Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

You Are What You Eat: Some Differences Between Humans And Chimpanzees Traced To Diet

Date:
February 3, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Using mice as models, researchers traced some of the differences between humans and chimpanzees to differences in our diet. By feeding laboratory mice different human and chimp diets over a mere two week period, researchers were able to reconstruct some of the physiological and genetic differences observed between humans and chimpanzees.

Humans consume a distinct diet compared to other apes, like this chimpanzee eating an apple. Not only do we consume much more meat and fat, but we also cook our food. It has been hypothesized that adopting these dietary patterns played a key role during human evolution.
Credit: iStockphoto/Stephanie Swartz

Using mice as models, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology traced some of the differences between humans and chimpanzees to differences in our diet.

Humans consume a distinct diet compared to other apes. Not only do we consume much more meat and fat, but we also cook our food. It has been hypothesized that adopting these dietary patterns played a key role during human evolution. However, to date, the influence of diet on the physiological and genetic differences between humans and other apes has not been widely examined.

By feeding laboratory mice different human and chimp diets over a mere two week period, researchers at the Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, were able to reconstruct some of the physiological and genetic differences observed between humans and chimpanzees.

The researchers fed laboratory mice one of three diets: a raw fruit and vegetable diet fed to chimpanzees in zoos, a human diet consisting of food served at the Institute cafeteria or a pure fast food menu from the local McDonald's™ (the latter caused the mice to significantly gain weight). The chimpanzee diet was clearly distinct from the two human diets in its effect on the liver - thousands of differences were observed in the levels at which genes were expressed in the mouse livers. No such differences were observed in the mouse brains. A significant fraction of the genes that changed in the mouse livers, had previously been observed as different between humans and chimpanzees. This indicates that the differences observed in these particular genes might be caused by the difference in human and chimpanzee diets.

Furthermore, the diet-related genes also appear to have evolved faster than other genes - protein and promoter sequences of these genes changed faster than expected, possibly because of adaptation to new diets.

Citation: Somel M, Creely H, Franz H, Mueller U, Lachmann M, et al (2008) Human and Chimpanzee Gene Expression Differences Replicated in Mice Fed Different Diets. PLoS One 3(1): e1504. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001504 http://www.plosone.org/doi/pone.0001504


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "You Are What You Eat: Some Differences Between Humans And Chimpanzees Traced To Diet." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080130092139.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, February 3). You Are What You Eat: Some Differences Between Humans And Chimpanzees Traced To Diet. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080130092139.htm
Public Library of Science. "You Are What You Eat: Some Differences Between Humans And Chimpanzees Traced To Diet." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080130092139.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) Gertjie the Rhino and Lammie the Lamb are teaching the world about animal conservation and friendship. TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) has the adorable video! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins