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Human Adaptation Essay

Decent Essays
Human adaptation regarding food takes place through three primary mechanisms; genotypic, phenotype, and socio-cultural changes. Genotypic adaptation is one way in which people adapt to food, as form of genetic evolution. One explanation and example of genotypic evolution is the Thrifty Genotype Hypothesis. The Thrifty Genotype Hypothesis attempts to explain the variation in effects of Type II diabetes, particularly in modern Native/Indigenous peoples. The hypothesis gives reason to believe that the adaptation of high concentration of among native populations occurred to increase survival in times of feast or famine. It is thought that in times of subsistence hardship, through the process of natural selection, individuals with the ability…show more content…
Pastoralist societies prolong and adapt the gene for lactase beyond the age of weaning (Check, 2006; 994). Humans adapted to the particular food in their region. In order to ensure optimal fitness among East African groups, the evolution process, in terms of evolutional time, was extremely quick; between 3000-7000 years ago. The selective pressures presented in the pastoralist societies of the world make it impossible to live without the ability to absorb lactose; therefore it was beneficial to evolve rapidly. As in thrifty genotype, a lactose-intolerant person living in a culturally centered dairy foodway is at a disadvantage because the adaptation or lack there of becomes maladaptive. Furthermore, phenotypic adaptation falls into the category of people adapting to food. Phenotypic expressions of adaptation occur in the developmental stage; through differences between prenatal and postnatal environments, which can lead to diabetes and obesity in adulthood. In this case, the origins are limited to two or three generations as opposed to thousands of years of evolution as in genotypic—there is no change in biology of individuals. Maternal health, particularly under-nourished indicates a nutritionally restricted fetal environment; the fetus adapts to these conditions and increases its ability to store fat, preparing it for a postnatal environment similar to
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