Archive for February, 2007

Arthur Schlesinger dies at 89

Arthur Schlesinger dies at 89. Labels: History

A note on the Common Disease-Common Variant debate

One of the more heated debates in human medical genetics in the last decade or so has been centered around the Common Disease-Common Variant (CDCV) hypothesis. As the name implies, the hypothesis posits that genetic susceptibility to common diseases like hypertension and diabetes is largely due to alleles which have moderate frequency in the population. […]

CHRM2 and Intelligence

CHRM2 Gene Variants Associated with Intelligence “Some of the participants in the study also took the Wechsler AdultIntelligence Scale-Revised, a traditional IQ test. In all, members of 200families, including more than 2,150 individuals, took the Wechsler test, and those results were matched to differences in individuals’ DNA. By comparing individual differences embedded in DNA, the […]

New blog posts

As a make-up for having hardly any time to post during the Week of Science, I have just added a set of four posts of pure science to my blog in rapid succession. On is on something that was already mentioned here, but the others are unrelated to anything on GNXP, so if you want […]

Recent Human Evolution in the house

Early man ‘couldn’t stomach milk’ Working with scientists from Mainz University in Germany, the UCL team looked for the gene that produces the lactase enzyme in Neolithic skeletons dating between 5480BC and 5000BC. These are believed to be from some of the earliest farming communities in Europe. The lactase gene was absent from the DNA […]

Academic Blogs directory

I noticed a post at Crooked Timber about something called The Academic Blog Portal. It’s a wiki. Both Gene Expressions are listed in the biology section. It is interesting to compare the representation of different disciplines, there are, for example, more linguistics and philosophy blogs than biology blogs, but also, more history blogs. Not all […]

The tactics of deceit

Over at The Edge the philosopher Daniel Dennett and evolutionary geneticist H. Allen Orr just had an exchange over Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. I am not particularly interested in the details of this debate, rather, on the front page this selection from Dennett’s letter caught my attention: When I explained then in a private […]


ALDaily points to this excellent article on the world’s top origami artists. This guy has a hell of a bio: Lang kept folding while earning a master’s in electrical engineering at Stanford and a Ph.D. in applied physics at Caltech. As he worked on his dissertation—“Semiconductor Lasers: New Geometries and Spectral Properties”—he designed an origami […]

A very recent speciation time of human-chimp

Hobolth A, Christensen OF, Mailund T, Schierup MH (2007) Genomic Relationships and Speciation Times of Human, Chimpanzee, and Gorilla Inferred from a Coalescent Hidden Markov Model. PLoS Genet 3(2): e7 They estimate 4.1 million years ago. It’s open access so no excerpts needed.

Human cloning “inevitable”

According to the editors of Nature. [W]hat has been universally deemed as unacceptable is the pursuit of human reproductive cloning – or the production of what some have called a delayed identical twin. Here, the two issues that have dominated the discussion have been dignity and safety. There is a consensus that dignity is not […]

Epigenetics: the hippest field on the block

The current issue of Cell is dedicated to the rapidly changing field of epigenetics, loosely defined at the ensemble of chromatin and DNA modifications that structure the genome and control gene expression. The only review I’ve worked my way through yet is this one: Timescales of Genetic and Epigenetic Inheritance. According to classical evolutionary theory, […]

Explaining (some) Global Inequality: Genes, Culture, or Luck?

Economists Wacziarg (Stanford) and Spolaore (Tufts) are using Cavalli-Sforza’s genetic distance data. They find that countries that are genetically different from the rest of humanity tend to be poorer, even after controlling for lots of popular variables (like geography and colonial experience, two recent favorites). Their explanation: It’s easier to get ideas from people who […]

William Wilberforce

This week’s In Our Time is about William Wilberforce. Unfortunately, many on this side of the pond don’t recognize the name. They should.

MicroRNA editing

Eurekalert: “What we found was that, in certain cases, edited versions of these microRNAs are being produced that differ from the unedited versions by only a single nucleotide change,” says Kazuko Nishikura, Ph.D., a professor in the Gene Expression and Regulation Program at Wistar and senior author on the study. “These edited microRNAs are not […]

Social Irrationality?

A few days ago David Boxenhorn wrote the following, apropos of atheism and religion: But maybe “communal irrational behavior” is the heart of the matter and “a supernatural agent” is just a side show? His point was that Communism, for example, has many of the traits of a religion, but without a supreme being , […]

Race IQ and SES

Jensen (1998) makes a point that is worth repeating: The pernicious notion that IQ discriminates mainly along racial lines, however, is utterly false. Jensen presents what should be a predictable pattern for a highly heritable trait: Source % of Variance Average IQ Difference Between races (within social classes) 14 30 12 Between social classes (within […]

The Economist

Just a question…do you think it is worth $100 a year to subscribe to The Economist? I was a subscriber several years back and let it lapse mostly because I found that I wasn’t checking in every week. Labels: News

Eric Alterman, a nationalist socialist

A few weeks ago I watched Bloggingheads.TV which I found really amusing. Eric Alterman was in a discussion with someone named Bill Scher. I don’t know anything about Scher aside from the fact that he makes Jonah Goldberg seem really intellectual and a deep thinker (see their diavlog). But I was struck by the following […]

Religion & Politics & Derb

Check out Derb’s latest column for NRO. Labels: Cognitive Science, Intelligent Design, Religion

Admin, etc.

I’ve received a half dozen complaints about the slowness of the site due to the technorati widget, so I’ve removed it for now. I see an improvement in load time. Yay or nay? Also, to the right you should see an RSS feed logo from feedburner. I’ve always had a feed, with a small link […]