Essay on The Effect Of Lactase On Dairy Products

1641 Words Oct 18th, 2016 7 Pages
Introduction: Lactase is an enzyme that helps to digest lactose, a sugar found in many dairy products (U.S National Library of Medicine 2013). This enzyme is made through instructions provided by the LCT gene. Lactase is primarily produced and found in the cells that line the walls of the small intestine. At the brush border, an area where microvilli absorb nutrients from food as it passes by, lactose breaks down lactose into simpler sugars like glucose through a hydrolysis reaction (Biology 225 Lab Manual 2016). However in the years after being breast-fed, which provides an infant with an abundance of lactose, the typical mammalian diet does not consist of a lot of lactose (Alberts, Bray, Hopkins, et al. 294 2014). This leads to a low activity of lactase, which consequences in the enzyme being down-regulated. This results in mammals, including 70% of humans, not being able to process dairy products as well as they age, a condition called lactase non-persistence (Biology 225 Lab Manual 2016). The ability to process lactose beyond infancy is more common in areas where consuming dairy products is more common (which keeps lactase activity levels high), such as Northwest Africa, Southwest Asia, and Europe (Curry 2013). Lactase tolerance in these areas is an advantage because it allows individuals to digest a wider range of milk products.
While many might assume non-persistent is the dominant trait because of its commonous, lactase persistent is the dominant trait and hence…

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