Tibetans Evolved to Survive Highlife, Study SaysPublication: National Geographic News Date: May 13, 2010 View Article
Most Tibetans are genetically adapted to life on the “roof of the world,” according to a new study.
The Tibetan Plateau rises more than 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) above sea level. At such heights, most people are susceptible to hypoxia, in which too little oxygen reaches body tissues, potentially leading to fatal lung or brain inflammation.
To survive the high life, many Tibetans carry unique versions of two genes associated with low blood hemoglobin levels, the researchers found.