The Americas and Oceania are absent from Figure 1 as populations from these regions never developed dairying cultures and the resulting ability to digest lactose.
This difference in lactose tolerance across regions is due to differences in the presence of a singular genetic mutation.
This is shown in Figure 1, which plots historical lactose tolerance frequencies for the Old World (Europe, Asia and Africa). Country-level lactase persistence frequencies across the Old World.
Darker areas represent more lactase persistent populations.
Finally, the consumption of milk increased a woman’s fertility.
The infertility period after giving birth is associated with lactation.And while it’s not likely milk consumption Justin Cook is an assistant professor of economics at the University of California-Merced.His research focuses on the role of genetic differences in explaining economic outcomes.And given the high frequency of lactose tolerance associated with European countries, milk consumption may have contributed to Europe’s colonization of most of the world starting in the late 15th century.One might assume, however, that the association between lactose tolerance and historic economic development is driven solely by a Europe versus the rest of the world effect. When omitting all European countries from the sample, the same positive relationship between the frequency of lactase persistence and historic economic development remains.By examining the historic effects of milk consumption, measured by a population’s ability to digest lactose, we can understand the Neolithic Revolution’s impact on economic development.Lactose Tolerance The ability to digest lactose, a sugar found within milk, is the textbook example of a recent genetic adaptation to different agricultural practices.Justin Cook is an assistant professor of economics at the University of California-Merced.In his paper, “The role of lactase persistence in pre-colonial development,” Cook explains that the transition to agriculture produced genetic adaptations, such as lactose tolerance, which led to measurable improvements in economic and health outcomes. — Kristen Doerer, Making Sen$e Editor Could milk consumption have contributed to Europe’s colonization of most of the world during the 16th century?Yet, after accounting for a number of controls intended to capture the overall numbers of domesticated animals, the previously found association between milk consumption and historic economic development remains. Did milk consumption lead to Europe’s colonization of most of the world?Lactase persistence’s robust relationship with precolonial population density suggests that milk consumption shaped economic development during a crucial time.