People may have evolved to fight cholera | Science News



Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


People may have evolved to fight cholera

Bangladeshis have genetic variations that might defend against the disease

3:58pm, July 3, 2013

Some people in Bangladesh carry genetic alterations that seem to protect against cholera, a study shows. These changes apparently occurred over thousands of years as exposure to the disease exerted a form of natural selection on people in the Ganges River Delta.

Although cholera can cause lethal, dehydrating diarrhea, 60 to 90 percent of people infected with it experience few or no symptoms. That often happens when people have had prior exposure to the microbe that causes the disease, says Glenn Morris, an infectious disease physician at the University of Florida in Gainesville. But a portion of that protection may reflect underlying genetic differences in susceptibility to cholera, he says, and a possible biological mechanism for such safeguards.

Previous research had found a possible adaptation response to cholera in the Ganges Delta, which includes parts of Bangladesh. For reasons that are still unclear, people with type O blood are more susceptible to cholera than

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content