Armand on Human Diversity

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Armand Leroi has a nice fluffy piece, On Human Diversity, in The Scientist. Leroi is one to keep an eye on because he is in John Brockman’s stable, and his creatures tend to become public intellectuals rather quickly. One thing though, why is a developmental biologist pushing this? Neil Risch should be stepping up! But I have a sneaking suspicion that the devo will always win over evo in a war of words since the devo people can trot out 10,000 definitions to describe the progression of a zebrafish eye while the evo people can only jot down some befuddling equations. Hat tip to Jay.

Update: Go read this post from Future Pundit, Genetic Analysis Shows Signs Of Selective Pressure In Human Evolution. By the way, doesn’t the researcher look like a baby? Of course, Brad DeLong looks like a baby too.

Update II: Also, check out Derb’s piece in NR, The Specter of Difference.


  1. neoteny?

  2. devo and evo? 
    I presume you’re not talking about 80s rock.

  3. Well, Delong looks like he ate a baby.

  4. These mutations are subject to weak negative selection 
    How can you tell when a gene is under negative selection?

  5. >How can you tell when a gene is under negative selection? 
    fewer nonsynomous substitutions than expected???

  6. yeah, i think they just meant functional constraint or purifying selection…i.e., MC1R seems to be under functional constrained in sub-saharan africans, while in europeans there are many polymorphisms, suggesting to some relexation of constraint.

  7. I thought Brockman just selected public intellectuals. If he makes them, that makes him incredibly powerful. Was that what you were suggesting?

  8. If he makes them, that makes him incredibly powerful. Was that what you were suggesting? 
    to some extent, yes. i mean, who the fuck is armand leroi and why is he getting all these op-eds printed in high end publications? leroi seems a decent developmental biologist, but he obviously peddled a neat idea, and brockman decided to shift his machine behind him. i’m not saying that brockman’s minions aren’t good raw material, but there is an enormous well of >140 IQ intellectuals with drive and originality to select from. here’s another article about brockman.

  9. Razib, 
    Interesting article, it seems that Brockman is something of a science/technology pimp!

  10. armand leroi is a famous mo-fo who also had his own TV series on channel 4 in britain. it was called … “Mutants”. 
    useless program I can tell you because most of it was about all these grusomely mutated humans. what a guy.