Articles

Sickle-Cell Trait in Human Biological and Cultural Evolution

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Science  08 Sep 1967:
Vol. 157, Issue 3793, pp. 1134-1140
DOI: 10.1126/science.157.3793.1134

Abstract

The particular agricultural adaptation we have been considering is the ultimate determinant of the presence of malaria parasites in the intracellular environment of the human red blood cell. This change in the cellular environment is deleterious for normal individuals, but individuals with the sickle-cell gene are capable of changing their red-cell environment so that intense parasitism never develops. Normal individuals suffer higher mortality rates and lower fertility rates in a malarious environment than individuals with the sickle-cell trait do, so the latter contribute proportionately more people to succeeding generations.

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