Document Detail

Evolution of human hypoxia tolerance physiology.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  10849647     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Analysis of human responses to hypobaric hypoxia in different lineages (lowlanders, Andean natives, Himalayan natives, and East Africans) indicates 'conservative' and 'adaptable' physiological characters involved in human responses to hypoxia. Conservative characters, arising by common descent, dominant and indeed define human physiology, but in five hypoxia response systems analyzed, we also found evidence for 'adaptable' characters at all levels of organization in all three high altitude lineages. Since Andeans and Himalayans have not shared common ancestry with East Africans for most of our species history, we suggest that their similar hypoxia physiology may represent the 'ancestral' condition for humans--an interpretation consistent with recent evidence indicating that our species evolved under 'colder, drier, and higher' conditions in East Africa where the phenotype would be simultaneously advantageous for endurance performance and for high altitude hypoxia. It is presumed that the phenotype was retained in low capacity form in highlanders and in higher capacity form in most lowland lineages (where it would be recognized by most physiologists as an endurance performance phenotype). Interestingly, it is easier for modern molecular evolution theory to account for the origin of 'adaptable' characters through positive selection than for conserved traits. Many conserved physiological systems are composed of so many gene products that it seems difficult to account for their unchanging state (for unchanging structure and function of hundreds of proteins linked in sequence to form the physiological system) by simple models of stabilizing selection.
P W Hochachka; C Monge
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Advances in experimental medicine and biology     Volume:  475     ISSN:  0065-2598     ISO Abbreviation:  Adv. Exp. Med. Biol.     Publication Date:  2000  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2000-10-03     Completed Date:  2000-10-03     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0121103     Medline TA:  Adv Exp Med Biol     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  25-43     Citation Subset:  IM; S    
Dept. of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
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MeSH Terms
Adaptation, Physiological
Anoxia / physiopathology*
Brain / metabolism
Diving / physiology
Models, Biological
Myocardium / metabolism
Physical Endurance / physiology

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