Gene therapy has to do with viruses
Adeno-associated virus (AAV) mediated gene therapy has emerged as a promising treatment modality for a variety of genetic disorders. Utilizing AAV vectors, which are known for their low immunogenicity and high efficiency in delivering genetic material, this approach aims to introduce, remove, or change genetic material within an individual's cells to treat or prevent disease.
LCT Gene Variations and Lactose Tolerance
The LCT gene plays a crucial role in our ability to digest lactose, the primary sugar found in milk. Across the world's population, there are different versions of the LCT gene, and these variations determine how well an individual can digest lactose throughout their life.
The ability to digest lactose varies widely across global populations. For instance, lactose tolerance is more common in populations with a long history of cattle domestication and dairy consumption, such as Northern Europeans. In contrast, lactose intolerance is more prevalent in East Asian, African, and Native American populations.
Thousands of years ago, most humans became lactose intolerant after infancy. This is because, in nature, mammals typically only consume milk during infancy. However, with the domestication of cattle and the consumption of milk beyond infancy, certain populations underwent genetic changes. These changes allowed them to produce the lactase enzyme, which breaks down lactose, throughout their lives.
Lactose Tolerance for a Lifetime
Some variations of the LCT gene enable continuous lactase production, allowing individuals to digest lactose throughout their entire lives. The primary genetic variant associated with this lifelong lactose tolerance is the "-13910*T allele" located near the LCT gene. This adaptation is believed to have evolved in populations where dairy farming became a significant food source.
Decreasing Lactase Production After Infancy
The more traditional version of the LCT gene leads to a reduction in lactase production after infancy. This means that as individuals with this gene variation grow older, their ability to digest lactose diminishes, leading to lactose intolerance in adulthood.
In summary, the variations in the LCT gene across different populations reflect our evolutionary history and dietary adaptations. As humans adapted to their environments and available food sources, specific genetic changes occurred, influencing our ability to digest lactose throughout life.
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