Human Adaptaion

Human Adaptation

Have you ever wondered how or why some humans have the ability to tolerate milk and some don’t? Perhaps humans are passed down a trait from their mother or father that allows for them to digest milk compared to those individuals who can’t. In many populations milk comes from several types of animals with the cow being its main source. In the year of 1997, a woman by the name of Sarah Tishkoff decided that she would go to Africa to see if she could trace any history of lactase persistence in ones genetic origins through the collection of DNA samples and tests from 470 individuals from 43 different ethnic groups. Through the results of her tests, could it be possible to predict if Neandertals had the ability to tolerate milk? If so this could also explain what would happen to any population if they were to stop drinking milk all together.
In the human body there needs to be a number of enzymes allowed to metabolize lactose which is a sugar that is produced only when there isn’t a significant source of glucose present (Robert & Joan B., 2012). As in the majority of adults get their milk either from their mother, an animal (mostly the cow), or in powder form, tend to stop drinking it at an early age typically around 5 years old. Some humans are not even able to tolerate milk as an infant due to natural selection which acts only on already existing genes such as survival and reproductive traits (Robert & Joan B., 2012). Through several evolutional periods and thousands of years ago, lactase persistence spread throughout human populations. One of the earliest populations is known to have originated in Europe (Check, 2006).
The genetic changes that are needed for a human to tolerate milk include sexual reproduction, natural selection, mutation and genetic drift. Genetic mutation was needed for humans to tolerate lactose since humans were not designed to digest milk due to lactose sugar that is the main source in milk. Northern European...