Human endurance and long-distance running may depend on a gene mutation that happened millions of years ago.
The more we understand the human genome, the more we understand why humans have certain abilities. According to Smithsonian magazine, the ability to run long distances and have the types of endurance humans and certain other animals have may be due to a gene mutation that happened two to three million years ago.
According to Popular Science’s Jillian Mock, the gene, known as CMAH, may be responsible for human endurance. A new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Academy B suggests that all humans share an innate propensity for long-distance running. Perhaps, this why marathon running is possible in humans and other animals as well.
Human Gene Mutation May Have Paved the Way for Long-Distance Running
Mice with engineered versions of the CMAH gene exhibited 30 percent better endurance than those without
By Meilan Solly Smithsonian.com September 18, 2018
On Sunday, Kenyan distance runner Eliud Kipchoge broke the world marathon record by 78 seconds, racing across a Berlin course in just 2:01:39. As Vernon Loeb notes for The Atlantic, this time translates to “26 straight, blazingly fast, 4-minute and 38-second miles.”
Kipchoge may be in a class of his own, but a new study published in the Royal Academy B Proceedings suggests that all humans share an innate propensity for long-distance running. These findings, based on research led by University of California San Diego cellular and molecular physician Ajit Varki, trace physical endurance to the cellular level, pinpointing a genetic mutation as one of the key factors in early hominids’ transition from forest dwellers to speedy, upright predators roaming the dry African savannah.