Sexual selection by sugar molecule helped determine human origins

Aug 2010
17,765
Central Macedonia
Sexual selection by sugar molecule helped determine human origins (10/12/2011)

"Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say that losing the ability to make a particular kind of sugar molecule boosted disease protection in early hominids, and may have directed the evolutionary emergence of our ancestors, the genus Homo. The findings, published in this week's early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are among the first evidence of a novel link between cell surface sugars, Darwinian sexual selection, and immune function in the context of human origins."
 

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Ad Honorem
Sep 2010
3,736
USA
The scientists hypothesized that anti-Neu5Gc antibodies would target Neu5Gc-positive sperm or fetal tissues in early humans, kill them and thus reduce the chances of reproductive success.

"Over time, this incompatibility would reduce and then eliminate individuals with Neu5Gc," said Gagneux.
This is a good example of why selection mechanisms' affect on (human) evolution takes so darn long. Homo erectus lived between 1.8 million and 143,000 years ago.