Saturday, November 21, 2009

150th anniversary of Darwin's Publication that changed they way we Think

One Hundred and fifty years ago Darwin published his famous book On the Origin of Species.. I am in the middle of reading Jerry Coyne's very good book 'Why Evolution is True". There is so much recent research and information contained in it that every one interested in evolution should read it.
On thing I learned and found really interesting is that all mammals except primates, guinea pigs and fruit eating bats are able to convert glucose into vitamin C. There are four stages in the process, but the fourth stage has been disabled through a mutation in the primates and the two other genera. However the mutation in primates is different from that of guinea pigs and fruit eating bats.It would be impossible for all the members of the primates to have exactly the same gene sequence disrupted in the same place except if it had occur ed in their common ancestor. It would be like hundreds of members of the same family getting the winning numbers in lotto on the same day .The reason put forward as to why this mutation spread so easily was that we no longer needed to manufacture vitamin C as there was sufficient in our diet. Only 75mg is needed to prevent scurvy.

I want to add my own story to this.I have been suffering from gout and discovered via theInternet that research strongly showed that high doses of Vitamin C reduced gout by reducing the uric acid. Now maybe we actually do need more Vitamin C than the 75mg and that if we could still manufacture Vitamin C there would always be sufficient to prevent gout.Vitamin C disappears very quickly, within hours, from the body so it has to be continuously replenished and if it was manufactured in the body from glucose there would always be an adequate supply and stay at a high level all the time.It seems that a mammal of the size of a human produces about 1200 gms. per day. However gout usually is associated with old age long after reproduction has taken place, so our inability to produce vitamin C would not have been selected against. There may also be many other problems associated with not being able to manufacture Vitamin C that we are at this stage unaware of.


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