‘Rare’ Gene Common in African Descendants, May Contribute to Heart Disease – “Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have found that a genetic variation that is linked to increased levels of triglycerides — fats in the blood associated with disorders such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and stroke — is far more common than previously believed and disproportionally affects people of African ancestry…. The finding offers a clue as to why Africans and people of African descent have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes compared to many other populations, says the study’s senior author, Dr. Ronald Crystal, chairman of genetic medicine at Weill Cornell. African Americans with the variant had, on average, 52 percent higher triglyceride levels compared with blacks in the study who did not have the variant…. The gene variant the scientists studied is a single point mutation — a replacement of one of DNA segment with another — in the ApoE gene, which carries fats and other molecules through the blood.” – h/t hbd bibliography!
A gene mutation for excessive alcohol drinking found – “UK researchers have discovered a gene that regulates alcohol consumption and when faulty can cause excessive drinking…. [M]ice with a genetic mutation to the gene Gabrb1 overwhelmingly preferred drinking alcohol over water, choosing to consume almost 85% of their daily fluid as drinks containing alcohol…. Dr Quentin Anstee, Consultant Hepatologist at Newcastle University, joint lead author said: ‘It’s amazing to think that a small change in the code for just one gene can have such profound effects on complex behaviours like alcohol consumption.’“ – see also Firewater from greg cochran.
Predicting Human Body Height from DNA – “Predicting tall stature from these 180 DNA variants resulted in an accuracy of 0.75 on a scale from 0.5 (meaning random prediction) to 1.0 (completely accurate prediction). ‘Although the achieved DNA-based prediction accuracy for tall stature is still somewhat lower than we previously established for eye color, hair color and age,’ said Kayser, ‘I expect that upcoming new knowledge on height genetics will further increase the accuracy in predicting tall stature, and eventually the full range of body height, from DNA.’”
Study Connects Dots Between Genes, Human Behavior – “The team studied individuals with a rare disorder known as Williams syndrome. By measuring neural activity in the brain associated with the distinct language skills and facial recognition abilities that are typical of the syndrome, they showed that Williams is due not to a single gene but to distinct subsets of genes, hinting that the syndrome is more complex than originally thought.”
Different Gene Expression in Male, Female Brains May Help Explain Brain Disorder Differences – “UCL scientists have shown that there are widespread differences in how genes, the basic building blocks of the human body, are expressed in men and women’s brains. Based on post-mortem adult human brain and spinal cord samples from over 100 individuals, scientists at the UCL Institute of Neurology were able to study the expression of every gene in 12 brain regions…. They found that the way that the genes are expressed in the brains of men and women were different in all major brain regions and these differences involved 2.5% of all the genes expressed in the brain.” – h/t heartiste!
Only two genes maketh the man…or mouse – “The defining genetic feature of maleness, the Y chromosome, contains only two genes that are absolutely essential for male function – at least in mice.” – “male function” = producing sperm, apparently. and taking out the garbage of course. (~_^)
Male facial masculinity as a cue to health outcomes – “Although both attractiveness and rated health were associated with better actual health in the past and future (mainly indexed by lower antibiotic use), results were mixed for masculinity. With respect to respiratory illnesses, facial masculinity (assessed using morphometric techniques) was associated with better past health but with worse future health.” – h/t hbd bibliography!
HPV: Sex, cancer and a virus – “Human papillomavirus is causing a new form of head and neck cancer — leaving researchers scrambling to understand risk factors, tests and treatments.” – h/t john durant!
Meat, egg and dairy nutrient essential for brain development – “Asparagine, found in foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy products, was until now considered non-essential because it is produced naturally by the body. Researchers at the University of Montreal and its affiliated CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital found that the amino acid is essential for normal brain development. This is not the case for other organs.”
Another Look at ‘The Rise of the West’ – But With Better Numbers – “The North Sea begins to diverge from the rest of Europe long before the ‘West’ begins its more famous split from ‘the rest….’ [W]e can pin point the beginning of this ‘little divergence’ with greater detail. In 1348 Holland’s GDP per capita was $876. England’s was $777. In less than 60 years time Holland’s jumps to $1,245 and England’s to 1090. The North Sea’s revolutionary divergence started at this time.” – from t.greer.
When it comes to diversity, most of us vote with our feet – “Liberals are almost as likely to flee diversity as conservatives, according to new research by Prof Eric Kaufmann for Demos. Some 61 per cent of white people who were ‘very comfortable’ with mixed marriages (the best indicator of views on race) moved to whiter areas during the period, compared to 64 per cent of those who were ‘fairly uncomfortable’.” – from “utterly sh** in every way”ed west.
Race, Race, Race, Race, Race, Race, Race, Race, Race – “*Race is real*. In aggregate, human populations *differ*. Because of those differences, their interests can differ, too — and that can lead to various kinds of unpleasantness. Birds of a feather, whether we approve or not, still tend to flock together.” – from malcolm pollack.
Atheists get sweaty when daring God – “When you get anxious or emotionally aroused, you sweat. Not a lot, but enough to be detected using electrodes on the finger tips. And it turns out that if you take a bunch of atheists, and get them to dare god to do horrible things, they get sweaty.” – heh! (really small sample size, tho.) – h/t anatoly!
In Israel, a Push to Screen for Cancer Gene Leaves Many Conflicted – “The country has one of the highest rates of breast cancer in the world, according to a World Health Organization report. And some leading scientists here are advocating what may be the first national screening campaign to test women for cancer-causing genetic mutations common among Jews — tests that are already forcing young women to make agonizing choices about what they want to know, when they want to know it and what to do with the information.”
Here’s why wine snobs should probably be called bacteria snobs – “Differences in wine quality between vineyards have long been attributed to processing techniques and seasonal variation. But research now suggests that regional differences between wines are shaped by microbes — specifically, fungi and bacteria. Cultivating certain grape microbes may actually improve wine flavor.”
bonus bonus bonus: Economics of Violence: What would it cost you if you didn’t fight back? – “In my 30 years of researching violence, every victim of violence who lived to tell the tale said they had a ‘bad feeling’ before the actual attack…. If an alarm goes off, respond to it. Got a bad feeling? Address it. Something nagging at you? Stop and look into it. Don’t ignore these signals. Don’t rationalize and mentally correct them. Don’t dismiss them without assessing them. Your body is built for survival and one of its hard-wired systems is designed to alert you to danger.” – h/t mr. mangan, esq!
bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: We’d rather eat turkey – “Thanksgiving is that very special holiday when we take a break from our hectic everyday lives to spend quality time with our loved ones, rediscovering all the reasons why we don’t actually live with them.” – (~_^) – from dave barry.