Cider Musings

Humanids acquire the ability to process alcohol.


Paleogenetics is an emerging field that resurrects ancestral proteins from now-extinct organisms to test, in the laboratory, models of protein function based on natural history and Darwinian evolution.  Digestive alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH4) evolved in our primate ancestors after the split with orang-utans  and gained a digestive dehydrogenase enzyme capable of metabolising ethanol rather than other vegetive alcohols near the time that they began using the forest floor, about 10 million years ago where there would be more rotting and fermenting fruits. The original ADH4 enzyme in our more ancient and arboreal ancestors did not efficiently oxidise ethanol. This is many millenia before humans started fermenting fruit and grain deliberately ~ 8000 years ago