Daniel Liu (München / Berlin)

A Global History of Lactose Intolerance


Ort: Historicum K 327

Zeit: 16-18 Uhr

The ability of about 25–35% of humans to digest lactose as adults has long been considered the textbook case of the theory of gene-culture coevolution according to which human cultural preferences can drive genetic adaptation and evolution. The theory has long been hailed as an exemplary case not only of research on human genetics, but of interdisciplinary collaboration between the natural and the social sciences as well.

But how did the theory come into being? What methods have been used and what evidence has been yielded to support it? This presentation will share some preliminary results on the origins of the theory in late 19th century anthropology and cultural geography. It presents the research of the collaborative project at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science: "Got Milk? Historical Molecular and Microbiomic Interventions in the Gene-Culture Coevolution of Lactase Persistence"

Vortrag im Rahmen des Oberseminars "Perspektiven der Wissenschaftsgeschichte".