Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How humans adapt to eating new types of foods

Most people who realize humans can adapt to digesting new types of food, think they know that there are one or two ways for humans to adapt to new food: by having new types of bacteria in our intestines and the other is to evolve news ways of digesting.

However, there are other ways, as we can sometimes pick up new DNA from other species, as well as pick up the required bacteria to properly digest the new foods.

I suppose that most people would never have consider that a virus could ever have a positive impact on our health!

Viruses and Other Gene Transfer Mechanisms
The Transfer of DNA Across Species Boundaries
Bacteria trade genes more frantically than a pit full of traders on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange — Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan (3)

While recombination moves whole blocks of genetic instructions within a cell, other processes move whole blocks of genetic information from one bacterium to another bacterium of a different kind. In the analogy between genes and written text, this move is a transfer of paragraphs or pages from one library to another

Sushi may 'transfer genes' to gut
A traditional Japanese diet could transfer the genes of "sushi-specific" digestive enzymes into the human gut.

This is according to researchers who discovered a substance in marine bacteria that breaks seaweed down into digestible pieces.

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