Why are Pygmies short?

A study published in PLoS Genetics this month links West African Pygmy people’s short stature to genetic adaptations that bolster immunity to disease. This genetic response indirectly affects stature by suppressing production of growth hormone in Pygmy populations globally and in Africa in particular according to a Scientific American blog. As Gary Stix reports, “Tishkoff and colleagues have found an unexpected surprise in genetic evidence for Pygmy height, which reaches an average of 4 feet 11 inches in Pygmy men in Cameroon.”

The article, from the April 2012 issue, is available as Open Access.

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