Faculty

What the Inuit can tell us about omega-3 fats and ‘paleo’ diets

“The original focus on fish oil and omega-3s came from studies of Inuit. On their traditional diet, rich in fat from marine mammals, Inuit seemed quite healthy with a low incidence of cardiovascular disease, so fish oil must be protective,” said project leader Rasmus Nielsen, a UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology. “We’ve now found that they have unique genetic adaptations to this diet, so you cannot extrapolate from them to other populations.

Genome Analysis Pinpoints Arrival and Spread of First Americans

The analysis, using the most comprehensive genetic data set from Native Americans to date, was conducted using three different statistical models, two of them created by UC Berkeley researchers. The first, developed by the lab of Yun Song, a UC Berkeley associate professor of statistics and of electrical engineering and computer sciences, takes into account the full DNA information available from the genomes in the study.

A Walk on the Wild (Edibles) Side

"When I went foraging with Philip Stark and Tom Carlson for what became the first of the California Matters series of videos, I had an idea of what to expect. ...I learned about eating dandelion leaves, roots, and the base where they met, as well as crowns and even the little balls of unbloomed flowers (actually the best part, sautéed). I learned, too, about milkweed, a plant that can be eaten at several stages."

Environment takes big hit from water-intensive marijuana cultivation

Published today in the journal Bioscience, the report outlines how illegal marijuana production is hitting California where it hurts, such as in sensitive watersheds already stressed by the state’s ongoing drought. Networks of pipes and hoses siphon water directly from small streams to irrigate the crops, draining what little water there is for wildlife and plants.

Nielson Helps Identify 8,500-year-old Kennewick Man as Native American

An ancient human skeleton called Kennewick Man, found on the banks of the Columbia River in 1996, has been at the center of a dispute between Native Americans and scientists on the disposition of the remains. A new analysis of DNA from the bones by a team that includes Professor Rasmus Nielsen concludes that the man probably was an ancestor of local Native American tribes. Read More

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