.wp.com/www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Andes.jpg?fit=300%2C198&ssl=1 "large data file = "https://i1.wp.com/www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Andes.jpg?fit=1000%2C661&ssl=1" class = "aligncenter wp-image-446100 size-full jetpack-lazy-image "src =" https://i1.wp.com/www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Andes.jpg?resize=1000%2C661 "alt = "" width = "1000" height = "661" data-recalc-dims = "1" data-lazy-srcset = "https://i1.wp.com/www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/ 2018/11 / Andes.jpg? W = 1000 & ssl = 1 1000w, https://i1.wp.com/www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Andes.jpg?resize=300%2C198&ssl = 1 300w, https: //i1.wp.com/www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Andes.jpg?resize=768%2C508&ssl=1 768w, https: //i1.wp .com / www.courthousenews .com / wp-content / uploads / 2018/11 / Andes.jpg? resize = 24% 2C16 & ssl = 1 24w, https://i1.wp.com/www.courthousenews.com/wp- content / upload / 2018/11 / Andes.jpg? resize = 36% 2C24 & ssl = 1 36w, https: //i1.wp.com/www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Andes.jpg? resize = 48% 2C32 & ssl = 1 48w "data-lazy-sizes =" (maximum width: 1000px) 100vw, 1000px "data-lazy-src =" https://i1.wp.com/www.courthousenews.com /wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Andes.jpg?resize=1000%2C661&is-pending -load = 1 "srcset =" data: image / gif; base64, R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP /// yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAAAAAAAA "/> (CN) – Adapting to the higher altitudes gave a advantage to the population of the Andes that most of the inhabitants of the "New World" unfortunately did not have: they were able to avoid being completely wiped out by the diseases of European settlers, according to a new genetic study of people in the region.  On a continent full of harsh climates, the Andes are among the most intense with cold temperatures, ultraviolet radiation and low oxygen levels, yet humans have adapted to the region thousands of years ago.
By studying the complete genomes of ancient peoples in the Andes and comparing them with the genetics of modern South Americans, a team of researchers examined how people's digestive and cardiovascular systems might have adapted.
The cardiovascular systems of people in high a may have adapted in a way that would allow more blood to flow to their lungs, the team concluded in a study published in the journal Science Advances.
"This is a harsh, cold, resource-poor, low-oxygen environment," said Anna Di Rienzo of the University of Chicago, who led the study. "But people have adapted to that habitat and the agrarian lifestyle."
The team compared seven genomes of the ancient Andean peoples and compared them with 64 genomes of the current populations at high altitude, as well as the natives of coastal Bolivia and Chile
They hoped to analyze the impact of the settlers Europeans on indigenous peoples, many of whom were nearly wiped out by contact with strangers in the 1500s.
The team concluded that people living in the highest climates had much smaller population decreases than those at lower altitudes, and they have some possible explanations.
While demographic models and records show that up to 90% of the lowland populations were wiped out after European contacts, those living in the higher regions saw a population reduction of only 27 percent.
An explanation could be a genetic modification that has improved their ability to breathe oxygen-deprived air in high altitudes.  9659002] The team found evidence that a gene called DST, related to cardiac muscle formation, had been altered. This may have allowed people to take oxygen more effectively.
A shift to a potato-based potato diet, which originates in the region, may also have played a role in the Andean survival.
The presence of a gene called MGAM, which helps people digest starchy foods, has convinced the team that "a significant change in one's diet is probably based more on meat than another based on the plant."
"The timing of the appearance of the variant is fairly consistent with what we know of the paleo-ethno-botanical documentation in the highlands," said anthropologist Mark Aldenderfer.
The potato, originally from the region, may have been domesticated 5,000 years ago, according to recent research.
The team also found that modern people living in the mountains have a high genetic affinity with the ancient Andean people who lived in the region before the European contacts.
It is probable, they concluded, that moderns are descendants of people who have survived the smallpox epidemics and other diseases.
"Contact with Europeans has had a devastating impact on South American populations, such as the introduction of diseases, wars and social unrest," said John Lindo of the University of Chicago  "Focusing on previous period, we were able to distinguish environmental adaptations from adaptations derived from historical events. "
The study was also conducted by Ricardo Verdugo of the University of Chile.