Monday, April 15, 2024

Is cold resistance hereditary?

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
"Subtly charming problem solver. Extreme tv enthusiast. Web scholar. Evil beer expert. Music nerd. Food junkie."

When some take off their coats, others still wear their shirts… We’re not all equal when it comes to being cold. If there are many factors that influence our perception and resistance to low temperatures, there is part genetics. Researchers set up specific genewhich appears to play an important role.

If your sensitivity to cold suddenly changes, it may be a symptom of an illness. But in normal times, some people would naturally be more cautious than others. There are many factors that can play a role: our basal body temperature, hormonal fluctuations, our emotional state…

But there is also a part of genetics. In 2012, study 894 pairs of twins showed the role of genes in easily cold hands and feet. lately, Researchers from Sweden and Lithuania discovered that a mutation It could explain, at least in part, that some people are naturally more cautious than others.

>> Read also: Can we really ‘catch a cold’?

This type of mutation is called nonsense, and prevents the gene from causing protein production. For that particular gene, the protein is called α-actinin-3. This is usually present in the skeletal muscle fibers responsible for rapid movements (as opposed to the fibers involved in longer endurance movements). It is known that during human history, the number of individuals who presented an “irrational” version of the gene, and therefore did not produce the protein, increased when humans settled in colder climates.

So there is a link between cold resistance and this protein, But this link was not previously explained. Scientists showed in their experiments that people who did not produce this protein were better able to maintain their body temperature when immersed in cold water, and thus tolerate the cold. So the study explains the genes’ involvement in cold, but it also points to the role of skeletal muscle in heat production.

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>> Read also: Why do we have to pee more when it’s cold?

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