Sometimes when I see treatments of the history and development of evolutionary genetics from outsiders I notice how jargon creeps into their descriptions in a way that’s not adding much value. For example, several times over the past year I’ve seen people refer to how one can construct genetic clusters using “haplotypes.” The fact is that haplotypes are not necessary for the construction of genetic clusters; any form of genetic variation will do. Haplotypes can add something of value, but they’re not necessary. Terms such as “haplotypes” or “SNPs” might percolate into broader public discussion, but too often it seems that they’re used like the term Abracadabra!, an incantation.
But it did get to me thinking, how common has utilization of the term haplotype become in the scientific literature? When asking a question like this I did what I usually do: go to Google Scholar and see how many hits I get for a term by year. As you can see the use of the term levelled off in the mid-2000s, as the HapMap took off and became part of the background furniture of human population genomics.
Here’s the raw data….