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A Chat about Lactase

by Ophious

Ophious So for Bio, I had to read this article called "With dairy, Europeans became merry" and then had to write up a conversation I would have with my friend about this article. So here it is.
Want to hear something interesting I read about in an article that was given to me in Bio? Ha, too bad I don't care how you feel I need you to listen anyway, so shush and list to me, its story time. Did you know that in the past everyone was lactose intolerant? Like not the false kind nowadays where someone will say that they are, only to start chugging down milk 2 days later but the kind where the body can't digest it and they would suffer diarrhea and bloat afterward, neat right? But here's the cool part, apparently there was a mutation in our genome that solved that problem. Okay so back then milk and cheese were a big thing that was needed because it gave people energy and protein that prevented starvation because they were available even after crop failures, droughts, and floods! So being able to drink it withing dying, because diarrhea was basically a death sentence to some back then, was a huge advantage. It was through a process of Natural Selection, y'know the idea of nature letting only the strong live on, anyhow in the DNA a gene of ours experienced a mutation that led to the creation of lactase, the thing that digests lactose in our body, in a few people already. Earl Brown from the University of Ottawa said something about how the gene was probably a mutation that popped up occasionally in a small number all along. It's like how some cars have 5 wheels, 4 where they are supposed to be and one just hanging on the back as a decoration. You don't need the 5th one but it is nice to have. Then one day, all the cars in the world suddenly had one tire blow up and now that useless decorative 5th wheel became an evolutionary advantage. And because lactase was so useful it kept on being passed on through generations and finally Bada Bing Bada boom, we can all drink milk and eat cheese without dying in the bathroom.