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Cultures of dairying: gene-culture-microbiome evolution and the ancient invention of dairy foods

Descrizione del progetto

Analisi dell’associazione tra persistenza di lattasi e microbi nelle colture lattiero-casearie

L’origine e il ruolo della produzione lattiera nelle società umane primitive sono poco conosciuti. Fino all’età adulta, poche popolazioni umane sono in grado di digerire il lattosio contenuto nel latte (persistenza di lattasi), mentre la maggior parte degli esseri umani adulti ha una capacità ridotta di digerire questo zucchero del latte. La persistenza di lattasi è stata considerata un classico esempio di co-evoluzione gene-cultura. Tuttavia, l’associazione tra persistenza di lattasi e fenotipi di intolleranza al lattosio è variabile e sempre più prove indicano il ruolo dei microbi nelle economie preistoriche di produzione del latte. Concentrandosi sulla Mongolia, un paese in cui la dieta comprende in gran parte prodotti lattiero-caseari, il progetto DAIRYCULTURES, finanziato dall’UE, applicherà tecniche innovative in materia di genomica per identificare le origini del bestiame da latte locale e testare le ipotesi sulla connessione tra microbioma intestinale, digestione del lattosio e genotipi di persistenza di lattasi.

Obiettivo

Summary: Dairy products are nutritional resources of global economic importance, and their emergence in prehistory marks a major shift in human dietary ecology. However, basic questions regarding the origins and role of dairying in early human societies remain poorly understood. It is now known that adult hypolactasia (the inability to digest milk sugar) is an ancestral human trait, and that relatively few human populations have genetic variants that allow continued milk digestion into adulthood, a trait known as lactase persistence (LP). The rise of LP has been regarded as a classic example of gene-culture evolution; however, the association between LP and lactose intolerance phenotypes is variable, and LP genotypes do not consistently appear in the archaeological record until more than 5,000 years after the origins of dairying. This has left archaeologists with a puzzling problem, a “milk paradox” regarding how and why ancient peoples developed milk into a dietary resource, how the Bronze Age steppe migrations contributed to the spread of dairying across Eurasia, and what other factors besides LP may have been involved this process. There is now a growing body of evidence that microbes have played important, yet overlooked, roles in the successful establishment of prehistoric dairying economies. This study seeks to answer fundamental questions about the prehistory of dairying by focusing on Mongolia, a country where as much as 80% of the rural diet derives from dairy products, and where dairying has been practiced for more than 3,500 years. Specifically, cutting-edge genomics techniques will be used to identify the origins of Mongolian dairy livestock, proteomics techniques will be used to refine methods for detecting milk proteins in archaeological Mongolian dental calculus, and metagenomics techniques will be used to test hypotheses regarding the relationship between the gut microbiome, lactose digestion, and LP genotypes in nomadic Mongolian dairy herders.

Meccanismo di finanziamento

ERC-STG - Starting Grant

Istituzione ospitante

MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN EV
Contribution nette de l'UE
€ 1 499 988,00
Indirizzo
HOFGARTENSTRASSE 8
80539 Munchen
Germania

Mostra sulla mappa

Regione
Bayern Oberbayern München, Kreisfreie Stadt
Tipo di attività
Research Organisations
Collegamenti
Costo totale
€ 1 499 988,00

Beneficiari (1)