The Asian-Caucasoid PUFA dichotomy


Mar 15, 2014
The allele frequencies of fat-related SNPs almost always fit the following gradient:
African > Indian > European > Chinese > Thai > Siberian

If you're familiar w/me you know I make a lot of posts about genetics. I look at SNP databases just for fun sometimes, and over time I've realized that most fat-related SNPs follow a spectrum of African-Asian. A similar pattern emerges with TLR SNPs as well. I may make a separate thread for that.
(And btw "Chinese" includes Japan+Korea, "Thailand" = Southeast Asians, I just want to refrain from using verbose and vague directional terms like "East Asian" which can mean basically anything)

I'm not completely sure what is going on here, and I want to find out the nature of this difference, and evolutionary reasons for it. I will use this thread as a repository for posts about individual SNPs.

For those who don't know, gene =stretch of DNA. SNP = particular 1 letter spot. Allele = which letter that spot has

So the FADS1 gene determines various fat metabolism traits. An SNP on this gene is one single letter. The allele of this SNP is the "one or other" letter that it has: it can be a C (which links with a G on the mirror side), or it can be T (links with an A).

An allele frequency is simply the % people who have the allele in a given ethnicity or other population.
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Thread starter
Mar 15, 2014
First post is rs174546

Asian allele = Triglycerides fall with fish oil consumption
African allele = no effect

Asian allele = no effect
African allele = high total and LDL cholesterol when eating ω3. high HDL cholesterol when eating ω6.

Asian allele = no effect
African allele = higher Arachidonic acid, higher ω6 PUFA in general, higher FADS1 activity

Asian allele = lower total and LDL cholesterol when eating ALA
African allele = no effect

Asian allele = no effect
African allele = develops asthma when eating margarine (homozygotes only)
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Sep 24, 2016
I don’t find those findings surprising at all. Dwellers of different environments underwent millenia or more of adaption. It sure has metabolic implications

Thanks fir diving deeper and sharing that topic @Ivysaur

Would you mind to spoiler some broad Themes of your insights? Who fares better with which fats and who probably doesn’t tolerate whicv fats too well?


Thread starter
Mar 15, 2014
I don’t find those findings surprising at all. Dwellers of different environments underwent millenia or more of adaption. It sure has metabolic implications
Well, obviously people evolved differently. The surprising thing is not that there's difference, but that the difference follows this specific pattern.
A pattern where cool clime Europoids are dissimilar to fellow cool clime Asians, and instead closer to tropical Indians and Africans.

The Indian relation can be chalked up to common "Caucasoid" DNA, but the African relation cannot. The broad pattern is:
African > Caucasoid > Mongoloid
In essence, Europeans are counterintuitively more "African" than people from Southeast Asia and even Papua--at least regarding fat metabolism.
This is extra counterintuitive because Europeans and especially Indians are closer to Chinese/Asia in terms of total DNA.

This implies that it actually has nothing to do with your "different environments" at all, at least in the way you might be thinking--little to do with climate directly.

Would you mind to spoiler some broad Themes of your insights? Who fares better with which fats and who probably doesn’t tolerate whicv fats too well?

I used to think that fat and sugar followed climate. Tropical people should eat less PUFA, and less total fat. Northern people should eat less sugar and more animal protein.

But I no longer think much of that is true, or if it is it has a very subtle importance. For instance, Europeans do have higher sugar intolerance--but the overall rate is still 0.01% and it's only a "trace" of a cold climate adaptation.

I think it is very likely that Mongoloid peoples, have a higher resistance to PUFAs overall. Both ω3 AND ω6. There are multiple lines of reasoning I have:
- actual Asian taste preferences are geared toward high seafood and egg yolks
- chickens (and thus eggs) domesticated in SEAsia
- soybeans, enough said
- rice farming gives you free fish/frogs from the paddies. wheat farming doesn't.
- I go to Korean stores, Koreans love Mackerel. I absolutely hate it, and most westerners I know hate it. Yet it is a repeated common delicacy in Korea, Japan, etc. Obviously this is a high ω3 fish.

On the Afro-Caucasoid side:
- their cuisines emphasize sugar and dairy
- Europeans specifically, and to a lesser extent others, have genetic sweet tooth. Asians do not: rs838133 - SNPedia
- milk is the only animal food to lack Arachidonate
- their cuisines do not emphasize seafood, many of them actively avoid seafood (USA)
- cuisines emphasize red meat: ruminants are the only animal meat with low Arachidonate

I suspect that most Afro-Caucasoids will suffer if they try to eat the "Mongoloid" diet. But I am not sure the converse is true--that Mongoloids will suffer from eating the AC diet.

Another thing is that it could be the case that "races" may have wildly different environmental origins than what is commonly thought. For example, it may be the case that Asians are "fundamentally" cold adapted, and so they retain the genes for eating cold ω3 fish, even after migrating down to Thailand and spending 20,000+ years there. And vice versa with Europeans.

As always these are all trends and generalities and what matters is the individual's genetics.
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