Mutation of only one gene made people tireless runners

Approximately two to three million years ago first Primate moved from forest to Savannah. He grew longer legs, more muscle and a foot wide. Then he developed sweat glands that enabled him to cool down under the scorching African sun. According to recent studies, at about the same time around the spread of a mutation of one gene called CMAH. And now, a study conducted in rodents, supports the idea that it is a genetic refinement has allowed people to run long distances to chase their prey to exhaustion.

According to the biologist Ajit Varki of the University of California at San Diego, a mutation made the gene CMAH is totally inactive. Cooking thought, is there a link between this genetic event and the ability to run for long distances. Because each person has this gene non-functional, he could not simply compare the cross-country abilities of different people. However, he spent years studying the mice who have developed the same mutation in the CMAH, as humans, to shed light on the development of diabetes, cancer and muscular dystrophy. The work of Cooking suggested a link between the loss of the CMAH and muscle biology, but he needed proof.

Disabling the gene benefited

“About 10 years I tried to convince someone in your lab to put these mice on a treadmill,” says Cook. When he finally did the experiment, “lo and behold, without any training, without mouse CMAH ran a half times better.” Muscles of rodents — especially the hindquarters — used oxygen more efficiently and with less effort. The results were published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

In 2004, the biologist from Harvard University, Daniel Lieberman suggested that running as opposed to simply moving on two legs — has played an important role in human evolution. Lieberman, who was not involved in this new study of mice, says this is “the first really good and thorough genetic study, which correspond to our forecasts” on the role of running in the heyday of modern humans.

And you well run?