Textbook Question
Chapter 39, Problem 3DAA

Human Adaptation to a Starchy Diet The human AMY-1 gene encodes salivary amylase, an enzyme that breaks down starch. The number of copies of this gene varies, and people who have more copies generally make more enzyme. In addition, the average number of AMY-1 copies differs among cultural groups.

George Perry and his colleagues hypothesized that duplications of the AMY-1 gene would be selectively advantageous in cultures in which starch is a large part of the diet. To test this hypothesis, the scientists compared the number of copies of the AMY-1 gene among members of seven cultural groups that differed in their traditional diets. FIGURE 39.9 shows their results.

Chapter 39, Problem 3DAA, Human Adaptation to a Starchy Diet The human AMY-1 gene encodes salivary amylase, an enzyme that

FIGURE 39.9 Number of copies of the AMY-1 gene among members of cultures with traditional high-starch or low-starch diets. The Hadza, Biaka, Mbuti, and Datog are tribes in Africa. The Yakut live in Siberia.

Do these data support the hypothesis that a starchy diet favors duplications of the AMY-1 gene?

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Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life (MindTap Course List)
Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life (MindTap Course List)
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  • Human Adaptation to a Starchy Diet The human AMY-1 gene encodes salivary amylase, an enzyme that breaks down starch. The number of copies of this gene varies, and people who have more copies generally make more enzyme. In addition, the average number of AMY-1 copies differs among cultural groups. George Perry and his colleagues hypothesized that duplications of the AMY-1 gene would be selectively advantageous in cultures in which starch is a large part of the diet. To test this hypothesis, the scientists compared the number of copies of the AMY-1 gene among members of seven cultural groups that differed in their traditional diets. FIGURE 39.16 shows their results. FIGURE 39.16 Number of copies of the AMY-1 gene among members of cultures with traditional high-starch or low-starch diets. The Hadza, Biaka, Mbuti, and Datog are tribes in Africa. The Yakut live in Siberia. 1. Starchy tubers are a mainstay of Hadza huntergatherers in Africa, whereas fishing sustains Siberia's Yakut. Almost 60 percent of Yakut had fewer than 5 copies of the AMY1 gene. What percentage of the Hadza had fewer than 5 copies?
    The human AMY-1 gene encodes salivary amylase, an enzyme that breaks down starch. The number of copies of this gene varies, and people who have more copies generally make more of the enzyme. In addition, the average number of AMY-1 copies differs among cultural groups. George Perry and his colleagues hypothesized that duplications of the AMY-1 gene would confer a selective advantage in cultures in which starch is a large part of the diet. To test this hypothesis, the scientists compared the number of copies of the AMY-1 gene among members of seven cultural groups that differed in their traditional diets. The Figure shows their results. Starchy tubers are a mainstay of Hadza hunter-gatherers in Africa, whereas fishing sustains Siberias Yakut. Almost 60% of Yakut had fewer than 5 copies of the AMY-1 gene. What percentage of the Hadza had fewer than 5 copies? FIGURENumber of copies of the AMY-1 gene among members of cultures with traditional high-starch or low-starch diets. Source: G. Perry et al. 2007. Diet and the evolution of human amylase gene copy number variation. Nature Genetics 39:12561260.
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