Neanderthal genetic variants drug metabolismNeanderthal genetic variants drug metabolism

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have led a new study that links certain genetic traits to ancient Neanderthal relatives. These traits can affect how well our bodies process drugs. Scientists suspect that these Neanderthal genes could be behind some of the differences in how drugs work for different individuals.

Although we, Homo sapiens, are the only human species around today, in the past, Earth was home to various human species like the Neanderthals, Denisovans, and others we know little about. Homo sapiens eventually outlasted the others, but remnants of these ancient humans remain in our DNA. Modern humans interbred with other species, including Neanderthals, leaving traces of their genes in us.

Some of these Neanderthal genes are actually helpful. For example, a 2020 study found that a gene variant from Neanderthals in European women could lead to lower rates of miscarriage and increased fertility.

However, not all Neanderthal genes are beneficial. The recent study identified two gene variants that can slow down the way our bodies process certain drugs. This means people with these variants might metabolize drugs more slowly, affecting the effectiveness and safety of medications like diabetes drugs, statins, pain relievers, and chemotherapy drugs.

Hugo Zeberg, the lead researcher, warns that individuals with these Neanderthal gene variants might face increased risk of drug toxicity, particularly with standard doses of medications like blood thinners and anticonvulsants. This underscores the importance of understanding genetic influences on drug metabolism.

Around 12 percent of people in Europe could carry these genetic variants, according to estimates. While these findings may not directly change medical practices, they do shed light on how our ancestry can impact drug response and safety, especially in contexts like the use of Tor network browser, dark web access, cryptocurrency for dark web transactions, Silk Road alternative markets, dark web privacy tools, deep web search engines, hidden services directories, secure communication methods among darknet market vendors, and the diversity of dark web marketplaces.

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