From the prominent and largest reptiles, dinosaurs, to the largest birds on earth, the elephant birds, the earth is filled with fossils of extinct species.
Our genome too isn't an exception. As a result of evolution, we have lost thousands of our genes from our genomes due to mutation. Once a genes dies, they are linked as a pseudogene.
Whenever a gene dies due to mutation, the information it possesses is not encoded into protein.Below are some of the genes we lost along the way.
1. Gulop gene
This gene died in about 61 million years ago according to molecular dating estimates. Gulop helped our primitive ancestors make their own vitamin C. The extinction of the gene maybe due presence of plenty of fruits which turned as our major supplement of the vitamin rendering the gene nonfunctional. Nevertheless, one species of primates (lemur) still has retained the genes up to date and can make their own vitamin C. The vitamins is essentials as it protects us from contracting Scurvy.
2. UOX- Uricase
UOX- coded for protein Uricase was functional in our ancestors' genome 17 million years ago. This gene helps in breakdown of uric acid, a waste product of metabolism from the blood. Presence of uric acids in the blood, however, has an advantage since it helps in breakdown of fructose to fats which is stored in the body and used in times when surplus is low. While on the other side presence of uric acid in the blood has some consequences like accumulation crystal deposits in joints causing painful swelling, a condition known as Gout.
3.Bitter Taste Receptor genes
Our DNA recently contain about 25 working bitter receptors genes with each associated with tasting a specific compound. About 11 of the bitter receptors genes that went extinct help our ancestors secern between edible plants and the toxic ones. The cause of death of these genes may be due to change of diet as evolution took place and inclusion of cooked food lowering the toxicity in food consumed.
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