Skip to comments.November 19, 2009Brain-eating tribe enriches understanding of mad cow disease
Posted on 11/19/2009 6:57:03 AM PST by TigerLikesRooster
November 19, 2009
Brain-eating tribe enriches understanding of mad cow disease
Mark Henderson, Science Editor
A cannibalistic ritual in which the brains of dead tribespeople were eaten by their relatives has triggered one of the most striking examples of rapid human evolution on record, scientists have discovered.
In the middle of the 20th century the Fore tribe of the Eastern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea was devastated by a CJD-like disease called kuru, which was passed on by mortuary feasts in which the brains of the dead were consumed.
Although the practice was banned in the 1950s and kuru has disappeared, it has left an imprint on the tribes DNA. Research has now identified a genetic mutation unique to the Fore that protects against the brain disease and which has spread swiftly through the population by natural selection.
As the mutation confers high or almost complete resistance to kuru, carriers have a survival advantage and have had more descendants. About 8 per cent of people from the Purosa Valley region, where kuru hit hardest, now have the gene, which is unknown anywhere else in the world.
(Excerpt) Read more at timesonline.co.uk ...
mmm . . . brains
Somebody ping G-Cube!
” Its absolutely fascinating to see Darwinian principles at work here. This community of people have developed their own biologically unique response to a truly terrible epidemic. The fact that this genetic evolution has happened in a matter of decades is remarkable.
Mmmmmm think meat.
Having scrambled eggs for breakfast. MMM MMM MMMMMM
Paging Dr. Lecter-Dr. Hannibal Lecter.
Sweet breads right?
Over a bed of rice with some flava beans and a nice chianti.
AIDS IS CURED IN TWO GENERATIONS! (provided that the population reproduces)
HIV There is evidence that a variant of a gene called CCR5-32, which offers resistance against HIV, is increasing in frequency in Africa
It’s extremely disturbing to me that you know that.
Squirrel-head stew is good too, but not good for you for the same reason.
wow...and it didn’t take them millions and billions of years to do it either!
Several things wrong with this. Number one, immediately stating it show Darwinism at work is, in fact more like Lamarck than Darwin. Second, stating that a ‘gene’ against kuru is “ a gene against kuru” is suspect, as is saying there is “no other gene like it seen in any other person on the world”. Broad sweeping statements that get published but do not bear up under scrutiny. It is entirely possible that they have identified a gene that exists in “survivors” that would exist in any number of other tribespeople. Since the practice of eating the brains of the dead is assumed to continue at the same rate, when it may not be (and, indeed how does one verify— yeah, so you ate your Dad’s brains- with any accuracy) this makes most of the claims here “pop science” and outcome being fitted to science theory. Not very compelling. By the way, if they are claiming a “mutation”, mutations under Darwin were always assumed to be helpful— in research they have generally been show to be harmful and species reacting to a mutation by dying out.
This might be the first time evolution itself has actually been observed.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.