View Full Version : Some cultures genetically wired for a Vegan diet

30-03-16, 18:13
The title of this article is very misleading, as Razib Khan has pointed out. A certain allele doesn't cause a culture to adopt a certain diet. A certain diet in affect causes an increase in the frequency of certain randomly occurring mutations. That's how natural selection and evolutionwork.

From the article:

"cultures from certain parts of India, Africa and Asia have eaten a mostly vegetarian diet for so long that they have evolved a genetic adaption that boosts their body’s ability to process certain fatty acids, according to the new study, which is published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution. If these individuals stray from their veggie-based diets, they may be at a higher risk than other people for heart disease, colon cancer and additional health problems associated with increased inflammation, the scientists believe."

“With little animal food in the diet, the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids must be made metabolically” from ingested plant products, co-authors Tom Brenna and Kumar Kothapalli of Cornell University explained in a joint comment in a press release.

They continued that “the physiological demand” for these necessary fatty acids “in vegetarians is likely to have favored genetics that support efficient synthesis of these key metabolites. Changes in the dietary omega-6 to omega-3 balance may contribute to the increase in chronic disease seen in some developing countries.”

"Fish and meats can be sources of these fatty acids. In plants, omega-6 may be found in wheat germ and various vegetables, such as corn. Many veggies are high in omega-3, such as broccoli, squash, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale."

This is the actual paper:


I'm sure there are others, but the allele in question here is rs rs66698963.

"Analysis using 1000 Genomes Project data confirmed our observation, revealing a global I/I genotype of 70% in South Asians, of 53% in Africans, 29% in East Asians, and 17% in Europeans.

I don't think it's on the chip used at 23andme, or at least it didn't give a result for me.

31-03-16, 01:20
Analysis using 1000 Genomes Project data confirmed our observation, revealing a global I/I genotype of 70 % in South Asia, 53% in Africa, 29% in East Asia and 17% in Europe.

It was previously found that South Asians also carry a risk gene related to obesity (Sniderman 2007) and the rs66698963 genotype found in South Asians is associated with heart disease and cancer. Keeping a vegetarian diet may be necessary for South Asians to stay healthy, compared to other populations. Traditional remedies usually have a good rationale behind them.

Our hypothesis is that the primary adipose tissue compartment is less developed in South Asians than in white people. A reduced capacity to store fatty acids in the primary adipose tissue compartment, which results in earlier utilization of the secondary compartments, would explain why at similar BMI, the waist to hip ratio of South Asians is greater than whites. It would also explain why, at the same BMI, the atherogenic lipoprotein profile we have described is more pronounced in South Asians than in whites.

31-03-16, 16:51
I said many times that we are products of lives of our ancestors. We carry their predispositions, and are adapted to follow their lifestyle.
In order to stay healthy my motto goes:" Eat what your ancestors Ate." This is a general guideline telling us that Europeans shouldn't be vegetarians, and Indians shouldn't eat too much meat. Inuit should have fresh liver in their diet, and animal fat. North Europeans could indulge in more animal fat or milk than in South, but south Europeans can have couple of alcoholic drinks daily without a risk of becoming alcoholics. Etc. Just few quick examples.
I'm glad that more and more research is confirming my observations.

31-03-16, 17:25
I forgot to include this article in Science:


Just ignore the fact again that even at Science the reporters don't get that the diet selections for an already existing mutation.

"In a new evolutionary proof of the old adage, 'we are what we eat,' scientists have found tantalizing evidence that a vegetarian diet has led to a mutation that -- if they stray from a balanced omega-6 to omega-3 diet -- may make people more susceptible to inflammation, and by association, increased risk of heart disease and colon cancer."

" Treating individuals according to whether they carry 0, 1, or 2 copies of the insertion, and their influence on fatty acid metabolites, can be an important consideration for precision medicine and nutrition."

They have a nice map showing the global differences.

I'm sure that's true as a generality, but given that northerners have EN genes and southerners have WHG and EHG, probably, as the scientists suggest, we really need individual genomic information.