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  • Humans still evolving?

    The NY Times has a great article about how the human genome continues to evolve.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/20/sc...=1&ref=science

    Do you think the human race will eventually evolve to effectively digest grains and other non-primal foods without the nasty after-effects?

  • #2
    Yes I do think that natural selection will reduce at least the extreme cases of grain intolerance over time, but it will take hundreds of generations and I don't think that it will be a perfect adaptation, unless we become some sort of hominid-bird hybrid (that-would-be-awesome!). There will be people who get diseases and die before they procreate, or perhaps have mental issues like OCD and schizophrenia and never get the chance to procreate, and extreme grain sensitivity will be selected against in the gene pool.

    I can't possibly see how lectins and saponins could be ameliorated but anything is possible given enough pain and suffering. These are mammal-killing substances, designed to maim and destroy so that a smarter animals would stay away. But not us, apparently.
    Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

    Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Stabby View Post
      Yes I do think that natural selection will reduce at least the extreme cases of grain intolerance over time, .
      I acually don't think it will. It's easy to be completely grain intolerant *and* to reproduce. As long as reproduction isn't affected, we'll continue to pass on our grain/gluten intolerant genes.

      And I know reproduction can be affected but with the new awareness of celiac and other grain related issues, it's easier to get an earlier diagnosis, fertility stays intact, genes are passed on successfully.



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      • #4
        It's a possibility and makes you think about our population size and how we are going to feed such growing numbers. I think some will eventually evolve to be able to better handle grains but not everyone. The strongest will always survive so we Primals should be good to go.
        Last edited by AppalachianMatt; 07-20-2010, 05:02 PM.
        Today is a new day. You will get out of it just what you put into it. If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. And supposing you have tried and failed again and again, you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call 'Failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down.

        Mary Pickford

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        • #5
          Originally posted by cillakat View Post
          I acually don't think it will. It's easy to be completely grain intolerant *and* to reproduce. As long as reproduction isn't affected, we'll continue to pass on our grain/gluten intolerant genes.

          And I know reproduction can be affected but with the new awareness of celiac and other grain related issues, it's easier to get an earlier diagnosis, fertility stays intact, genes are passed on successfully.
          Actually that's true, it's a very low-ish grade of damage and makes life shorter and worse but most people can eat junky wheat every day and still live at least long enough to reproduce. Maybe in the tens or hundreds of thousands of generations it would happen but I'm not sure if humans will be around that long. At least for celiac and gluten "sensitivity".
          Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

          Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!

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          • #6
            Except there is evidence there has already been adaptation - people or European ancestry are less likely to get diabetes and obesity from a modern diet.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bisous View Post
              Except there is evidence there has already been adaptation - people or European ancestry are less likely to get diabetes and obesity from a modern diet.
              This is what I believe. Some of us are able to handle grains easier than others. I was not one of them as I had terrible experiences which brought me here (Thanks God!). But, the groups of people who eat a lot of grains products on a daily basis and live a long time seem to be more adapted. Maybe? Just my thought.
              Find me at aToadontheRoad.com. Cheers!

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              • #8
                There is adaptation, but so long as something doesn't impair ability to reproduce too potently there won't be much of an adaptation, so if it is a sliding scale of adaptability and not a yes/no allele then, like cillakat said, it will never be completely innocuous because people can abuse the hell out of their bodies, reproduce in early life and then wither and die slowly. Humans are resilient creatures. There are different degrees of sensitivity and celiac, but gluten harms everyone regardless. These "healthy" grain eating groups are mostly eating white rice (better than brown rice) or using long soaking and fermenting technique. And that just happens to be healthier than potato chips and fried chicken.
                Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

                Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!

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                • #9
                  lactose intolerance in Europeans closely correlates with type I diabetes, suggesting a selective mechanism at work.

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                  • #10
                    Yes, as has been said, there is no selection pressure promoting grain tolerance, as it has no effect on reproductive potential. So no, we won't evolve towards grain tolerance.

                    Unfortunately, barring some unforeseen catastrophic selection pressure, we're pretty much done evolving towards any specific goal (like improved grain tolerance) since now in modern society most everyone outlives their reproductive period. Population genetics may continue to shift over time (random mutation, genetic drift, etc.), but we're pretty much done evolving by natural selection. Actually, it's possible that our species will become less rational beings with worse judgment, as the genes of those who continue to reproduce in great numbers in spite of scarce resources (i.e. poor decision making) will make an increasingly greater proportion of our species' genome. To the extent that this type of behavior and decision making process is genetically influenced, these types of behaviors will be selected for. So yeah, this may be the pinnacle for us hominids

                    Have a great day!
                    Last edited by jturk; 07-21-2010, 08:08 AM.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jturk View Post
                      Yes, as has been said, there is no selection pressure promoting grain tolerance, as it has no effect on reproductive potential. So no, we won't evolve towards grain tolerance.
                      as the genes of those who continue to reproduce in great numbers in spite of scarce resources (i.e. poor decision making) will make an increasingly greater proportion of our species' genome. To the extent that this type of behavior and decision making process is genetically influenced, these types of behaviors will be selected for. So yeah, this may be the the pinnacle for us hominids

                      ITA. An unfortunate reality.



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                      • #12
                        The movie Idiocracy will be our roadmap to enlightened future.
                        Today is a new day. You will get out of it just what you put into it. If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. And supposing you have tried and failed again and again, you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call 'Failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down.

                        Mary Pickford

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                        • #13
                          Alternatively, if you want to screw with your mind a little...

                          Take "us" as a group who thrive on meat and veg (in general )

                          Say that "they" are evolving to handle grains and frankenfoods.

                          Then consider that speciation can start with the smallest of differences.... (ok, it'll need a few million years but still!)

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                          • #14
                            I've always through of repoduction and evolution in these terms - populations and statistics. Here is a very simplified example to explain things:

                            Image a population of 10,000 people. This overall population is stable, put prosperous and is growing at a very slight .5% per generation; However, there is a currently a very small sub-set of the population (1%) that is just slightly more successful and prosperous and experience growth of 1% per generation (just one half of one percent more successful). So intitially there are 9900 of the "normal" and 100 of the "others" that are very slighly more successful. In this example after 1 generation there would be 10,051 total with 9950 normal and 101 of the others.

                            Question: How many generations before the "others" outnumber the "normal"?
                            Answer: 926 generations, with a total population now of just over 2 million.

                            If things could continue, in 1,853 generations the situation would be totally reversed with 99% of the population being the "others" and only 1% being the "normal" and a total population of just over 10 billion.

                            This is how things get selected for.

                            So how might this happen in a human population? Imagine that our "other's" have just a slight chance of living into old age because they are more resistant to the ravages of a new diet. Because of this a higer percent are able to help raise their grandchildren. This tends to allow breeding age females that have the help of grandparents to be more successful and have more children that survive (just every so slightly), and viola...

                            I think the people that say we have stopped evolving are taking a very short view. We are continuing to evolve and adapt and will continue to do so. Who knows what the future might hold, being adapted to survive on a wide variety of food might be advantagous. Food trends in the future might not be so open. (example: 1 acre can produces ~40,000 lbs of potatos in a year, but only ~250 lbs of pastured beef)

                            How might this happen in

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Hector View Post
                              I've always through of repoduction and evolution in these terms - populations and statistics. Here is a very simplified example to explain things:

                              Image a population of 10,000 people. This overall population is stable, put prosperous and is growing at a very slight .5% per generation; However, there is a currently a very small sub-set of the population (1%) that is just slightly more successful and prosperous and experience growth of 1% per generation (just one half of one percent more successful). So intitially there are 9900 of the "normal" and 100 of the "others" that are very slighly more successful. In this example after 1 generation there would be 10,051 total with 9950 normal and 101 of the others.

                              Question: How many generations before the "others" outnumber the "normal"?
                              Answer: 926 generations, with a total population now of just over 2 million.

                              If things could continue, in 1,853 generations the situation would be totally reversed with 99% of the population being the "others" and only 1% being the "normal" and a total population of just over 10 billion.

                              This is how things get selected for.

                              So how might this happen in a human population? Imagine that our "other's" have just a slight chance of living into old age because they are more resistant to the ravages of a new diet. Because of this a higer percent are able to help raise their grandchildren. This tends to allow breeding age females that have the help of grandparents to be more successful and have more children that survive (just every so slightly), and viola...

                              I think the people that say we have stopped evolving are taking a very short view. We are continuing to evolve and adapt and will continue to do so. Who knows what the future might hold, being adapted to survive on a wide variety of food might be advantagous. Food trends in the future might not be so open. (example: 1 acre can produces ~40,000 lbs of potatos in a year, but only ~250 lbs of pastured beef)

                              How might this happen in
                              Hmm..If I know my parents are destined for longevity, won't I be inclined to have fewer kids, as I will be responsible for the care of my parents as they become older and infirm, and thus have fewer resources to devote to additional offspring?

                              The main problem with your first example is the association between prosperity and population growth. This would have been the case for most of our evolutionary history, but isn't so now thanks to modern sanitation, medicine, etc... The reason we're presently not evolving in response to selection pressures is because prosperity is no longer correlated to reproductive potential. This isn't to say this couldn't change at some point in the future (catastrophic food shortages, climate change, etc.), but it's the current state of affairs.
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