Southeast Asians Had Adaptive Genetic Resistance Capacity against Malaria 7000 Years Ago: New Study

In the 21st Century, malaria has affected around 8 million population in Southeast Asia. The presence of parasitic disease Malaria in this region has a long history.
Researchers have recently found that the ancient people of Pacific and Southeast Asia had a resistance capacity against Malaria around 7000 years ago. It was happened due to evolutionary biological and genetic adaptation by humans of Southeast Asia to Malaria. Forager and farmer communities of that time had some inherited disorders in their blood that are known as Thalassemias. It is a group of blood disorder-based diseases that give various stages of protection against malaria. The thalassemia genes were found in high occurrences. Statistically, they were detected in up to 75% of the people of Southeast Asia.

According to the scholars, Thalassemias evolve as an adaptive reply to malaria in the Mediterranean, Pacific, and Southeast Asia. Many theories said that the transition of the human subsistence economy from hunting-gathering to agriculture is the reason behind these biological adaptations by the human body during the Holocene epoch. The humans from these regions had come in contact with Anopheles mosquitos during the land clearance and farming activities. This change had influenced the selection for thalassemia.
Researchers have traced the presence of thalassemia in the macroscopic and minuscule skeletal remains from the northern regions of Vietnam. It comprises samples from hunter-gatherers and premature agricultural inhabitants of Vietnam.

South East Asia, Credits : Wikipedia


Scholars observe that thalassemia appeared before the beginning of agriculture in inland Southeast Asia around 7000 years ago. This theory suggests the presence of Malaria in this region before the beginning of agriculture. But, during the initial phase of agriculture, Malaria was at its peak.The research was conducted by the scholars of the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia, Institute of Archaeology, Hanoi, Vietnam, Sapporo Medical University, Sapporo, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, and College of Arts, Society & Education, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.

For the original research paper, click on Nature

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