Monday, May 14, 2007

Human foraging activity

The nature podcast, (more sponsors less beer than the bayblab podcast) this week had an interesting piece on the evolution of a gene that is involved in foraging activity of drosophila. There are two isoforms and they maintain themselves in the population because if everyone else is a forager it is beneficial to stay where the food is. This gene is linked with other insect behaviors such as in honey bees and encodes a guanosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cGMP)-dependent protein kinase (PKG). I was really curious to see what the human behavioral equivalent to foraging was, I feel a bit like a forager. The closest human homologue is PRKG1 and actually has not been studied that much as only 6 papers show up on a pubmed search. One paper tries to establish a connection to attention deficit disorder and another to obesity. Both turn up negative, however that doesn't mean that this gene isn't going to turn up to be super important as evidenced by the fact that there is already a patent on this homologue. Also interestingly the polymorphism in the human homologue is in the 3'UTR.


Bayman said...

Very cool. Except those kids...that's just not cool. Interesting point on whether human social status is genetically programmed. My cortex and democratically biased upbringing make me instictively want to scream hell no, but who am I to say humans should are so special?