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Recently increased prevalence of the human median artery of the forearm: A microevolutionary change


Lucas, Teghan; Kumaratilake, Jaliya; Henneberg, Maciej (2020). Recently increased prevalence of the human median artery of the forearm: A microevolutionary change. Journal of Anatomy, 237(4):623-631.

Abstract

The median artery has been considered as an embryonic structure, which normally regresses around the 8th week of gestation. However, various prevalences have been reported in adults since the 18th century. Furthermore, in a study by Henneberg and George (1995; Am J Phys Anthropol 96, 329–334), has suggested that increasing prevalence of the median artery during the 20th century was a ‘possible secular trend’. The present study, conducted nearly a quarter of a century later, is a continuation of that study. A total of 26 median arteries were found in 78 upper limbs obtained from Australians aged 51 to 101 years, who died in the period 2015–2016, a prevalence rate of 33.3%. Analysis of the literature showed that the presence of the median artery has been significantly increasing (p = .001) over time, from approximately 10% in people born in the mid‐1880s to approximately 30% by the end of the 20th century. The significance of the prevalence increased to a p value <.0001, when the results of the present study and other studies conducted by our research team were combined. After removal of the studies that were possibly biased, because of their specific focus on the evolutionary aspects of the median artery, the significance remained at p = .018. The present study provides an example of microevolutionary changes in the internal anatomy of the human body. Second‐order polynomial regression of the median artery's prevalence on dates of birth shows that it is now present in 35% of people and predicts that people born 80 years from now will all carry a median artery if the trend continues. When the median artery prevalence reaches 50% or more, it should not be considered as a variant, but as a ‘normal’ human structure.

Abstract

The median artery has been considered as an embryonic structure, which normally regresses around the 8th week of gestation. However, various prevalences have been reported in adults since the 18th century. Furthermore, in a study by Henneberg and George (1995; Am J Phys Anthropol 96, 329–334), has suggested that increasing prevalence of the median artery during the 20th century was a ‘possible secular trend’. The present study, conducted nearly a quarter of a century later, is a continuation of that study. A total of 26 median arteries were found in 78 upper limbs obtained from Australians aged 51 to 101 years, who died in the period 2015–2016, a prevalence rate of 33.3%. Analysis of the literature showed that the presence of the median artery has been significantly increasing (p = .001) over time, from approximately 10% in people born in the mid‐1880s to approximately 30% by the end of the 20th century. The significance of the prevalence increased to a p value <.0001, when the results of the present study and other studies conducted by our research team were combined. After removal of the studies that were possibly biased, because of their specific focus on the evolutionary aspects of the median artery, the significance remained at p = .018. The present study provides an example of microevolutionary changes in the internal anatomy of the human body. Second‐order polynomial regression of the median artery's prevalence on dates of birth shows that it is now present in 35% of people and predicts that people born 80 years from now will all carry a median artery if the trend continues. When the median artery prevalence reaches 50% or more, it should not be considered as a variant, but as a ‘normal’ human structure.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Anatomy
Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Health Sciences > Histology
Life Sciences > Molecular Biology
Life Sciences > Developmental Biology
Life Sciences > Cell Biology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Anatomy, Developmental Biology, Cell Biology, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, Molecular Biology, Histology
Language:English
Date:October 2020
Deposited On:18 Sep 2020 07:19
Last Modified:19 Sep 2020 20:00
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0021-8782
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/joa.13224
PubMed ID:32914433

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