Tag Archives: lactase persistence

Bon Appetit Wednesday! Happy Holidays! Enjoy an Eggnog Courtesy of Your Ancestral Genes

Image courtesy of Reese Lloyd on Flickr.

Image courtesy of Reese Lloyd on Flickr.

Eggnog is a holiday beverage with a history and a taste that can’t be beat.  To really appreciate the roots of eggnog, we have to go back 7,500 years.  That was a period critical to the human species—or at least to those of us who indulge in dairy.  It was sometime during that period that humans in the region between the central Balkans and central Europe developed “lactase persistence.” Professor Mark Thomas of University College London (UCL) Genetics, Evolution and Environment says in a 2009 study, “Most adults worldwide do not produce the enzyme lactase and so are unable to digest the milk sugar lactose. However, most Europeans continue to produce lactase throughout their life, a characteristic known as lactase persistence. In Europe, a single genetic change (13,910*T) is strongly associated with lactase persistence and appears to have given people with it a big survival advantage.” Continue reading