From Cell :
•The long human lifespan evolved when our ancestors were homozygous for APOE e4.
•The e4 allele is associated with heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and reduced lifespan.
•High levels of physical activity reduce disease risks in e4 carriers.
•We propose that human longevity evolved due to a shift toward high activity levels.
•Current lifespan constraints may reflect a mismatch between lifestyle and evolutionary history.
Humans have exceptionally long lifespans compared with other mammals. However, our longevity evolved when our ancestors had two copies of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) e4 allele, a genotype that leads to a high risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), cardiovascular disease, and increased mortality. How did human aging evolve within this genetic constraint? Drawing from neuroscience, anthropology, and brain-imaging research, we propose the hypothesis that the evolution of increased physical activity approximately 2 million years ago served to reduce the amyloid plaque and vascular burden of APOE e4, relaxing genetic constraints on aging. This multidisciplinary approach links human evolution with health and provides a complementary perspective on aging and neurodegenerative disease that may help identify key mechanisms and targets for intervention.
And no other primate twigged to this APOE e4 thing? Interesting.
See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (human evolution)