North indigenous peoples cope better with infections

North indigenous peoples cope better with infections

February 28, 2024

The reasons for this are the natural habitat and less access to civilization benefits.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The North Medical Problems Research Institute’s employees studied the genetic features characteristic of the Russian Arctic’s population and helping to resist infectious diseases in particular.

Scientists were interested in the genes responsible for the so-called innate immunity, which differs from acquired immunity. By analyzing the frequency of manifestation of such genes in the Dolgans, Nganasans, and Nenets populations and comparing these data with information about the Russian population of Siberians, the researchers understood why representatives of one ethnic group are less susceptible to certain diseases than representatives of another.

Experts explained why the indigenous people of the North cope better with infections, while the Caucasians living here are more successful in resisting diseases of non-infectious origin. It turns out that the whole point is in the activity of certain populations of lectin proteins – molecules that recognize foreign elements in the body and trigger the process of their destruction, they said at the Krasnoyarsk Scientific Center of the RAS’s Siberian Branch.

According to scientists, it is the activity of such proteins that provides the indigenous peoples of the Arctic with powerful protection in the form of innate immunity from the first days of life.

Researchers note that the relatively low level of lectin proteins, for example, in Caucasians, is probably associated with greater pharmaceutical and hygienic protection than among indigenous northerners who have not been spoiled by civilization.

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Text: Polina Bardik, Photo: Severny Gorod MC

February 28, 2024

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