> The behavior influences the evolution

so says the well-known geneticist Italian Luca Cavalli-Sforza, who has taught for 35 years at the prestigious Stanford University in the Us, and openà the Congress of the Società italiana di psiconeuroendocrinoimmunologia (Sipnei), held in Rome from 24 to 26 October, with a lecture on ‘Genes and culture: the role of behaviour in human evolution’.

in The example, the più known to affect the gene that controls the production of the enzyme that digests lactose. It is known that especially in central and southern Italy, many people are lactose intolerant, accusing numerous disorders. The fact is that in man, as in all mammals, after the second year of life, the gene stops working: the enzyme is not più the product and the lactose is not digested.

But we know that, for example, almost 100 percent of the inhabitants of the scandinavian peninsula has the enzyme is also active in età adult. “This circumstance is the result of one or more mutations at particular points in the genome that have allowed, in an era of relatively old (about 13,000 years ago) and in areas with scarcity; food, feeding a rich source of calories and nutrients like milk,” explains Cavalli Sforza in a note.

“This proves,” concludes the scientist – the validityà of the theory of natural selection (only individuals with the mutation in favour have survived in environments with a scarcity; of food, and plenty of milk), and also that a behavior (deciding to consume the milk of animals raised) può to conduct biological evolution”.

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But the Congress will parlerà also other themes. For example, recently a group of psychiatrists of the Università of Maryland in Baltimore, coordinated by Teodor T. Postolache, has published on the ‘Current Treatment Options Neurology’ studies that link depression to seasonal allergy. “These works,” explains Francesco Bottaccioli, responsible for the scientific programme of the congress – show that the an inflammation of the device, caused by an allergy, può enter into circulation and the cytokines, inflammatory substances produced by the immune system triggered by the allergy itself, that reach the brain and increase the aqueous black”.

an update of the studies on inflammation and its relationship with the brain (sleep included) is in a dedicated session of the Congress. Among the speakers present at the meeting in rome Pier Luigi Luisi, biophysical of the università di Roma Tre; Massimo Biondi, psychiatrist of the Sapienza university of Rome; Marcello Buiatti, a geneticist at the Università di Firenze, and Claudio Franceschi, immunologist of the Università di Bologna, and a scholar of the genetics of aging.

Page published on 13 October 2008