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Thread: Allergies and genetics

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    Allergies and genetics

    Do people inherit a general tendency to allergies, or do they inherit tendencies to specific allergies? Does one inherit hay fever as opposed to eczema or food allergy?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    Do people inherit a general tendency to allergies, or do they inherit tendencies to specific allergies? Does one inherit hay fever as opposed to eczema or food allergy?
    Specific, in my family's cases.

    As with all things, it's not just genetic though. It's an interaction of inheritance and environmental factors. For instance, allergies with no prior family history are on the rise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    Do people inherit a general tendency to allergies, or do they inherit tendencies to specific allergies? Does one inherit hay fever as opposed to eczema or food allergy?
    I could be wrong, but I donít think you can inherit specific allergies. I think you can inherit a proclivity toward having type 1 reactions for example, meaning anaphylaxis, and there are common triggers of that, due to the nature of the antigens. Many people are hypersensitive to pollen, for example, not because they inherit the allergy (allergies are acquired in any case) but because pollen travels in the air and has proteins that can trigger allergies.


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    Added, lactose intolerance is not an allergy but reduction or lack of the enzyme to break down milk's sugar.

    The genes that aid post-weaning milk digestion (lactase persistence) are relative newcomers in humans, and still unevenly distributed across world populations. IIRC they only became widespread following the domestication of cattle.
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    Evolution on the timescale of a few hundred generations...cool!
    SHARKS (crossed out) MONGEESE (sic) WITH FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

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    Allergies and genetics

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    Evolution on the timescale of a few hundred generations...cool!
    Yes, as NCN wrote, lactose intolerance is not an allergy. Itís actually normal, and rather lactose tolerance is a trait unique to humans, and actually is an example of neoteny, which makes it more easy to acquire than new functions. So the trait already exists in mammalian infants, and usually it is lost but humans simply stopped losing the trait.

    ETA: And incidentally, that it why lactose tolerance is inherited.

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    Last edited by Jens; 2021-Apr-21 at 11:01 AM.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I could be wrong, but I donít think you can inherit specific allergies. I think you can inherit a proclivity toward having type 1 reactions for example, meaning anaphylaxis, and there are common triggers of that, due to the nature of the antigens. Many people are hypersensitive to pollen, for example, not because they inherit the allergy (allergies are acquired in any case) but because pollen travels in the air and has proteins that can trigger allergies.
    Yes, the thing that has a genetic component is called atopy, the proclivity to develop allergic diseases. The word is a useful search term. Its inheritance is a mess of multiple genes, with its expression modulated by environmental exposure.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    Evolution on the timescale of a few hundred generations...cool!
    The alleles that can cause the body to make more lactase enzyme (there are several varieties) might have occurred many times in human existence but had no real survival value until mammal milk became reliably available as a food source. Hunters generally avoid killing mothers with young offspring, so it would have been a rarity in the adult diet in the Paleolithic, leaving no driver for that trait to be conserved.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Yes, as NCN wrote, lactose intolerance is not an allergy. It’s actually normal, and rather lactose tolerance is a trait unique to humans, and actually is an example of neoteny, which makes it more easy to acquire than new functions. So the trait already exists in mammalian infants, and usually it is lost but humans simply stopped losing the trait.

    ETA: And incidentally, that it why lactose tolerance is inherited.

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    Lactose tolerance is especially found in those peoples who migrated northwards into colder climes and survival was improved by the keeping of sheep and cows for their milk. We hear a lot about gluten intolerance and the rarer condition of an allergy, and then there are peanuts. Allergy to peanuts presumably does not predate the ubiquitous supply of peanuts. This suggests we do acquire allergies. A friend of mine once predicted that we would buy “good dust” to spread in our houses when we have infants around in order to challenge their immune system in an otherwise over clean environment. I wonder if his prediction will come true?
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    My family has a variety of allergies; foods, medications, latex, even a certain laundry detergent. But each individual has a different set of triggers.

    NOTE: I posted above that it was "specific", I guess I should have been clearer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    <snip> A friend of mine once predicted that we would buy “good dust” to spread in our houses when we have infants around in order to challenge their immune system in an otherwise over clean environment. I wonder if his prediction will come true?
    I do not know if there is scientific evidence for this idea, but I have heard people advocate getting pets and having your kids play outdoors more for this reason (early exposure to things to challenge their immune systems).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I do not know if there is scientific evidence for this idea, but I have heard people advocate getting pets and having your kids play outdoors more for this reason (early exposure to things to challenge their immune systems).
    Yes, the evidence seems to support the "old friends" hypothesis (rather than the "hygiene hypothesis"), it's now said. We may be depriving children of the opportunity to develop a diverse gut biome at the critical age during which their immune systems are sorting out what's OK to tolerate and what needs to be attacked.

    Grant Hutchison

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    I believe one gene cluster on a certain chromosome is tied to food allergies, the allergy genes can be influential. Others will tell you genetic and family history isn’t always a 100% completely reliable predictor in determining if or when someone will develop childhood or adult allergies. There is the theory that sometimes a little bad stuff exposure is good for you, take for example the prison population scene, people in close contact but their immune system is jacked up from being around other people, there were 2,000 + prisoners tested positive but only 12 - 14 died was this because their immune system is more ready to deal with stuff, perhaps more 'alert'? The genes play a role, for example development of eczema, an allergic skin disease, is related to a mutation of a specific chromosome within the human body. You will find the blood heritage, the ethnic family lines and genetics play a big role in a person’s chances of developing allergic symptom, there often has been been a familial association, meaning many people in one family are also 'allergic'. I believe it can sometimes be a roll of the dice, people have carriers and not all children born into 'allergic families' will develop allergies some will develop the same allergy as the parents, and some children with no family history of allergies will develop an allergic condition. Some people believe our foods are getting worse more artificial and less organic and this in turn they believe causes problems, health foods are becoming bigger sellers away from the chemical sprays or some strange unhealthy artificial additive in the foods, no definitive answers to the increasing prevalence of food allergies over the last 3 decades. There is the you are what you eat theory, postulated on premises of hygiene, antioxidants, and dietary fats, a complaint that Western Diets became less healthy among others. There were warnings about what foods you eat and development of food allergies may be seen in those with genetic susceptibility. I dont really know the answer, admitted I'm no expert but there are people here who have doctor and biology studies and can better answer.

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