evolutionary Biology, shows that the four genetic mutations currently associated with the ability to digest milk cannot explain why many people in western and southern Africa, south eastern Europe, the Middle East, and southern and central Asia are able to digest milk. It also suggests that other genetic variants leading to the ability to digest milk exist, but have not yet been discovered.

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