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Genome Biol Evol. 2016 Apr 13;8(4):1091-103. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evw059.

Genetic Evidence of Human Adaptation to a Cooked Diet.

Author information

1
Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University.
2
Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany.
3
Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University AbVitro Inc, Boston, Massachusetts.
4
Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York.
5
Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany kelso@eva.mpg.de.

Abstract

Humans have been argued to be biologically adapted to a cooked diet, but this hypothesis has not been tested at the molecular level. Here, we combine controlled feeding experiments in mice with comparative primate genomics to show that consumption of a cooked diet influences gene expression and that affected genes bear signals of positive selection in the human lineage. Liver gene expression profiles in mice fed standardized diets of meat or tuber were affected by food type and cooking, but not by caloric intake or consumer energy balance. Genes affected by cooking were highly correlated with genes known to be differentially expressed in liver between humans and other primates, and more genes in this overlap set show signals of positive selection in humans than would be expected by chance. Sequence changes in the genes under selection appear before the split between modern humans and two archaic human groups, Neandertals and Denisovans, supporting the idea that human adaptation to a cooked diet had begun by at least 275,000 years ago.

KEYWORDS:

food processing; human evolution; metabolism; transcription

PMID:
26979798
PMCID:
PMC4860691
DOI:
10.1093/gbe/evw059
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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