I am so thankful for this community of people! Thank you for the Time article. I am currently studying Evolutionary Analysis and just had class yesterday where Mendelian genetics, genetic modification, genetic drift, and epigenetics are all being discussed. In fact, I need a good article to submit to the class homepage for an assignment we are doing, so now I have a great one.
I think that epigenetics is sure to be a factor. I am of Scandinavian descent, which also seems to be a susceptible group of people. Again, cold climates, all the time, and loads of immigration through time. I also have Middle Eastern descent, and the head coverings that have prevailed through many generations there could definately lead to evolutionary effects through gene mutation, or even just proteins that trigger normal genes to act in odd ways. Look at malaria and cholera. Over time, in areas where the disease has been prevalent for so long, gene modifications have taken place in defense of these, but the same mutations have been found to create these homozygous recessive alleles found in cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia, to name a few. Since the introduction of HIV, the genome has acquired some sort of resistance to it which makes some people less susceptible, or less likely to get HIV. That's great, but it's a very small percentage of people for one, and history seems to show that these very same beneficial modifications can become deleterious over time. Perhaps, instead of vitamin D deficiency being directly related to development of venous systems, in those cold climates and areas with full head covering the genome became modified in some way to help sustain people in some way in those tough environmental conditions. I think it's no coincidence at all that HEAT is not tolerated well in MS.
Anyhow, going back to my original idea, what about depriving pregnant chimps (our nearest primate relative) of sunlight and vitamin D altogether? Feed them a diet devoid of any vitamin D and see if their offspring has some sort of veinous abnormalities? Again, it doesn't mean they would necessarily end up with some primate form of MS...right?