“It’s in our DNA to drink beer…Our hominid ancestors evolved a digestive enzyme for alcohol, ADH4. This enzyme that metabolizes ethanol appeared around the time our primate ancestors transitioned from living in trees to inhabiting the forest floor, about 10 million years ago. In these more distant ancestors, the enzyme didn’t efficiently metabolize ethanol. Our more productive version today most likely became efficient due to our increased exposure to alcohol from our diet.”
Jessica Zinskie was a postdoctoral researcher at Rowan University studying the genetics of yeast and the evolution of beer. She is now a sales and support scientist at LI-COR Biosciences in Philadelphia.
See: “How Drinking Beer Is in Our DNA: An Interview with Jessica Zinskie” by Zack Pelta-Heller on the Science History Institute website (2017)