Thursday, January 26, 2006

Disease & ethnicity   posted by Razib @ 1/26/2006 04:42:00 PM

In the news...Parkinson's gene of large effect found in Jews and North African Arabs and group differences in lung cancer rates controlling for variables (or are they?). I am more intrigued by the Parkinson's result because my understanding is that North African "Arabs" are Arabicized Berbers by and large. There is some implication that the Parkinson's Disease gene might be found in common because of phylogeny, that is, both derive from common Middle Eastern stock. But if most North Africans are simply Arabicized Berbers their Middle Eastern origin should be pushed rather far back in history, probably at least greater than 6,000 years before the present (some evidence suggests that post-Neolithic Demic diffusion occurred). Some of the interpretations are based on founder effect being the culprit, but we can't ignore selection, can we? (though if you do a search on PubMed note that there are papers out there that do assert that North Africans seem to be highly substructured and it is difficult to establish a rhyme or reason,)