Archive for June, 2009

Genetics of Cape Coloureds

A few weeks ago I noticed that the Wikipedia entry for Cape Coloureds has little fleshed out information on their genetics. As a mixed population it seems that people would be interested, but has always been hard to find anything from Google Scholar on this topic. But the recent Tishkoff paper, The Genetic Structure and […]

My new blog about health, nutrition, and diet

Some readers here may already follow the food-related stuff I write about at my personal blog. Well, to allow myself to write more about diet, nutrition, and food in general, I’ve started a new blog called Low Carb Art and Science. Lord knows there are already lots of blogs that deal with the topic, but […]

From genome-wide association studies to molecular biology

One of the rationales advanced for the identification of common alleles that confer modest risk to a disease via genome-wide association studies is that these associations will lead to biological insight into the disease. Two papers published today represent an important first step towards this goal for a variant associated with colorectal cancer. Like many […]

Science of Bubbles

Long article in Scientific American, The Science of Economic Bubbles and Busts. H/T Calculated Risk.

Basa beats catfish

In False Economy: A Surprising Economic History of the World* there’s a chapter which covers “The Catfish War” between Vietnam and the United States in the early 2000s. Basically Vietnamese catfish were cheaper than American catfish, so American farmers got the government to force the Vietnamese to not label the fish catfish (it’s a different […]

Lamarckism: Lessons from History

In my recent post on Darwin’s mechanisms of evolution I was rather dismissive about the Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics (IAC), commonly known as ‘Lamarckism’. Darwin himself believed in the existence of IAC but gave it a relatively minor role in evolution. In comments on my post it was pointed out that there has recently been […]

Monopoly allows innovation to flourish

Updated This may be old hat for some readers, but it’s worth reviewing and providing some good new data for. The motivation is the idea that monopoly-haters have that when some company comes to dominate the market, they will have no incentive to change things — after all, they’ve already captured most of the audience. […]

Duffy and malaria in baboons?

So after my wingeing about the quality of genetic associations found through candidate gene studies, it’s only appropriate that I point to a fun candidate gene association study published this week in Nature. The interesting point here is that the organism isn’t humans, but rather baboons, and the phenotype is susceptibility to malaria. Briefly, the […]

Fat and tuberculosis

Obesity May Have Offered Edge Over TB: Over the course of human evolution, people with excess stores of fat have been more likely to survive famines, many scientists believe, living on to pass their genes to the next generation. But these days, obesity is thought to be harmful, leading to chronic inflammation and metabolic disorders […]

Class and opposition to teenage sex: A life history perspective

The GSS asks people about the morality of premarital sex between post-pubescent minors (TEENSEX): What if [a male and female] are in their early teens, say 14 to 16 years old? In that case, do you think sex relations before marriage are always wrong, almost always wrong, wrong only sometimes, or not wrong at all? […]


It’s hard out there being a reproductively fit couple

Why are most genetic associations found through candidate gene studies wrong?

In a recent post, I made a blanket statement that the vast majority of candidate gene association studies published in psychiatric genetics (actually, in nearly all fields of genetics) are wrong. I’m not just being offhandedly dismissive–below, I outline the statistical argument behind that claim. This discussion is cribbed almost verbatim from a discussion of […]

Religious people are breeding, producing more religion….(?)

I’ve pointed to the World Values Survey before. It comes in 5 waves spaced out over 2 decades, and has substantial, if not total, coverage. Additionally, for many non-developed countries the educational data to me suggest some high SES skew in terms of representativeness (though spot checking the American data that looks very representative, as […]

What Darwin Said – Part 2: Mechanisms of Evolution

This series of posts attempts to identify the key propositions of ‘Darwinism’, and assess their current standing. Part 1 dealt with ‘The Pattern of Evolution’. Part 2 considers the ‘Mechanisms of Evolution’. Darwin always regarded natural selection as the most important mechanism, but not to the exclusion of all other factors. The post has turned […]

Height changes in Germany

Growth and Puberty in German Children: Is There Still a Positive Secular Trend?: In Germany, as elsewhere in northern Europe, the upward secular trend in height is slowing (ca. 2 cm/decade up to the mid-20th century, currently less than 1 cm/decade), and the age at menarche has stabilized at just under 13 years. It remains […]

A blast from the eugenic past

You can browse free PDFs of the Statistical Abstract of the United States online going back over 100 years (under “Earlier Editions”). It is filled with data on population, commerce, education, and so on. Excellent for doing quantitative history — and not just boring things like how population size has changed over time. During the […]

TFR by class and nation

A reader pointed me to the Population Reference Bureau which has total fertility rates for women broken down by economic fifths. Unfortunately these data are limited to developing countries, but reader might be interested in any case. In no case do the women of the richest fifth have a higher fertility than the women in […]

NYT article on depression genetics

A family member just sent me this New York Times article on the recent failure to replicate a serotonin gene associated with depression in a meta-analysis by Risch and Merikangas. It gives a pretty good overview, but I think the article might be misleading in two ways: First, beginning with the title “Report on Gene […]

g in a monkey?

Readers might be interested in a new paper in PLoS ONE, General Intelligence in Another Primate: Individual Differences across Cognitive Task Performance in a New World Monkey (Saguinus oedipus): Individual differences in cognitive abilities within at least one other primate species can be characterized by a general intelligence factor, supporting the hypothesis that important aspects […]

Differences in fertility by class internationally

Update: See below…. The World Values Survey has a lot of data broken down by subjective social class. One of these asks how many children an individual has. So I thought it might be of interested to inspect WVS 5, generally taken around 2005, and compare differences by class in term of children. Of course […]