Archive for July, 2008

Stefansson’s Luxury Organ

In yesterday’s New York Times article, David Goldstein makes sense: he says “We’ve looked for common variants in schizophrenia and get almost nothing. This means natural selection has done a really good job of purging them away, and we’re left with rare variants, a constant flow of them, as the principal driver of the disease.” […]

Copy number variation in schizophrenia

Nature has published a couple papers reporting (using partially overlapping samples) associations between rare recurrent microdeletions and schizophrenia. The paper from Deocde Genetics hits an evolutionary angle from the first sentences: Reduced fecundity, associated with severe mental disorders, places negative selection pressure on risk alleles and may explain, in part, why common variants have not […]

“Science and technology” – then & now

Tyler points to a new story in The New York Times highlighting discoveries about the Antikythera mechanism: The new findings, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, also suggested that the mechanism’s concept originated in the colonies of Corinth, possibly Syracuse, in Sicily. The scientists said this implied a likely connection with the great Archimedes. … […]

Killing the consensus with one thousand cuts

Yesterday I finally finished Kenneth Pomeranz’s The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy. This was no easy read, even at only ~300 pages. Will Ambrosini characterized Greg Clark’s Farewell to Alms as a book length response to The Great Divergence, and I can see where he is coming from. […]

David Brooks Misses the Pink Elephant in the Room

Brooks sets out to share his wisdom on the root causes of America’s past success and why we’re faltering of late. He writes: As Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz describe in their book, “The Race Between Education and Technology,” America’s educational progress was amazingly steady over those decades, and the U.S. opened up a gigantic […]

The MSM on the new math/gender study.

Tabarrok nails it. Agnostic adds: Here’s a graph using the new study’s finding of same mean for males and females, and taking male to female ratio in variances to be 1.16 (they estimate it between 1.11 and 1.21). This is the ratio of a normal with mean = 0 and s.d. = 1.077 (male) to […]

Congratulations to John Hawks!

John Hawks is now a tenured professor at the University of Wisconsin, he’s announced in the inaugural post of a four-part series on academic blogging. The entire thing is well worth a read for anyone who hopes to end up in a similar situation.

Fisher on Epistasis: another Addendum

In my recent note on R. A. Fisher and epistasis, I mentioned that Fisher’s theory of the evolution of dominance relied on the epistatic effect of ‘modifier’ genes. On looking again at the chapter in The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection dealing with the evolution of dominance, I see that there is a more general […]

DARC and HIV: a false positive due to population structure?

The recent report that the Duffy null allele is associated with increased risk of HIV infection recieved a lot of press (see Razib’s comments on it here), mostly positive. In Nick Wade’s New York Times article on the paper, however, some smart people publicly express some doubts. It’s a tribute to Wade that he actually […]

The Inheritance of Inequality: Big Insight, Small Error

Gintis and Bowles have done great work cleaning up a lot of the discussion about cooperation, evolution, and economic outcomes. A Google Scholaring of their names turns up 14 items with over 100 citations, most of which would be well worth reading for GNXP regulars. But that said, in their 2002 Journal of Economic Perspectives […]

R. A. Fisher and Epistasis

My next note on Sewall Wright will cover the exciting subject of the adaptive landscape. As every schoolboy knows, Wright considered epistatic gene interactions very important in determining the ‘peaks’ of the landscape. A sharp contrast is sometimes drawn between Wright and R. A. Fisher in this respect. For example: Fisher believed that the process […]

Studying natural variation leads to interesting biology

Model organisms are models for a number of reasons: they’re relatively easy to work with in the lab, or there are a lot of experimental tools available, or maybe even simple interia. But given that they’re models and various neat mutagenesis assays are available for toying around with them, people often forget that even model […]

Against Latin

Sebastian Flyte has a critique of my overuse of Latin. One thing I do want to add is that it’s not all part of my “style,” I used to the term “thickly scaffolded” in the post Sebastian highlights to allude to thick description, which I assume some of you will know about. I guess I […]

Genetic Diversity and Economic Development: A Goldilocks Story

From Oded Galor and his promising grad student Quamrul Ashraf, another paper that ties together genes and group productivity. Their big result (Figure 5 below) is that a population cluster’s genetic heterozygosity has a Goldilocks relationship with population density in 1500AD: Too much heterozygosity (Sub-Saharan Africa) or too little heterozygosity (Americas) predicts low population density. […]

Regional differences in intelligence?

In the post below, Colder climates favor civilization even among Whites alone, I made a few comments about possible differences between Germans in Illinois and Germans in Texas, based on nothing much more than a hunch. I trust my hunches, but there’s no reason you should, so I decided to see if there was anything […]

Colder climates favor civilization even among Whites alone

Last year I had a crazy idea about how winged insects might influence civilization. I only pointed to winged insects as an exemplar, not to suggest a “Mosquito Theory of History” or something stupid and sexy like that. The reasoning is simple: insects are more likely to be winged in certain climates, and that means […]

Steve Sailer on Grand New Party

Steve’s review of Grand New Party is up. He suggests that much of GNP is laced with Sailerian wisdom; I think that’s a fairly plausible point, though Ross & Reihan might claim other sources for the derivation of particular observations or datum. I’ve read about 3/4 of Grand New Party. I don’t talk much about […]

CALHM1 and Alzheimer’s

It’s fun to read association studies published in Cell; the molecular biology community generally takes a massively different path to an association than the current “big science” approach of massive genome-wide studies. Case in point: a recent paper identifying a non-synonymous variant in a previously unannotated gene associated with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The approach the […]

Wine vs. beer

Stephen Bainbridge weighs in on the side of wine in its role as a catalyst for Civilization. The authors of He said Beer, She Said Wine engage in a more proximately relevant debate…. Labels: Finn baiting

A whirlwind tour of recent results in human popgen

In Scientific American. If you’ve been following this site, it’s old hat to you, but still. Via ALDaily. Labels: Population genetics