Those of us with allergic peanuts know how difficult it is to avoid around products containing peanuts.
Chocolate bars, cereal, fried foods, and even kissing someone who ate something containing peanuts could cause an allergic reaction.
But why do people have allergies?
We know that there is a reason for these types of allergies. We know why your throat closes and why it is difficult to breathe when you eat or inhale something against which you are allergic, and why you swell if some insects sting or bite you.
And it all started tens of thousands of years ago, when our ancestors came into contact with Neanderthals.
There is a very probable reason why people develop allergies at all. And it’s about our ancestors having sex with Neanderthals more than 40,000 years ago.
A 2014 study by the genetics company 23andMe believed that all non-African individuals carry between one to six percent Neanderthal DNA, and three genes especially in this DNA may be responsible for overly sensitive immune systems that make us susceptible to allergies.
But a 2016 study done by the American Journal of Human Genetics found it more likely that 2 percent of most people’s DNA came from sexual intercourse between humans and Neanderthals.
The 2014 study found that carriers of these three genes more often had hay fever, asthma, as well as other allergies.
Researchers theorize that the genes spread when pioneers who left Africa fell in love with Neanderthals living in Eurasia. Because Neanderthals have lived in this area for over 200,000 years, their immune systems have adapted to some new infections.
Janet Kelso, chief researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, said, “A small group of modern people leaving Africa would not carry much genetic variation. You can adapt by mutations, but if you cross with the local population. already there, you can get some of these adaptations for free. “
The researchers looked at the genomes of modern humans to see if Neanderthal DNA was present; they then looked at the communion between people from all over the world.
They found that two out of three immune system genes closely matched this DNA.
The 2016 study found that in addition to giving you allergies, the Neanderthal part of your DNA may actually help you fight disease.
Geneticists believe that there is a group of genes in our DNA that we inherited from Neanderthals, which is the first line of defense against dangerous pathogens that enter our body if these genes also affect people’s allergies.
Janet Kelso, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, said, “Increased resistance to bacterial infection has been beneficial, but may have resulted in a little more sensitivity to non-pathogenic allergens.”
These genes establish an innate immune response to pathogens that invade our bodies.
The innate immune response is the first line of defense our body has against disease. Usually it can destroy pathogens long before we realize we are even sick.
Since the Neanderthals introduced this response into human DNA, it has survived for so long because of natural selection and the idea of survival of the fittest.
So those who are not killed by the disease, those who have an innate immune response, can generate and transmit the genes. That is why we still see the reaction of Neanderthal genes in modern humans.
If you have developed allergies in your lifetime, you should thank your ancestors for it.
Editorial Note: This article was originally posted in January 2016 and has been updated with the latest information
Samantha Maffucci is the editor of YourTango, who has written hundreds of articles on relationships, trend news and entertainment and astrology. Visit her author profile for more content.