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Link between dad's diet, body weight, and health at the time of conception

How does a dad's diet influence the health and body weight of offspring? Research involving rats suggests a biological link between paternal diet, body weight, and health at the time of conception and the health of his offspring. In a new research report, "Paternal high-fat diet consumption induces common changes in the transcriptomes of retroperitoneal adipose and pancreatic islet tissues in female rat offspring," just published online in the FASEB Journal, scientists show that if male rats ate a high fat diet, had diabetes and were obese, their offspring had altered gene expression in two important metabolic tissues -- pancreas and fat (even though they were not yet obese).

Link between dad's diet, body weight, and health at the time of conception.
Anne Hart, photography.

A fathers' diet, body weight and health at conception may contribute to obesity in offspring, says the new research. The findings suggest that obese fathers cause altered gene expression in pancreas and fat of offspring, possibly leading to diabetes, obesity, chronic degenerative disease and premature aging.

Does a dad's body weight and health at conception contribute to obesity in offspring?

Research involving rats suggests that there is a biological link between paternal diet, bodyweight and health at the time of conception and the health of his offspring. You can check out the abstract of the new study, "Paternal high-fat diet consumption induces common changes in the transcriptomes of retroperitoneal adipose and pancreatic islet tissues in female rat offspring." FASEB Journal. Authors are Details: Sheau-Fang Ng, Ruby C. Y. Lin, Christopher A. Maloney, Neil A. Youngson, Julie A. Owens, and Margaret J. Morris.

In a new research report published online in The FASEB Journal, scientists show that if male rats ate a high fat diet, had diabetes and were obese, their offspring had altered gene expression in two important metabolic tissues--pancreas and fat (even though they were not yet obese). This altered gene expression may increase the risk of future obesity and premature aging. Other genes that were affected include markers of premature aging, cancer, and chronic degenerative disease.

What could happen to offspring if your dad ate a high-fat diet at the date of conception?

"While scientists have focused on how the maternal diet affects children's health, this study is part of exciting new research exploring the impact of paternal diet on offspring risk of obesity," says Margaret Morris, Ph.D., according to the January 16, 20214 news release, "Fathers' diet, bodyweight and health at conception may contribute to obesity in offspring." Morris is a researcher involved in the work from the Pharmacology School of Medical Sciences at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

"The fact that similar gene markers were affected in pancreas and fat tissue tells us that some of the same pathways are being influenced, possibly from the earliest stages of life," Morris explains in the news release. "It will be important to follow up these findings, and to learn more about when and how to intervene to reduce the impact of poor paternal metabolic health on offspring."

The study focused on obese male rats

To make this discovery, Morris and colleagues used two groups of male rats, one of which was obese and diabetic and fed a high-fat diet; and the other was lean and healthy and fed a normal diet. The two groups of males were mated with lean female rats, and researchers examined their female offspring.

Those who were born from obese fathers on a high-fat diet, showed a poor ability to respond to a glucose challenge, even while consuming a healthy diet. Specifically, the offspring of the obese rats showed gene expression changes in pancreatic islets, which are responsible for producing insulin to control blood glucose and the fat tissue of their female offspring.

The nutrition of pregnant moms is critical to health of offspring, but what about the diet of dads?

"For a long time, we've known that the nutrition and health status of women who are pregnant or who want to get pregnant is critical to the health of her offspring, and we've also suspected that the same is true for fathers to a lesser degree," explains Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "This report is the first step in understanding exactly how the nutrition and health of fathers affects his children, for better or worse."

The FASEB Journal is published by the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). It is among the most cited biology journals worldwide according to the Institute for Scientific Information and has been recognized by the Special Libraries Association as one of the top 100 most influential biomedical journals of the past century.

FASEB is composed of 27 societies with more than 110,000 members, making it the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States. Our mission is to advance health and welfare by promoting progress and education in biological and biomedical sciences through service to our member societies and collaborative advocacy.

Avocados can control your blood glucose and insulin levels says another study

Avocados can help control your blood glucose and insulin levels, says a recent study, "A randomized 3x3 crossover study to evaluate the effect of Hass avocado intake on post-ingestive satiety, glucose and insulin levels, and subsequent energy int4ake in overweight adults," published in the Nutrition Journal on November 27, 2013. Authors of the study are Wien M, Haddad E, Oda K, and Sabaté J.

Also you can check out, "8 Healthy Facts About Avocados: Calorie Information, Varieties, and uses." Avocados are a nutrient-dense food shown to have beneficial effects on appetite control and weight management, researchers in the Department of Nutrition in the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University conducted that study to evaluate the effects of avocado intake on appetite and glucose and insulin response. Also see, "Avocados - The World's Healthiest Foods."

Researchers assessed the appetites of overweight adults with and without first eating avocados

In a crossover design study conducted on 26 healthy overweight adults, subjects were given either a control meal with no avocado, an avocado-inclusive meal (AI) or an avocado-added meal (AA). The AI and AA test meals were produced by including or adding half an avocado to the control meal, respectively, with the AI meal having reduced portions of other meal components to match the caloric content of the control. Appetite was assessed by giving the participants a questionnaire at 30, 60, 90, 120, 180 and 300 minutes after the avocado-containing test meals.

In the first three hours after the test meals, the participants had lowered their desire to eat with the AI and AA meals compared to the control, with the differences between the three diminishing after eating food containing avocado. The point is that eating avocados takes away food cravings or hunger for hours.

Eating avocados decreased hunger and food cravings by 40%

Desire to eat was lowest with the AA meal (40% decreased desire), which was expected as it had significantly higher caloric content than the AI and control meals. However, a 24% deceased desire to eat and 22% increase in satisfaction was observed with the AI meal compared with the control, even though they were identical in caloric content, the study observed.

Both the AI and AA meals significantly reduced post-meal increases in blood insulin levels compared to the control, but the effect was greatest for the AI meal, both in strength and duration. This study also was explained in the Swanson Research article, "Avocados Help Control Appetite and Insulin Levels."

The study authors concluded that “the addition of ½ of an avocado at a specific meal may be a simple dietary intervention to consider for individuals that consume large snacks between meals.” The authors further noted that “the attenuation in the rise of insulin in the avocado inclusive intervention is worthy of future exploration in persons with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.”

Eat half of a peeled avocado, and feel full, says that same new study on the effects of eating half an avocado with lunch on satiety and the desire to eat between meals. In the recent study, Loma Linda University researchers explored the relationship between avocado consumption, satiety and blood sugar

Does an avocado a day keep both hunger, obesity, and the doctor away? It depends on what else you're eating. But avocado helps keep you satisfied and less hungry at lunch time.

Recent research published in the November 2013 issue of Nutrition Journal reports adding one-half of a fresh avocado to a lunch may have helped healthy, overweight people feel more satisfied and reduced their desire to eat following a meal. The Hass Avocado Board funded the latest study, "A Randomized 3x3 Crossover Study to Evaluate the Effect of Hass Avocado Intake on Post Ingestive Satiety, Glucose and Insulin Levels, and Subsequent Energy Intake in Overweight Adults."

Just a half of an avocado added to your regular lunch can lead to satiety

The new research compared the effects of incorporating fresh Hass avocado into a lunch—either by replacing other foods or by simply adding it to the meal— to the effects of eating a standard lunch to determine how avocado consumption would influence satiety, blood sugar and insulin response and subsequent food intake. The subjects were 26 healthy, overweight adults.

Researchers found that participants who added half of a fresh avocado to their lunch reported a significantly decreased desire to eat by 40 percent over a three-hour period, and by 28 percent over a five-hour period after the meal, compared to their desire to eat after a standard lunch without avocado. In addition, they reported increased feelings of satisfaction by 26 percent over the three hours following the meal.

Half an avocado at lunchtime can make you feel satisfied instead of hungry

"Satiety is an important factor in weight management, because people who feel satisfied are less likely to snack between meals," said Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH, Chair of the Department of Nutrition who led the research team at Loma Linda University, according to the January 8, 2014 news release, New research: Effects of eating half an avocado with lunch on satiety & desire to eat between meals.

"We also noted that though adding avocados increased participants' calorie and carbohydrate intake at lunch, there was no increase in blood sugar levels beyond what was observed after eating the standard lunch. This leads us to believe that avocados potential role in blood sugar management is worth further investigation."

Findings were generally positive, but more research is needed to determine whether the conclusions drawn from this study can be applied to the general public

The results do provide promising clues and a basis for future research to determine avocados' effect on satiety, glucose and insulin response. "These research findings provide support for the emerging benefits of avocados," said Nikki Ford, PhD, Director of Nutrition at the Hass Avocado Board (HAB), according to the news release. "These results further complement our research efforts in weight management and diabetes as well as our continued work to explore the many benefits that fresh avocados have to offer when consumed in everyday healthy eating plans."

Fresh Hass avocados have 3 grams of total carbohydrate, less than 1 gram of natural sugar per one ounce serving (the least amount of sugar per serving than any other fresh fruit) and contribute 8% of the daily value (DV) for fiber

Each serving of nutrient dense fresh avocado is also a source of naturally good fats. The research at Loma Linda University is one of several studies supported by HAB as part of a research program established in 2010 to increase awareness and improve understanding of the unique benefits of avocados to human health and nutrition. Clinical studies are currently underway to investigate the relationship between avocado consumption and risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, support of weight management and healthy living.

Science-based food and wellness education program

As part of its commitment to supporting research, HAB recently launched a science-based food and wellness education program, called Love One TodayTM. This program encourages consumers to include fresh Hass Avocados in everyday healthy eating plans to help increase fruit and vegetable intake and as a delicious, cholesterol-free, whole food source of naturally good fats. For more information, free educational resources and recipes visit

The Hass Avocado Board was established in 2002 to promote the consumption of Hass avocados in the United States. In 2010 HAB launched a Nutrition Research program to increase awareness and improve understanding of the unique benefits of avocados to human health and nutrition. The four research pillars are heart health, weight management, diabetes, and healthy living. For a comprehensive collection of published nutrition and scientific literature, please visit

In other latest news articles, diets have been ranked, with the Paleo diet ranking last among 32 diets listed in a new survey

And it turns out that the best diet is the diet that is the best fit for your particular genetic and metabolic system. But the ranking partly is based on what most people searched for online, which was the Paleo diet, which ended up last on the list of the best and worst diets. See, "Popular diets get ranked: Here's what you should know."

Most people may not know that the Paleo diet in caveman days varied depending on where a community lived or camped, according to a new study. You can check out the abstract of the study published January 6, 2014 online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,"Earliest evidence for caries and exploitation of starchy plant foods in Pleistocene hunter-gatherers from Morocco." As far as the listing of best and worst diets in current times, the bottom of the dieting barrel includes the Atkins, the Dukan and the “caveman” Paleo diets, despite supporters’ claims. See, "The best & worst diets of 2014."

People still may not be connecting their metabolic type with what they eat and then connecting what's eaten with possible long-term health results. The best diets were ranked first because of their flexibility. For example, the reason the Dash diet was ranked number one is because of its flexibility.

You can eat all the meat, fruit, vegetables, and grains you want, but if you have high blood pressure and are salt sensitive, cut the salt down to what's acceptable for your age group and health condition. What's cut out of the DASH diet are foods containing excess salt, sugar, and fats. The Dash Diet also was chosen as number one because it's nutritionally complete, according to news reports.

Other listings include the following diets:

1. DASH:

2. TLC: (cut out the high-fats such as butter and fatty meats such as cold cuts like pastrami, salami, corned beef and other fatty red meats.)

(tie) 3. Mediterranean: Eat like a Cretan with oil, but don't fry in olive oil because when heated, the transfats form. You can eat fish and other staples you’d find near the famous sea. It also calls for a splash of heart-healthy red wine, or grape juice and some physical activity such as strolling, walking, or exercise.

(tie) 3. Mayo Clinic Diet: This diet features snacks of fruits and vegetables

(tie) 3. Weight Watchers: You keep a score of points on this diet. Eat as much fruits and vegetables as is healthy for you as veggies and fruits add up to zero points. You can eat all those green veggies.

(tie) 6. Flexitarian: No meats. Proteins come from tofu, beans, legumes such as lentils, and also you're allowed some peas, nuts and seeds and eggs.

(tie) 6. Volumetrics: You divide food into “very low-density (fruits and vegetables, nonfat milk),” “low-density (grains, breakfast cereal, low-fat meat),” “medium density (other meats, cheese, bread, ice cream)” and “high-density (candy, chips).” Eat more of the lower-density foods on this diet.

8. Jenny Craig: This paid program calls for one-on-one meetings with counselors and specific dishes delivered to customers. One strategy allows up to 250 extra calories for special events.

(tie) 9. Biggest Loser: It’s based on the “Biggest Loser” book series, which includes “30-Day Jump Start” and “6 Weeks to a Healthier You.” This diet suggests four servings a day of fruits and vegetables, three of protein foods, two of whole grains, and no more than 200 calories of ‘extras,’ like desserts, according to the article by David K. Li, "The best & worst diets of 2014."

(tie) 9. Ornish: This diet is supposed to possibly reverse some of those clogged arteries to also possibly reverse heart disease. On this diet you don't eat animal foods containing cholesterol. You also don't eat refined carbohydrates such as white flour. You don't eat oils. Keep off too much caffeine. No animal products except egg whites. The original book on the Ornish diet published in the 1990s also mentioned a little skimmed milk was allowed, unless you're lactose or milk intolerant.

(tie) 11. Traditional Asian Diet: The Cornell-China-Oxford Project on Nutrition, Health and Environment and Oldways — a nonprofit food think tank in Boston — developed this plan that’s built on rice, noodles, breads, corn, whole grains, fruits, veggies, legumes, seeds, nuts and vegetable oil. Red meat is allowed once a month, noted the January 7, 2014 article by David K. Li, "The best & worst diets of 2014."

(tie) 11. Vegetarian: This allows vegetables and also dairy products, but not eggs and not any meat, chicken or fish. You could eat up to 2,000 calories a day by having 2 cups of fruit, 2 ½ cups of vegetables, 3 cups of dairy, 6 ounces of grains and 5 ½ ounces of protein.

(tie) 13. Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Dr. Andrew Weil’s plan closely mirrors the Mediterranean Diet, with the addition of green tea and dark chocolate. No fast or fried foods are allowed.

(tie) 13. Slimfast: This is a commercial plan focused on losing weight at the rate of 1 or 2 pounds a week. Calorie counts and portion control sets a 1,200 calories a day limit.

(tie) 13. Spark Solution Diet: “The Spark Solution” book calls for 1,500 calories a day — 45 to 65 percent carbohydrates; 20 to 35 percent from fats; and 16 to 35 percent from proteins. The book emphasizes exercise. You work out and eat, but not more than 1,500 calories daily.

(tie) 16. Flat Belly Diet: Four days a week you eat 1,200 daily calories. Every day you eat four 300-calorie meals chosen from a list of food and beverages. Food consists of edibles such as carrots, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, skim milk, extra-virgin olive oil, sunflower seeds, applesauce, chicken breasts, organic deli roast turkey, tilapia and fresh or dried basil.

(tie) 16. Nutrisystem: You choose healthy carbs such as vegetables and whole grains. But be careful the grains you choose are not gluten if you're gluten-sensitive. The grains you choose are supposed to digest at a slow rate so you feel full for hours. You're told what time or when to eat.

(tie) 18. Abs Diet: Created by “Men’s Health” Editor-in-Chief David Zinczenko, the diet emphasizes protein with every meal. You also get to eat choices such as almonds, beans, spinach, instant oatmeal, eggs, peanut butter, raspberries, olive oil and whole grains.

(tie) 18. The Energy 2 Diet: This was created by former firefighter Rip Esselstyn, whose great-grandfather co-founded the Cleveland Clinic and whose dad was an Olympic rower and Cleveland Clinic surgeon. Esselstyn’s plant-rich diet claims to fight heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer. It's also known as the reversal diet to reverse clogged arteries that may lead to heart problems or stroke. The focus is plant-based foods.

(tie) 18. South Beach Diet: This diet focuses on low carbs and high proteins. It’s filled with vegetables, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy, lean protein such as chicken and turkey, whole grains and nuts. Saturated and trans fats are discouraged.

(tie) 18. Vegan Diet: No eggs or dairy products. Eat only vegetables, fruits, and seeds, grains, nuts, or beans and legumes. Vegans usually eat less calories anyway. The goal is to eat until you're full but on fewer calories.

(tie) 22. Eco-Atkins: This low-carb plan is a hybrid of meat-loving Atkins and Paleo diets and vegetarian and vegan schemes. It was designed by University of Toronto professor David Jenkins as a twist on Atkins. Eat as if agriculture just began, except for the fruits and vegetables. No starchy bread, potatoes, or baked desserts. But you can eat fruit, vegetables, whole-grain cereal, whole-wheat bread and oats. The trick is no refined carbs.

(tie) 22. The Glycemic Index Diet: The diet has good and bad carbs. Bran is good as are fruits and vegetables. Bad carbs are white bread, instant mashed potatoes, and other refined carbs such as pastries and cookies or cake. The goal is slow digestion so you don't get the sugar spikes in your bloodstream.

(tie) 22. Zone Diet: Biochemist Barry Sears’ plan is to avoid insulin spikes. You eat smaller portions. Meal times are crucial, calling for food at least once every five hours. You don't eat pasta, bread, cereals and potatoes because they're starchy, turn to sugar quickly in your bloodstream, and create huge insulin surges in your arteries that age you quickly and/ or clog your arteries.

(tie) 25. Macrobiotic diets: Usually vegetarian with starchy portions of brown rice, and/or gluten-filled portions of barley, and rye. Or you could eat those whole oats and buckwheat instead. Then you add plenty leafy greens, root, beans and soybean products like tofu and tempeh. Think roots, fruits, beans, and greens. You're supposed to chewed 50 times to aid digestion with each mouthful of food. Back in the 1980s, this family was on this diet and was told to chew at least 32 times to help digestion.

(tie) 25. Medifast: This commercial diet plan comes with meals tailored for specific dieters such as diabetics, seniors, teens, vegetarians and nursing mothers. Potential site effects, including leg cramps, dizziness or fatigue, headaches, loose skin, hair loss, rashes, gas, diarrhea, bad breath, constipation and menstrual changes. It's for a specific type of dieter, tailored for individual needs, and not for the average person looking for good nutrition on a permanent basis.

27. Acid-Alkaline Diet: No acid-forming foods such as red meats, whole dairy products, breads high in yeast, wheat products, sugary snacks, ketchup, mayonnaise, salad dressings, croutons and coffee. Don't try it if you have a kidney or heart condition.

28. The Fast Diet: It’s often called the 5:2 plan, meaning you eat regularly five days a week and drastically cut back calorie intake on two, non-consecutive days. Men are limited to 600 calories, women to 500. Potential dieters should consult a doctor before taking on such a drastic regimen. Some people feel ill when fasting two days a week. Not if you're a student taking final or midterm exams who has to be sharp during the testing at school.

(tie) 29. Atkins: Controversial. Very radical reduction in carbs. Heavy consumption of meat. The diet is supposed to fuel you with protein of meat. The theory behind the diet is the body burns stored fat instead of sugar/glucose. People worried about risk of heart disease and clogged arteries should think twice before trying this diet. They may need to eat another type of diet that reversed the clogged arteries. For example, check out whether vitamin K-2 (MK-7) may be needed. See articles such as, "Whole Health Source: Can Vitamin K2 Reverse Arterial Calcification?,"Vitamin D and K2 Work in Tandem to Slow Arterial Calcification - Mercola"," and "Vitamin K & Arteries | Healthy Eating | SF Gate."

(tie) 29. Raw Food Diet: Don't put your young child on this diet. And if you're eating raw food, keep it vegan. Too many people have been sickened by eating raw fish not properly 'cooked' long enough in various marinades that kill bacteria. Just be aware of what you're eating raw. Be sure it's clean and no snail eggs are hiding in the curls of those green leaves. Wash your fruits and vegetables. If you dehydrate meats or fish, be sure the process doesn't leave bacteria on the food.

Too many people have fallen ill from dehydrated meats or fish not properly prepared to destroy the bacteria on the foods. Same goes for some vegetables. So wash them and know from where they came. You have cases of bacteria-borne food illness even on some packaged veggies from time to time when there's an outbreak. And that goes also for some types of melons, cut fruits, seeds, and other plant-based foods.

(tie) 31. Dukan: is similar in some ways to the Atkins diet. The difference is you get to eat non-starchy vegetables such as cucumbers, mushrooms, zucchini, peppers and salad greens. But you don't eat grains or fruits. The idea, again, is keeping blood glucose levels from spiking followed by more spikes of high insulin levels in the blood. It's easier to not eat too many sweets in the first place.

(tie) 32. Paleo: See, "Looks Like The Paleo Diet Wasn't Always So Hot For Ancient Teeth." The Paleolithic diet is not really what all cavemen ate. You don't get to eat grains and dairy just because people may not have eaten grains or diary before agriculture. But caveman's real diet was more like raw liver and watercress, shell fish or other seafood, and wild vegetables. See, "Paleo-no: U.S. News enlists experts to rank 32 diets of 2014."

Paleo diets originally severely rotted cave people's teeth due to eating acorn patties

Sometimes cavemen did find wild grains growing in the fields of grasses. You can eat fish on this diet and grass-fed meats. A more modified Paleo diet allows vegetables. See, "Paleo Diet (Caveman Diet) Review, Foods List, and More - WebMD." Paleo-diet eating cave people didn't eat only meat and seafood with a handful of watercress. What filled up caveman's bellies included lots of acorn patties with acorns gathered from the many forests and grounded between stones to a type of course meal, moistened, and baked like a pancake.

The problem is not all people still have the same blood type (O-) that many cavemen had who lived on a diet heavy on meat, fish, and a few seasonal wild vegetables and berries. The farmers with type A and AB diet, and the nomads with a high number of type B blood types had different diets than simply hunting and gathering what greens and seasonal berries grow in the wild. See, "The Paleo Diet: Does Eating Like A Caveman Shave Off The Pounds? [VIDEO]."

Then again, there's also a vegan form of the Paleo diet that cuts out dairy, eggs, fish, and meat, which is what hunters ate. Traditional Paleo hunters didn't drink milk or eat dairy beyond the age of weaning. Yet, some transitional periods of time had early agriculturists living among Paleo hunters. The early farmers were making and trading cheese and/ or a type of flat bread ground from wild seeds and various root vegetables that grew wild. On the other hand, gatherers, mostly women gathered the green leafy vegetables that grew in the wild, such as watercress. See, "Paleo diet: is eating like a caveman healthy or a fad?"

In Paleolithic times people ate what foods were available in their part of the globe. The high-grain farmer diet (possibly including lots of type A and much later also AB blood types) also led to tooth decay. When hunter-gatherers started adding grains and starches to their diet, it brought about the "age of cavities." But long before people ate grains and fruits, thousands of years before agriculture, what hunter-gatherers ate could rot their teeth. And some of the Paleolithic-era peoples eating wild acorns had severely rotted teeth right down to the roots.

Acorns rotted the teeth of cavemen and women long before the age of agriculture

The evidence comes from a cave in Morocco — the Cave of the Pigeons, it's called — where ancient people lived and died between 12,000 and 15,000 years ago. These were hunters and gatherers; they didn't grow stuff. And what was astonishing to scientists who've studied the cave people was the condition of their teeth. Their teeth on their so--called Paleo diets rotted because these people ate lots of acorns that stuck to their teeth. Most likely, they ground the acorns and made patties of them, like pancakes. They may have tasted somewhat like chestnuts.

Hunters on the paleo diet ate meat, tubers, berries, wild vegetables and very few carbs, but their teeth rotted severely because they ate acorns. The high carb acorns turned to sugar in their mouths. Then bacteria turned the sugar into enamel-eating acid, according to the NPR article, "Looks Like The Paleo Diet Wasn't Always So Hot For Ancient Teeth."

The research appears in the the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. There's no one type of Paleo diet when thinking about how cave people lived. To survive, people ate whatever wild food resources were available to them during the time, including during the last ice age. It's easier to gather acorns and grind them into a course meal, then bake them like a patty or burger without buns especially when it was too cold to find animals around to hunt. And it filled up hungry bellies, but severely decayed teeth. You can check out the abstract of the study published January 6, 2014 online, "Earliest evidence for caries and exploitation of starchy plant foods in Pleistocene hunter-gatherers from Morocco."

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