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Annu Rev Nutr. 2010 Aug 21;30:291-314. doi: 10.1146/annurev-nutr-080508-141048.

Evolutionary adaptations to dietary changes.

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1
Department of Human Genetics, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA. fluca@bsd.uchicago.edu

Abstract

Through cultural innovation and changes in habitat and ecology, there have been a number of major dietary shifts in human evolution, including meat eating, cooking, and those associated with plant and animal domestication. The identification of signatures of adaptations to such dietary changes in the genome of extant primates (including humans) may shed light not only on the evolutionary history of our species, but also on the mechanisms that underlie common metabolic diseases in modern human populations. In this review, we provide a brief overview of the major dietary shifts that occurred during hominin evolution, and we discuss the methods and approaches used to identify signals of natural selection in patterns of sequence variation. We then review the results of studies aimed at detecting the genetic loci that played a major role in dietary adaptations and conclude by outlining the potential of future studies in this area.

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