Analysis of the Role of Vitamin C Synthesis Loss in Primates’ Evolution; Solving an Evolutionary Puzzle

Mutaz Amin


Vitamin C is a water-soluble compound with anti-oxidant properties that is essential for collagen synthesis and protection of living organisms against oxidative stress. These important roles, and the relatively large amounts of vitamin C required daily, likely explain why most vertebrate species are able to synthesize it but surprisingly; many species of anthropoid primates, guinea pigs, as well as some bats have lost the capacity to synthesize it. We hypothesized that the loss of vitamin C synthesis in early primate ancestors contributed to their relatively long life spans through up-regulation of hypoxia induced factor 1α (HIF1α), a transcription factor that plays an essential role in cellular response to oxidative stress.

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DOI Prefix: 10.20286