Tarantula (and other spiders) Venom effects on different human races

elvasco

Arachnopeon
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Mar 7, 2010
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12
Hi all,

I have a curious question; but first let me apologize in advance if this has been asked, I didnt have success with the search function but it could have been my search terms.

We all know people react differently to T and true spider bites but has anyone ever researched if there are common reactions amongts members of the same race (human race I mean). For example do Asians have less of a reaction to asian old world T venom? Maybe more of a reaction because a T in asia is more likely to encounter an asian person as a "predator?" Maybe they haven't had enough interaction over time to specialize the vebom. When I say more or less reaction I mean the severity of the symptoms and I mean as opppsed to say a european. Would Nw Ts hairs irritate asian peoples skin worse? Kind of a dumb question but I'm curious.
 

billy28

Arachnoknight
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Sep 27, 2008
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I'd assume the affects would be about the same regardless of race.
I have no evidence though.
 

Scorpendra

Arachnoprince
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I doubt there's been anywhere near enough evolutionary pressure between humans and spiders for there to be any difference.
 

AbraCadaver

Arachnoknight
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As far as spiderbites, I have no idea, but I do know there's been some research on AIDS and races, and the studies showed that Scandinavian,Germans and some Brittish/Irish(basically meaning light hair, fair skin, blue eyes) people have a better defence against it, so it is defintely a very interesting study.
 

Bengal21

Arachnopeon
Joined
Nov 4, 2010
Messages
42
I have no idea, but I do know there's been some research on AIDS and races, and the studies showed that Scandinavian,Germans and some Brittish/Irish(basically meaning light hair, fair skin, blue eyes) people have a better defence against it, so it is defintely a very interesting study.
Don't suppose you have a link to any evidence on this "study", do you?
 

desertanimal

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Jan 6, 2011
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173
There is in fact an allele that is present only in European populations that confers resistance to HIV. It does so because it makes the particular receptor on the cell surface that HIV uses to gain entry into cells non-functional. It is a relatively recent mutation, and its relative commonness in European populations has been attributed to the fact that this particular mutation also confers resistance to another disease--either the plague or smallpox or some hemorrhagic fever like Ebola (scientists are still arguing what, exactly, was the most important bug conferring selective advantage on this allele).

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=AIDS+resistance+and+plague&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article424915.ece

That said, there would be no reason to expect particular "races" to have different resistances to different tarantula venoms for two reasons. One, because "races" in the way that we typically use that term do not correspond well at all to real biological population histories. Europeans/Africans/Asians, for example, are far from bring three distinct, internally homogeneous groups. You will notice here that it is not all "Caucasians" that have a 10% chance of being HIV resistant and no one else does, but particular European populations have a 13% incidence of this allele, other Europeans only 4%, and Mexicans even have it (probably, ultimately, from Spanish lineages), etc.

Two, because as Scorpendra suggested, there's probably not been any significant amount of evolutionary pressure exerted by tarantulas on humans. Diseases exert significant evolutionary pressure on humans. They affects lots and lots of people, and many people die from them, leaving behind the people who were able to live through them to pass on their alleles. People (with brains) aren't going to let themselves get bitten by tarantulas on a regular enough basis that selection would end up conferring an appreciable advantage on those in a population who happened to be more resistant to the venom. For as long as we've been human, I'm sure we've been dealing with that threat behaviorally--see a big spider, kill or catch and eat the big spider--not waiting around for the evolution of physiological venom resistance to occur.
 

KoriTamashii

Arachnobaron
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Nov 21, 2009
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I'd be very interested if someone could make a valid study out of this... Never really thought about it before!
 

Suidakkra

Arachnosquire
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Nov 23, 2010
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147
Dont know, I have about the same reaction to the Aphonopelma urticating hairs from the United States species, as I do Brachypelma, Lasiodora, etc from Mexico and South America, and I have never been below the border of the United States before in my life.

And I am of "European" stock,with only 4 generations being in America.
 

Merfolk

Arachnoprince
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Dec 13, 2005
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As far as spiderbites, I have no idea, but I do know there's been some research on AIDS and races, and the studies showed that Scandinavian,Germans and some Brittish/Irish(basically meaning light hair, fair skin, blue eyes) people have a better defence against it, so it is defintely a very interesting study.
...which supports those conspiracy theories about AIDS being a lab created disease targeted at specific human groups. The only true differences between humans are mainly on the endocrine level and pretty superficial (adaptations to envirronement and no solid basis for hatred of superiority complexes then). I know that Asian ppl are more prone to be lactose intolerant and such, but I didn't read about any difference in reaction to envenomation. I know that those palm harvesters in Africa are far more resistant to the venom of S calceatum than you and I but it might be because they've been exposed to it for generations. Anyway, they simply have balls! I would personnaly never climb back there after being bit, believe me : )
 

Venom

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I think it is unlikely there are any significant differences in the neurobiology of different ethnicities. (we're all the same "race" !)

My view is that, IF there are any differences, they would be far less pronounced than the different effects caused by health, age, weight factors. In other words, it would be almost impossible to make any accurate measurement of differing effects caused by a "race" factor, because the age, weight, health variables would mask over the "race" variable. It's impossible to get two individuals with exactly the same health, so the study on "race" and T venom could never be performed with a sufficiently reliable control group.

And, IF there is any different effect by ethnicity, it will be so slight as to be unimportant. Age, weight, and health are what matter in an envenomation.
 

Bill S

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There have been observed and reported differences in how people of different races react to different medical conditons. Some are more susceptible to particular diseases than others, etc. For example, when the SARS outbreak happened a number of years ago, it had a much stronger effect on Asians than on any other groups.

It is possible that different peoples could have different reactions to spider venoms, although as someone pointed out, the selective pressures from spider bites have not been stron in any human culture, so differences in how people react to them are more likely to be fairly subtle. Still, it would be interesting to do a study. Designing such a study would be problematic, though. It's pretty tough to get permissions to use human subjects for medical experiments even using FDA approved drugs. Injecting volunteers with venoms that have not been tested and studied and have no available antivenins would require a miracle to get approval.
 

Merfolk

Arachnoprince
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Dec 13, 2005
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For some types, I think that tissue samples would work. Especially with the venoms that have more of a necrotic action.
 
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