Summary of the chapter

Glycobiology and Neu5Gc in human evolution

Sari M. Arponen

The study of genome and proteome is fundamental to understand the evolution of species and the human and animal physiopathology. They constitute the central paradigm of molecular biology. Sugars are somehow "the dark matter" of biology: the glycome is as important as the genome and the proteome but much less known and researched. In this article we review some general concepts of glycobiology.

Then we examine the case of Neu5Gc, a type of sialic acid lost by humans. The examination of the biochemical, cellular, physiological and pathological consequences of Neu5Gc human loss leads to a better understanding of the complexity of glycomics and its applications in the study of evolution and human health.