Could there be a vegetarian gene?
Cornell researchers describe a genetic variation that has evolved in populations that have historically favored vegetarian diets, such as in India, Africa and parts of East Asia.
A different version of this gene (called an allele) adapted to a marine diet was discovered among the Inuit in Greenland, who mainly consume seafood.
The vegetarian allele evolved in populations that have eaten a plant-based diet over hundreds of generations. The adaptation allows these people to efficiently process omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and convert them into compounds essential for early brain development and controlling inflammation. In populations that live on plant-based diets, this genetic variation provided an advantage and was positively selected in those groups.
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