Feeds

Cheese eaters are mutants

Coders digest. Or not...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The ability to digest milk, cheese and other dairy products is mostly down to your ethnicity, according to researchers at Cornell University. Northern Europeans are far more likely to have a genetic mutation that allows them to digest milk, than are those from Africa, or Asia, the team found.

In a study looking at the prevalence of lactose intolerance, the scientists discovered that people from cultures with a strong dairy farming tradition, incidences were as low at two per cent of the population. But those whose families hail from regions of extreme temperatures, where farming is difficult and animals are carriers of many diseases, close to 100 per cent of people were unable to digest milk properly.

To digest milk, you need to produce the enzyme lactase. Virtually all human infants can make lactase, for rather obvious reasons, but only genetic mutants continue producing it into adulthood. The mutation is particularly rare in Asian and African populations, but very common among Northern Europeans. In total, the study found that around 61 per cent of the global population is lactose intolerant.

"The implication is that harsh climates and dangerous diseases negatively impact dairy herding and geographically restrict the availability of milk, and that humans have physiologically adapted to that," commented lead researcher Paul Sherman, a professor of neurobiology and behaviour at Cornell.

But what of the implications for the technology industry? Coders are almost required by law to chow down on Pizza. Google even uses the cheesily-topped snack as part of its effort to harvest the best engineers from the US's universities.

But now we know that through no fault of their own (beyond choice of parents, and really, how much say do you get in that?) not everyone can digest milk, the accessibility of tolerable junk food becomes a matter of equal opportunities. How long before the first constructive dismissal case is launched? "They kept feeding me Pizza. I couldn't work because it made me sick..."

After all, if a company is supplying free food, doesn't it have an obligations to make sure all genetic predispositions are catered for?

One possible approach would be to merely accelerate the outsourcing trend, and only employ programmers native to a particular region so that the junk food is naturally suitable. However, this is likely to come under fire from racial equality campaigners, and rightly so.

But then are we going to see companies specialising in lactose tolerant or intolerant employees as a method of keeping the pizza bills low? Will there be mandatory genetic testing for prospective employees? Will specialist companies spring up to import junk food more suitable for the pizza-intolerant?

The researchers at Cornell may not realise it, but this study has opened up a whole can of worms. Speaking of which, can we offer you a worm? Or would you prefer a pizza? ®

Related stories

Gamers get greater access to pizza
Google to Wall St: our CFO couldn't make it. So meet the Chef
Ordering Pizza in 2019

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Thirteen Astonishing True Facts You Never Knew About SCREWS
Threaderick the Great! And YES, we asked the Arapaho
NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'
Spooks ask Dabbsy to suggest a nice hotel with pool
Russia sends SEX-CRAZED GECKOS to SPAAAAACE!
In space... no one can hear you're green...
Indian techies-in-training face down MAN-EATING LEOPARD - and WIN
Big cat causes big trouble at Mumbai college
Too rich for an iPhone 6? How about a gold-plated Brikk?
Not lobbed at your head, silly – a bling phone
Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil
'Midas World' vision suggests you retire later, watch more tellie and buy more stuff
Yahoo! Japan! launches! service! for! the! dead!
If you're reading this email, I am no longer alive
Plucky Rockall podule man back on (proper) dry land
Bold, barmy Brit adventurer Nick Hancock escapes North Atlantic islet
Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo
'FIRE' caption on dashboard prompts dunderheaded hard shoulder halt
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.