Genetic Mutation Identified that Provides Better Resilience to Cold

According to a study from Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, one in five people has a genetic mutation that provides better resilience to cold because these individuals’ skeletal muscle comprises slow-twitch muscle fibers which provide better tolerance to low temperatures than fast-twitch muscle fibers.Genetic Mutation Identified that Provides Better Resilience to Cold

For the study, the scientists recruited 32 healthy men aged 18 to 40 and asked them to sit in 14 degrees Celsius water until their body temperature dropped to 35.5 C. Then, they measured the muscle electrical activity and took muscle biopsies of the volunteers to evaluate their protein content and fiber composition.

Lead researcher Håkan Westerblad, professor of cellular muscle physiology at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, says: “The mutation probably gave an evolutionary advantage during the migration to a colder climate, but in today's modern society this energy-saving ability might instead increase the risk of diseases of affluence, which is something we now want to turn our attention to.”

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