1

votes

Probably we evolved?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created November 08, 2010 at 7:19 PM

I read a very interesting article about how, over a period of few centuries, the fishes living in caves of Cueva del Azufre have developed resistance to a particular toxin that was released every year for some ritual. They evolved over a period of few centuries but not over million years. So probably we evolved over the last few thousand years? I just want to know whether it is just 'assumed' that we didn't evolve.

EDIT: I am not suggesting we could have become fully adapted to grains, but I am just wondering whether we became a tiny bit more better suited to various foods..

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Melissa--allelic traits do not necessitate a particular phenotypic expression. If you look at the original papers, the research Stephan refers to does not make the leap from gene to protein to manifested gluten intolerance. This 0.4% number appears to have become a paleo meme around these parts. I suppose we could use some memes to battle against conventional wisdom memes, but this is not a great one. It's like if someone found that 0.4% of the US population have an enzyme that is activated when we eat tomatoes. That would be interesting, but does not indicate intolerance.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on November 09, 2010
at 09:30 PM

Well, now that I've read your clarification, I think I'm on board with that. For some reason, being Asian, the question of whether Asian people are better adapted to rice just seems like an uninteresting one to me -- since I think the main issue is probably going to be metabolic health, not genetic adaptation. But looking at differences in vitamin D metabolism, etc. is genuinely useful, for sure.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on November 09, 2010
at 09:27 PM

I'm with Kamal on this one. It's not quite accurate to say that 99.6% of humans are "intolerant" to gluten because only 0.4% of us carry HLA-DQ4. I do think a large # of people seem to benefit from gluten elimination, in the short term, and would conservatively peg that # at >60%. I don't think we have the data (yet) to back up the claim that 99% of people would benefit measurably from gluten elimination.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on November 09, 2010
at 09:14 PM

Right, I agree with you, ben. It's just that I'm speculating that it has less to do with his ethnic heritage and more to do with his metabolic health. Maybe I'm talking about a different issue here, though.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 09, 2010
at 06:46 PM

WCC Paul-- the number comes from research that is cited somewhere on Dr. Fine's lab webpage. I found it a while back after reading Stephan's entry on gluten. Unfortunately I didn't bookmark it :( The reason I try to be careful making conclusions about biomarkers vis a vis clinical outcomes is that biomarkers got us in a world of misinformation in the first place (serum cholesterol as estimation of heart disease risk).

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on November 09, 2010
at 06:03 PM

Thanks Zohar --- SO WHY DON'T YOU ADD THE LINK TO YOUR COMMENT?

D339c39d94d65460e28128174845f423

(821)

on November 09, 2010
at 03:47 PM

The book has a website

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on November 09, 2010
at 01:29 PM

Thanks Melissa, sorry was at work and didn't have time to verify. Next time I'll keep my foot out of my mouth till I have time before I mislink

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 09, 2010
at 06:39 AM

Kamal, the link in Stephan's article to Dr. Kenneth Fine's work doesn't go anywhere. You found the papers somewhere else? ... It is worth mentioning that Stephan himself doesn't *explicitly* make that "leap from gene to protein to manifested gluten intolerance" either, leaving some room to wiggle out of it. (He's usually pretty careful about what he commits himself to.)

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on November 09, 2010
at 01:11 AM

Melissa, let me know when you post on it so I don't miss it.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on November 09, 2010
at 12:34 AM

@Jae, excellent comment. metabolism first, history second all the way. Im grainfree all the time. But lookit Pacquiao, the Philipino monster boxer, he gorges on white rice. But then im betting his metabolism and overall health is pretty spoton. Point being, the man is in great shape and CAN HANDLE the load of the rice. Couch potatoes watching TV all night may be a different story. Grainfree would indeed prolly benefit ALL of us from a longevity/bloodpanel POV, but Pacqi can handle and thrive on it.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on November 08, 2010
at 11:27 PM

Just read it...blog post forthcoming! Beak of the Finch is also EXCELLENT!

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on November 08, 2010
at 11:27 PM

"Only 0.4% of the U.S. population carries HLA-DQ4 and no other allele." http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/12/gluten-sensitivity-celiac-disease-is.html

10034c23f65addc5735eb02a32448223

(361)

on November 08, 2010
at 10:14 PM

@WCC thanks for the link to that topic! And I didn't think I would stir up so much dust in here..

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 08, 2010
at 10:07 PM

Oh yeah, note that at least one of the examples I gave above, "skin color and vitamin D," is a pre-agricultural phenomenon (or at least most likely). But I said that it was "relevant to the discussion" because answering questions about evolution in the last 70,000 to 100,000 (really it's 60,000 to 100,000, right?) would probably be helpful in thinking about the last 10,000. And of course the New World wasn't reached until about 30,000 years ago ...

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 08, 2010
at 10:00 PM

How about a number four--70,000-10,000 years ago? When people emigrated out of Africa, they went to different continents, and often stayed there for many thousand years. I recall a thread about whether Old World vs New World foods matter. Is it just a coincidence that the most popular nightshades seem to be new world plants? Jared Diamond made interesting comparisons of how Native American diets high in new world plants versus those eating a more traditional diet have worse health. And equatorial people definitely have some important differences compared to Europeans. Lots of unknowns...

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 08, 2010
at 09:26 PM

Miso Beno-- did you find your paper yet?

6738ae1082ab735fc5fbd92baf7544d7

(200)

on November 08, 2010
at 09:18 PM

The article states that the serological test is 99.6% accurate in detecting Tissue transglutaminase. The article also states that Immunoglobulin A that targets tissue transglutaminase expresses 95% + specificity (meaning it's primary target is ttG) and that it is highly sensitive to the presence of ttG.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 08, 2010
at 09:10 PM

Darn you Stephen Aegis, that article says nothing about 99.6% intolerance.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on November 08, 2010
at 09:03 PM

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2842922/

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on November 08, 2010
at 08:50 PM

Paul, why do you think it is one of the most important topics? I feel as though it's not that important because, once you remove the neolithic agents of disease (including wheat, n6 seed oils, sunlight deprivation, etc.), the rest of the journey is simply tinkering with individual situations, goals, and bodies. Mark Sisson eats white rice on occasion -- and so do I (rarely). Is there any reason to think that both of us, with vastly different ethnic backgrounds (I'm East Asian), have genetic adaptations to white rice? Or do we take a nod from Harris and think of metabolism 1st, history 2nd?

6738ae1082ab735fc5fbd92baf7544d7

(200)

on November 08, 2010
at 08:39 PM

According to Butterworth et al, people in South Asia express Coeliac disease at a much earlier age than people of caucasian descent. (South Asians present symptoms at 27y/o, Caucasians present symptoms at 47y/o. Sample group - 40 asians, 90 caucasians.) The problem is, there is still very little information about the geographic distribution of coeliac disease which could be related to the fact that large portions of the world consume little in the form of wheat products.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 08, 2010
at 08:33 PM

This is one of our favorite discussions and probably one of the most important ones. I would suggest searching for similar threads. But here is one of the big ones with lots of good responses and leads: http://paleohacks.com/questions/7073/how-valid-is-the-premise-that-human-genome-has-not-changed-much-in-40-000-years

D628a7339e8567f7246fc0cf652acacf

(639)

on November 08, 2010
at 08:30 PM

Today's distribution of celiac's disease tells you nothing about its distribution before agriculture. You don't know how big the selection effect was without knowing how prevalent it used to be. And anyway, all (except for the most extreme sufferers?) still survive to reproductive age.

6738ae1082ab735fc5fbd92baf7544d7

(200)

on November 08, 2010
at 08:27 PM

Oh I bet our transition to a wheat based diet had an immediate selective effect. Basing my judgments on coeliac disease, and its relatively low prevalence in our population; I can make a extrapolate that if a large segment of our paleolithic ancestors expressed a significant intolerance for gluten bearing foods then they would have been selected against in quite a hurry. By the middle ages, the European and Central Asian food supplies were heavily gluten based, and at that time, there were very few inexpensive alternatives to wheat products.

6738ae1082ab735fc5fbd92baf7544d7

(200)

on November 08, 2010
at 08:22 PM

When I was perfroming my own primary research on pubmed I bumbled across a review article that citied a figure stating 15-20 percent of subjects tested mount a mild innate immune response to gliadin. Unfortunately, I can't seem find the paper for the life of me.

10034c23f65addc5735eb02a32448223

(361)

on November 08, 2010
at 08:09 PM

Interesting.. didn't know about this book or the authors..

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on November 08, 2010
at 07:37 PM

Give us a citation for that 99.6% figure, please...?

  • 10034c23f65addc5735eb02a32448223

    asked by

    (361)
  • Views
    1.5K
  • Last Activity
    1262D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

6 Answers

5
77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on November 08, 2010
at 07:36 PM

Nobody is saying we didn't evolve. Humans have definitely evolved in the past few thousand years, and there are definite adaptations that you can see in terms of dairy and other food tolerances that some groups have.

What is increasingly clear is that many humans have not adapted very well to cereal grains, especially wheat. And the amount of omega-6 fatty acids that most humans consume today is well outside of our evolutionary experience, and has only been going on for about 100 years. Sugar consumption has also increased dramatically in the last few hundred years. The amount of time that people spend indoors, sitting in chairs, driving, wearing fancy athletic shoes, etc., has probably increased dramatically in the last few hundred years or in the past few decades.

4
6738ae1082ab735fc5fbd92baf7544d7

on November 08, 2010
at 07:37 PM

If you read the full text of the article, only the fishes living in one portion of that pool were selected to become resistant to the to lime-barbasco compound released into the stream by the natives. Fishes in other parts of the underground stream still exhibited no resistance to the toxin, and even the fishes who were more tolerant of the adverse conditions would still die if they were exposed to the elevated concentrations of the compound laden water. They just lived long enough to wait out the natives.

Translating this to humans - it's apparent that many humans have adapted to utilize lactose, gluten, and other food sources. The problem is, many of us haven't been selected to tolerate diets high in those compounds, particularly those of us who's ethnic backgrounds can't be traced back to wheat or dairy consuming regions. Also, none of us are well suited for the contemporary calorie rich, carbohydrate dense, sugar laden, low fiber diets. Thats why we are seeing metabolic disorders spiraling out of control in developed nations .

3
93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on November 08, 2010
at 07:29 PM

Ivan,

You need to do some reading. One place to start would be the 10,000 Year Explosion.

10034c23f65addc5735eb02a32448223

(361)

on November 08, 2010
at 08:09 PM

Interesting.. didn't know about this book or the authors..

D339c39d94d65460e28128174845f423

(821)

on November 09, 2010
at 03:47 PM

The book has a website

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on November 09, 2010
at 01:11 AM

Melissa, let me know when you post on it so I don't miss it.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on November 08, 2010
at 11:27 PM

Just read it...blog post forthcoming! Beak of the Finch is also EXCELLENT!

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on November 09, 2010
at 06:03 PM

Thanks Zohar --- SO WHY DON'T YOU ADD THE LINK TO YOUR COMMENT?

2
47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 08, 2010
at 09:43 PM

[Response to Jae above:]

I just said that the topic was important because it seems to be one of the most conspicuous of the fruitful areas of disagreement on this site. We all agree on certain basic principles; the leftover stuff we enjoy debating often falls within this topic. (And we enjoy debating it a lot, judging by the number of times variants on the question come up.) Anyhow the simplest way to put the question is: How much genetic (or epigenetic, whatever) change has really taken place? And people take different sides. Patrik for example is generally on the "more change" side of things. (I somehow think Patrik won't mind being the victim of gross oversimplification here, sorry Patrik.) I used to be on the "less change" side of things but am coming around a little bit. In fact it was because of reading threads on this site and giving tentative answers that I decided to take a retirement from the topic to go read a textbook on genetics. (And then come back and prove everyone wrong for all eternity learn more.)

So I think maybe you are saying that we get a primary evolutionary result and then we tinker with individual situations after we have that. But I think that there are three things going on, not two: one, the primary evolutionary result, three, the individual tinkering, and then in between is two, whatever we can learn about genetics since the beginning of widespread agriculture. We already know that there are some convincing genetic finds that are relevant to the discussion: lactose tolerance, skin color and vitamin D, alcohol tolerance. And I know that you of course are aware of these things. So then the question is: what else can we find? I mean, maybe we'll just find that we can't find any helpful patterns with any reliable degree of certainty that apply to the question of evolution since 10,000 years ago, and then it really would in the end boil down to the two-fold situation instead of the three-fold situation: we'd have the main evolutionary result and then beyond that just the individual tinkering. But we at least have to reach that conclusion first.

Sorry if I'm belaboring something unrelated to your question. You can just let me know where we're missing each other if you want. Paul.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 08, 2010
at 10:07 PM

Oh yeah, note that at least one of the examples I gave above, "skin color and vitamin D," is a pre-agricultural phenomenon (or at least most likely). But I said that it was "relevant to the discussion" because answering questions about evolution in the last 70,000 to 100,000 (really it's 60,000 to 100,000, right?) would probably be helpful in thinking about the last 10,000. And of course the New World wasn't reached until about 30,000 years ago ...

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 08, 2010
at 10:00 PM

How about a number four--70,000-10,000 years ago? When people emigrated out of Africa, they went to different continents, and often stayed there for many thousand years. I recall a thread about whether Old World vs New World foods matter. Is it just a coincidence that the most popular nightshades seem to be new world plants? Jared Diamond made interesting comparisons of how Native American diets high in new world plants versus those eating a more traditional diet have worse health. And equatorial people definitely have some important differences compared to Europeans. Lots of unknowns...

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on November 09, 2010
at 09:30 PM

Well, now that I've read your clarification, I think I'm on board with that. For some reason, being Asian, the question of whether Asian people are better adapted to rice just seems like an uninteresting one to me -- since I think the main issue is probably going to be metabolic health, not genetic adaptation. But looking at differences in vitamin D metabolism, etc. is genuinely useful, for sure.

0
D628a7339e8567f7246fc0cf652acacf

on November 08, 2010
at 08:18 PM

You have to consider lifespan and the strength of the selection effect. Fish don't live long (= lots of generations) and the penalty for not being adapted was death. Humans do live a long time (= few generations) and grains rarely kill us before we reproduce. So the selection effect is not nearly as strong.

6738ae1082ab735fc5fbd92baf7544d7

(200)

on November 08, 2010
at 08:27 PM

Oh I bet our transition to a wheat based diet had an immediate selective effect. Basing my judgments on coeliac disease, and its relatively low prevalence in our population; I can make a extrapolate that if a large segment of our paleolithic ancestors expressed a significant intolerance for gluten bearing foods then they would have been selected against in quite a hurry. By the middle ages, the European and Central Asian food supplies were heavily gluten based, and at that time, there were very few inexpensive alternatives to wheat products.

6738ae1082ab735fc5fbd92baf7544d7

(200)

on November 08, 2010
at 08:39 PM

According to Butterworth et al, people in South Asia express Coeliac disease at a much earlier age than people of caucasian descent. (South Asians present symptoms at 27y/o, Caucasians present symptoms at 47y/o. Sample group - 40 asians, 90 caucasians.) The problem is, there is still very little information about the geographic distribution of coeliac disease which could be related to the fact that large portions of the world consume little in the form of wheat products.

D628a7339e8567f7246fc0cf652acacf

(639)

on November 08, 2010
at 08:30 PM

Today's distribution of celiac's disease tells you nothing about its distribution before agriculture. You don't know how big the selection effect was without knowing how prevalent it used to be. And anyway, all (except for the most extreme sufferers?) still survive to reproductive age.

0
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on November 08, 2010
at 07:32 PM

A good question, but we are significantly more complex organisms than these fish. In addition, we have knowledge of genetics and the alleles that coincide with gluten intolerance...

99.6% of humans are intolerant at some level... So to that I say , nope we haven't evolved to it yet.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2842922/

I say yet because we haven't had this access ti this quantity of gluten until very recently. Humans may eventually adapt.

We are so widespread nowadays that a mutation would be incredibly slow to spread thru the entire population.

6738ae1082ab735fc5fbd92baf7544d7

(200)

on November 08, 2010
at 08:22 PM

When I was perfroming my own primary research on pubmed I bumbled across a review article that citied a figure stating 15-20 percent of subjects tested mount a mild innate immune response to gliadin. Unfortunately, I can't seem find the paper for the life of me.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 08, 2010
at 09:26 PM

Miso Beno-- did you find your paper yet?

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 09, 2010
at 06:46 PM

WCC Paul-- the number comes from research that is cited somewhere on Dr. Fine's lab webpage. I found it a while back after reading Stephan's entry on gluten. Unfortunately I didn't bookmark it :( The reason I try to be careful making conclusions about biomarkers vis a vis clinical outcomes is that biomarkers got us in a world of misinformation in the first place (serum cholesterol as estimation of heart disease risk).

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 08, 2010
at 09:10 PM

Darn you Stephen Aegis, that article says nothing about 99.6% intolerance.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on November 09, 2010
at 09:27 PM

I'm with Kamal on this one. It's not quite accurate to say that 99.6% of humans are "intolerant" to gluten because only 0.4% of us carry HLA-DQ4. I do think a large # of people seem to benefit from gluten elimination, in the short term, and would conservatively peg that # at >60%. I don't think we have the data (yet) to back up the claim that 99% of people would benefit measurably from gluten elimination.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on November 08, 2010
at 09:03 PM

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2842922/

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on November 09, 2010
at 01:29 PM

Thanks Melissa, sorry was at work and didn't have time to verify. Next time I'll keep my foot out of my mouth till I have time before I mislink

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on November 08, 2010
at 07:37 PM

Give us a citation for that 99.6% figure, please...?

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 09, 2010
at 06:39 AM

Kamal, the link in Stephan's article to Dr. Kenneth Fine's work doesn't go anywhere. You found the papers somewhere else? ... It is worth mentioning that Stephan himself doesn't *explicitly* make that "leap from gene to protein to manifested gluten intolerance" either, leaving some room to wiggle out of it. (He's usually pretty careful about what he commits himself to.)

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on November 08, 2010
at 11:27 PM

"Only 0.4% of the U.S. population carries HLA-DQ4 and no other allele." http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/12/gluten-sensitivity-celiac-disease-is.html

6738ae1082ab735fc5fbd92baf7544d7

(200)

on November 08, 2010
at 09:18 PM

The article states that the serological test is 99.6% accurate in detecting Tissue transglutaminase. The article also states that Immunoglobulin A that targets tissue transglutaminase expresses 95% + specificity (meaning it's primary target is ttG) and that it is highly sensitive to the presence of ttG.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Melissa--allelic traits do not necessitate a particular phenotypic expression. If you look at the original papers, the research Stephan refers to does not make the leap from gene to protein to manifested gluten intolerance. This 0.4% number appears to have become a paleo meme around these parts. I suppose we could use some memes to battle against conventional wisdom memes, but this is not a great one. It's like if someone found that 0.4% of the US population have an enzyme that is activated when we eat tomatoes. That would be interesting, but does not indicate intolerance.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!