How can saliva indicate evolution?

Scientists, in a recent study, tested the saliva of five primates (including humans) for the MUC7 gene, which could give us deep insights into evolutionary paths.

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Have you ever wondered why saliva is so sticky? The answer lies in the MUC7 gene.

In this study, the researchers used the theory of tandem repeats and studied the changes in DNA of the same gene over different primates, possibly indicating the direction of evolution. It is known that DNA evolves over time, so as to become better suited to the immediate environment.

Here are some possible research questions:

  • How did the gene evolve to help the later primates, including humans?
  • Can we manufacture proteins similar to the ones in human saliva?
  • What are the properties of human saliva?

Xu, D., Pavlidis, P., Thamadilok, S., Redwood, E., Fox, S., Blekhman, R., Ruhl, S., & Gokcumen, O. (2016). Recent evolution of the salivary mucin MUC7 Scientific Reports, 6 DOI: 10.1038/srep31791

36 thoughts on “How can saliva indicate evolution?”

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