UCL Division of Biosciences


Milk drinking: in our genes?

16th March 2010

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.

Official press release from UCL's press office

 Newspaper coverage from the international press

'A worldwide correlation of lactase persistence phenotype and genotypes' published in BMC Evolutionary Biology

Global Lactase persistence Association Database (GLAD)

Listen to Professor Mark Thomas discussing the research on Radio New Zealand, 10th April 2010