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Dec 12, 2006

Gene Mutation for Milk Tolerance Discovered in Some African Groups

  • Genetic mutations in East Africans that are associated with the ability to digest milk as adults have been identified. The study of DNA found that the mutations evolved at the time in history when some Africans were beginning to raise cattle and evolved independently of the mutation that regulates milk digestion in Europeans. 

    The study was led by University of Maryland researcher Sarah Tishkoff, associate professor of biology and will be reported in the December 18, 2006 issue of Nature Genetics. The findings are not only evidence of how genes and culture co-evolve, says Tishkoff "they reveal one of the most striking genetic footprints of natural selection ever observed in humans." 

    The mutation in East African’s has gone undetected until now because it appears to be in a different location than the European mutation, and appears to be restricted to East African populations that herd cattle.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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