Our paper on selection of a "vegetarian allele" piqued the interest of many in the media

Our recent paper on selection of a "vegetarian allele" has been widely reported. As of July 22nd, 2016, our paper has received an altmetric score of 726, ranked in top 1% of about 5 million publications tracked by Altmetric. See our "In the Media" page for a list of reports. In collaboration with the research group of Dr. Tom Brenna, we showed that a 22-bp insertion within gene FADS2 has adaptive signals in Africans, South Asians, and some East Asians, populations traditionally relying on vegetarian diet. This 22-bp insertion is also associated with higher metabolic capacity for arachidonic acid, a key omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid involving in brain function and inflammation-related signaling. Very interestingly, connecting to a previous study, we indirectly showed that the opposite allele, the one without the 22-bp insertion, is likely adaptive in Greenlandic Inuits, who traditionally residing on marine diet. That is, the opposite allele could be a "seafood allele"! To read the details of our study, you can find it here on Molecular Biology and Evolution.

A careful complied list of reports are here: MBE press releaseCornell ChronicleMotherboardThe Washington PostScienceDailyResearchGateDiscoveryThe MetroThe IndependentWired UKNational PostredorbitThe HinduDNA IndiaNutrition WonkStar TribuneThis Week in SciencegenomewebThe Denver PostHealth News ReviewKQED ScienceFood InsightLe Monde in Frenchwochit NewsBusiness Insider, The Huffington PostThe Cornell Daily SunBIOTECH PRESSTECH InsiderCBS News

Unfortunately, this study has often been described erroneously in the media, with many misleading stories. We therefore release a video compilating responses by Dr. Alon Keinan to TV interviews. We hope this video will help straighten up what the study has shown, as well as what it hasn't shown.


Compilation of responses by Alon Keinan to TV interviews

min:sec Question answered
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00:07 Let's start from the end, tell me me the bottom line of the study
00:42 Is it good or bad to be a vegetarian?
2:32 Now let's get to the beginning. What did your study find?
6:46 How old is the mutation? when it occurred?
7:26 What about natural selection then? Is this mutational adaptive in modern humans?
9:07 Was this important gene studied before for signs of adaptation? You mentioned something about Inuit when we talked before.
11:57 What is so unique in this type of selection?
12:38 You said you should stick to the diet consumed by your ancestors. What then do a European American that decided to be a vegetarian should do?
13:21 So from a population genetics viewpoint and a genomics kind of viewpoint, why is this, why is your research so exciting and groundbreaking?
15:58 What would you say is the main take away from your study?