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Study explains why polar bears are fat yet healthy

Published on May 9, 2014 6:38 AM
 
A polar bear holds onto a piece of meat along the shore of Hudson Bay near Churchill, Manitoba on August 23, 2010. When it comes to healthy eating, polar bears break all the rules. They eat mostly fat, but they don't get heart disease the way humans would. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - When it comes to healthy eating, polar bears break all the rules. They eat mostly fat, but they don't get heart disease the way humans would.

Scientists said on Thursday in journal Cell that the reason lies in their genes.

Some speedy evolutionary tricks, particularly in the genes which handle how fats are metabolised and how they are transported in the blood, have allowed polar bears to survive in the Arctic, scientists said.

And it all happened within the last 500,000 years, after the polar bear split from its cousin, the brown bear, according to research that compared the two animals' genomes.

 
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