Cornell researchers describe a genetic variation that has evolved in populations that have historically favored vegetarian diets, such as in India, Africa and parts of East Asia.

The vegetarian allele evolved in populations that have eaten a plant-based diet over hundreds of generations. The adaptation allows these people to efficiently process omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and convert them into compounds essential for early brain development and controlling inflammation. In populations that live on plant-based diets, this genetic variation provided an advantage and was positively selected in those groups.

Meet FADS1 & FADS2 gene

FADS1 and FADS2 are enzymes that are essential for converting omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids into downstream products needed for brain development and controlling inflammation. Meat and seafood eaters have less need for increased FADS1 and FADS2 enzymes to get proper nutrition because their omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid conversion process is simpler and requires fewer steps. 

Scientist discovered that some individual lashes have a mutation in the FADS2 gene, which makes them a lot more efficient in the conversion of those fatty acids. 

Disparity of the Vermeer Arina gene around the world.

Studies found that the vegetarian gene mutation existed in 68% of Indians, but only in 18% of Americans, European would be 17% and African 53%. So those with primarily vegetarian ancestors are more likely to have the mutation and are better able to obtain optimal nutrition from plant foods. 

This also mean late that for those with these gene variant, drifting away from a vegetarian diet ( by eating a lot of red meat ) could have a negative impact on their health and make them more susceptible to systemic inflammation. 

To conclude it is important for you to know what is your gene variant whether you are planing to become vegetarian or not. Once again your personalised journey to health optimisation is not someone else's pathway.