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February 28, 2004

Why your head hurts....

BioMed Central has an article up (here is the full PDF) titled The methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene variant C677T influences susceptibility to migraine with aura. Yeah, a headache to verbally digest, but basically, it is an attempt to pinpoint genetic precursors of a phenotype that is evident in 12% of the Caucasian population. This is an example of behavioral genetics, exploring individual differences within a population (note that they limited the study to Caucasians), which doesn't often get as much play as evolutionary psychology in the popular press in my opinion. Evolutionary psychology focuses on traits we share in common from the primordial environment of evolutionary adaptedness, or EEA. While as many individual popular press stories circulate about human differences as human universals, it is obviously harder to parlay the former into an interconnected paradigm (though both would fall under the rubric of sociobiology).

Posted by razib at 01:51 PM