Local darwinism in the Czech Republic

Scientists have found evidence that residents of Ostrava have built up a genetic resistance to the effects of air pollution


Evolution, as it is popularly conceived, is a snail’s-pace process in which each genetic tweak can take thousands of years. But a recent study from Prague’s Institute of Experimental Medicine has put that concept to the test. Scientists there found evidence that residents of the Czech city of Ostrava have built up a genetic resistance to the damaging effects of air pollution. Ostrava is one of Europe’s smoggiest urban centres, known for posting pollution levels four times higher than EU limits.

The study compared residents of Ostrava and Prague. Geneticist Pavel Rossner told the Telegraph that Ostrava residents had “higher expressions” of XRCC5, a gene that helps repair DNA that is damaged due to exposure to air pollution. “They are more able to repair the breaks in the DNA than people in Prague,” Rossner explained. That means, since the Industrial Revolution brought smokestacks and steel manufacturers to the area 150 years ago, people there have begun to adapt to their polluted environment. Their genes started to behave differently in a matter of decades, suggesting evolutionary developments don’t always move at a glacial pace.


Local darwinism in the Czech Republic

  1. That is wacky. So i guess its alright to pollute, because maybe we will adapt to it. Sweet!!!!! In a hundred or so years, we will be BEGGING for another Fukushima.


  2. This article frames the issue in terms of evolution. As far as Darwinian vertical evolution goes, it would require the addition of new information to the genetic code to qualify. This is not an addition to the genetic code. It is instead the operation of a built-in adaptive design feaure, epigenetics. The epigenetic mechanisms allow for (reversible) heritable adaptive up- or down-expression of certain genes. Completely different story altogether. This is not evolution by any means, simply an example of wonderful Design that allows us to horizontally adapt to a changing world.

    • How is Dr. Dino?  Has he been let out of Federal Prison yet?

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