Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Significance of milk in development of culture to be studied

The capacity to drink and tolerate milk may have been of tremendous importance for the cultural development of Europe. In a major EU project, being launched today and coordinated by Uppsala University in Sweden, researchers will now study when and where this capacity emerged and what it entailed.

Lactose tolerance, which provides the ability to drink milk as an adult, varies across countries. In Scandinavia, excluding Finland, it is widely disseminated. Most of us tolerate dairy products without any problems. The question of just where this ability arose and how it spread has spawned various theories.

By gathering 15 research teams with different specializations in genetics, organic chemistry, and archeology, it will hopefully now be possible to find out what the truth really is.

“The oldest pottery shards shown to contain milk were found in southeastern Europe, more precisely in what today is northeastern Greece. We believe that the mutation once grew common there and then became fundamental to the development of agrarian culture,” says Anders Götherstam, who will be coordinating the project.

The researchers will follow the tracks of milk throughout Europe, making use of a model for the spread of genes in order to follow the dissemination of the mutation. In this model the frequency of the mutation increases along the ‘frontline’ of the dissemination¬-that is, we in Scandinavia, on the periphery, should thus have the highest frequency of the specific gene.

“Mutations can be selected negatively or positively throughout evolution and history. But no other mutation seems to have had so positive a selection in the last ten thousand years as the one that creates lactose tolerance.”

The project, which is starting this week and involves 13 universities in Europe, is receiving €3.3 million for four years, which will also fund educational efforts. The other research teams come from Stockholm, the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, Germany, France, and Denmark. A kick-off conference will take place in York on September 13–15.

“This funding will tie these research teams tightly together, which will result in lots of new research and new interpretations,” says Anders Götherstam.

Anneli Waara | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>