Friday, 2 July 2010

The Tibetans

Apparently, the fastest genetic change happened amongst Tibetans. The genes of Tibetans have evolved quicker than other humans in order to adapt to life at a high altitude on the Himalayan plateau; ‘mountain natives altered their genetic make-up in less than 3,000 years.’

Many Tibetans live today as refugees all over the world but especially in countries such as India, Nepal, Britain, America and, Switzerland. Their love of Buddhism travels with them.


  1. Hello Nobby ... that's very interesting. I read the link you posted on MyT but as I still can't make comments there I thought I'd add this link from earlier studies ..

    I wondered about the population of the Andes and their adaptation to living at high altitude over probably at least 12,ooo years.
    If I've understood correctly it seems that a higher mortality rate among the Tibetan people accelerated genetic changes in adaptation to the conditions.

    Majestic video .. such awe-inspiring mountains.

  2. Thanks Marya. Here is a link which sheds more light on the subject:

  3. "According to the study, “Life at high altitudes forced ancient Tibetans to undergo the fastest evolution ever seen in humans.” Not an accolade you hear every day.

    The study compared the genetic make-up of a group of Tibetans and Han Chinese, and found that the Tibetans had DNA mutations that let them better use oxygen. The gene helps regulate the body's response to a low-oxygen environment. The mutated alleles occur in only nine percent of the Han, but were present in 87 percent of all Tibetans.

    This mutated alleles are often called the “super-athlete gene,” because of their association with better athletic performance. In light of China’s showing -- or lack thereof -- at this year’s World Cup, maybe they should start looking more at their Tibetan citizens?

    Noting this genetic difference, scientists found that the people we now know as Tibetans split off from their common Han ancestor only 2,750 years ago."