A broken gene can be the key for our ancestors to travel long distances

Now, of course, we do not see it that way, and maybe we can not block it without being shaken, but our ancestors were able to survive for a large part because they could cover great distances. A new study in rodents found that a gene in our DNA that is broken would be essential to achieve this.

Until now, that was discovered primitive men distinguish themselves from other primates by their way of huntingThey chased their prey until they were tired of running. This was proven by changes in the skeleton that made it possible to travel long distances, such as the extension of the legs.

however, changes at the cellular level to achieve better resistance they are still fertile soil. Twenty years ago, a researcher at the University of California (United States) discovered one of the first genetic differences between humans and chimpanzees: a gene called CMAH. Other primates have it and it helps them to build a sugar molecule (sialic acid) that attaches to cell surfaces. US we have a broken version of this genethat does not produce sugar, and that they estimate that it was produced 2 or 3 million years ago.

In a new study, the team of the same scientist, Ajit Varki, investigated the way this gene Affects muscles and the ability to run. They took a group of mice and divided them into two: some with a normal version of the gene and others with a broken (human), and examined them before and after performing different distances.

What did they think? According to the results published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the mice with the human version of the gene ran 12% faster and 20% further than the other animals. Why? As the experts noted, rodents with the human gene had more tiny blood vessels in the muscles of their legs and these members longer together than those with the gene in the normal version. Similarly, in the mice with the human gene, it was detected that the muscles made better use of the oxygen.

In any case, the researchers they still do not know how the sugar molecule affects resistancebecause it has many functions within a cell.