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Cynthia M. Beall, Ph.D.

Adaptation to High Altitude Hypoxia

High altitude natives of the Andean, Tibetan, and Simian Plateaus live under lifelong, severe hypoxic stress. Physiological adaptations enable normal, healthy function in a n environment that debilitates a significant proportion of lowland visitors. However, not all high altitude populations appear to exhibit the same adaptations and it is not clear why.

My current research is on oxygen transport differences between Andean and Tibetan highlanders and seeks to understand whether these differences are mainly genetic, developmental, or acclimatizational - or due to some unknown environmental contrast. Physiological data on large samples of biological relatives are collected during community level fieldwork in Bolivia and Tibet and analyzed using quantitative genetic statistical techniques.

Selected References:

Beall, C.M., J. Blangero, S. Williams-Blangero, and M.C. Goldstein. A major gene for percent oxygen saturation of arterial hemoglobin in Tibetan highlanders. Am. J. of Phys. Anthro. 95(3):271-276, 1994.

Beall, C.M. Aging and adaptation to the environment. In: Biological Anthropology and Aging: Interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and comparative approaches. R.M. Garruto and D.J. Crews (eds.), Oxford University Press, pp. 339-372, 1994.

Beall, C.M., J. Henry, C. Worthman, and M.C. Goldstein. Basal metabolic rate and dietary seasonality among Tibetan nomads. Am. J. of Human Biol., 7(6):1-7, 1995.

Strohl, K.P. and C.M. Beall. Ventilatory Response to Experimental Hypoxia in Adult Male and Female Natives of the Tibetan and Andean Plateaus. In: Hypoxia Women at Altitude. C.S. Houston and G. Coates (eds.) Queen City Printers, Burlington, Vermont, pp. 162-165, 1997.

Beall, C.M., KP Strohl, J. Blangero, S. Williams-Blangero, G.M. Brittenham and M.C. Goldstein. Quantitative genetic analysis of Arterial Oxygen Saturation in Tibetan Highlanders. Human Biology, 69(5):597-604, 1997.

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