Archives for posts with tag: diversity – not all it’s cracked up to be

Genetic Variation in the Nuclear and Organellar Genomes Modulates Stochastic Variation in the Metabolome, Growth, and Defense“Systems biology is largely based on the principal that the link between genotype and phenotype is deterministic, and, if we know enough, can be predicted with high accuracy. In contrast, recent work studying transcription within single celled organisms has shown that the genotype to phenotype link is stochastic, i.e. a single genotype actually makes a range of phenotypes even in a single environment. Further, natural variation within genes can lead to each allele displaying a different phenotypic distribution. To test if multi-cellular organisms also display natural genetic variation in the stochastic link between genotype and phenotype, we measured the metabolome, growth and defense metabolism within an Arabidopsis RIL population and mapped quantitative trait loci. We show that genetic variation in the nuclear and organeller genomes influence the stochastic variation in all measured traits. Further, each trait class has distinct genetics underlying the stochastic variance, showing that there are different mechanisms controlling the stochastic genotype to phenotype link for each trait.” – h/t kevin mitchell! who tweeted: Some genomes are ‘noisier’ than others – robustness of developmental outcome is itself a genetic trait.

Evolutionary pattern in the OXT-OXTR system in primates: Coevolution and positive selection footprints“It was previously believed that placental mammals present no variability in oxytocin (OXT). The present study reports novel data on the diversity of OXT and its receptor (OXTR) in primate species, including New World monkeys. Contrary to prior expectations, we found three novel OXT forms and several OXTR nonsynonymous changes not previously described. In the Cebidae family, signals of positive selection were found for an OXT variant at position 8, which is associated with larger litter sizes. We detected positive selection for OXTR forms and report a coevolutionary process between changes in OXT and OXTR.”

Effects of the demographic transition on the genetic variances and covariances of human life history traits“The recent demographic transitions to lower mortality and fertility rates in most human societies have led to changes and even quick reversals in phenotypic selection pressures. This can only result in evolutionary change if the affected traits are heritable, but changes in environmental conditions may also lead to subsequent changes in the genetic variance and covariance (the G matrix) of traits. It currently remains unclear if there have been concomitant changes in the G matrix of life history traits following the demographic transition. Using 300 years of genealogical data from Finland, we found that four key life history traits were heritable both before and after the demographic transition. The estimated heritabilities allow a quantifiable genetic response to selection during both time periods, thus facilitating continued evolutionary change. Further, the G matrices remained largely stable but revealed a trend for an increased additive genetic variance and thus evolutionary potential of the population after the transition.” – h/t ruben c. arslan!

Mapping granny: ancestry inference for admixed individuals“In the December issue of G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, Yang et al. describe a method for ancestry inference of admixed individuals that uses a geographic approach to explicitly model some of the messy realities of populations. Testing the new method on data from the Population Reference Sample project, the authors were able to localize the grandparents of admixed Europeans to within around 500 kilometres of their reported ancestry, while simultaneously identifying which segments of each person’s genome were inherited from each ancestor.”

Different neurodevelopmental symptoms have a common genetic etiology“Parents of all Swedish 9- and 12-year-old twin pairs born between 1992 and 2002 were targeted for interview regarding problems typical of autism spectrum disorders, ADHD and other neurodevelopmental conditions (response rate: 80 percent). Structural equation modeling was conducted on 6,595 pairs to examine the genetic and environmental structure of 53 neurodevelopmental problems. One general genetic factor accounted for a large proportion of the phenotypic covariation among the 53 symptoms. Three specific genetic subfactors identified ‘impulsivity,’ ‘learning problems,’ and ‘tics and autism,’ respectively.” – h/t jayman! who tweeted: More evidence for the p-factor. Common genetic factor underlies many mental disorders in study of all Swedish twins.”

Measuring missing heritability: Inferring the contribution of common variants“[T]he most reasonable hypothesis concerning ‘missing heritability’ is simply that larger sample size is required to find the many remaining alleles of small effect. Fisher’s infinitesimal model will turn out to be a good first approximation for most human traits.” – from steve hsu.

Self evident but unexplored – how genetic effects vary over time – from jason collins.

Mendelian and polygenic inheritance of intelligence: A common set of causal genes? Using next-generation sequencing to examine the effects of 168 intellectual disability genes on normal-range intelligence“Despite twin and family studies having demonstrated a substantial heritability of individual differences in intelligence, no genetic variants have been robustly associated with normal-range intelligence to date. This is largely ascribed to the high polygenicity of intelligence, i.e., to its being subject to the effects of a large number of genes of individually small effect. Intellectual disability, on the other hand, frequently involves large effects of single genetic mutations, many of which have been identified…. Using an existing pool of known intellectual disability genes, we constructed a set of 168 candidate genes for normal-range intelligence, and tested their association with intelligence in 191 individuals (aged 5–18) sampled from the high and low ends of the IQ distribution. In particular, we 1) employed exon sequencing to examine the possible effects of rare genetic variants in the 168 genes, and 2) used polygenic prediction to examine the overall effect of common genetic variants in the candidate gene set in a larger sample (N = 2125, mean age 20.4, SD = 14.1). No significant association between the candidate gene set and intelligence was detected.”

IQ and Birth Order Effects: Real? No – from jayman.

Educated parents more important than rich parents“Having a mobile phone, a video recorder and a game computer are associated with lower scholastic ability, and the only substantial positive correlation is with the number of books, and of course the cause may not be the books themselves, but the intellect and character of the families who choose to buy books.” – from dr. james thompson.

The inconsistency of studies of gender differences in cognitive abilities: due to using different methods? – from emil kirkegaard.

Familial Mediterranean fever – from greg cochran.

The etiologic role of genetic and environmental factors in criminal behavior as determined from full- and half-sibling pairs: an evaluation of the validity of the twin method“Heritability estimates for CB from full- and half-siblings closely approximated those found from twins in the same population, validating the twin method.” – h/t ben southwood! who tweeted: “N=1,005,471 study of Swedish siblings and half-siblings (reared together & apart) estimates criminal behaviour is 33-56% heritable.”

Genetic polymorphisms predict national differences in life history strategy and time orientation“Polymorphisms in three genes have been linked to aspects of life-history strategy. National frequencies of these polymorphisms form a strong single genetic factor. The genetic factor is strongly associated with national differences in life-history strategy. This association remains after controlling for national socioeconomic differences.”

Genetic clue points to most vulnerable children“Some children are more sensitive to their environments, for better and for worse. Now Duke University researchers have identified a gene variant that may serve as a marker for these children….” – h/t carlos esteban!

French lesson“Modern France is founded on Western principles of equality, human betterment, and universal morality. Anyone anywhere can become French. That view, the official one, seems more and more disconnected from reality.” – from peter frost.

Is Nothing Sacred? – thosewhocansee on the charlie hebdo killings.

Twin study suggests genetic factors contribute to insomnia in children, teens

Monkeys seem to recognize their reflections“Trained macaques studied themselves in mirrors, fuelling debate over animals’ capacity for self-recognition.”

Insights into hominin phenotypic and dietary evolution from ancient DNA sequence data“Nuclear genome sequence data from Neandertals, Denisovans, and archaic anatomically modern humans can be used to complement our understanding of hominin evolutionary biology and ecology through i) direct inference of archaic hominin phenotypes, ii) indirect inference of those phenotypes by identifying the effects of previously-introgressed alleles still present among modern humans, or iii) determining the evolutionary timing of relevant hominin-specific genetic changes. Here we review and reanalyze published Neandertal and Denisovan genome sequence data to illustrate an example of the third approach.”

A New Antibiotic That Resists Resistance

There is A Scientific Reason That Cold Weather Could Cause Colds“The rhinovirus that most commonly causes colds likes chillier temperatures, where the host’s immune system doesn’t fare so well…. [W]e now know that covering your nose might actually help it stay cold-free, in more than one way.” – yes! fiiiiinally!

Remains of long-dead viruses in our genomes aid our immune response

Skip Your Annual Physical“Regardless of which screenings and tests were administered, studies of annual health exams dating from 1963 to 1999 show that the annual physicals did not reduce mortality overall or for specific causes of death from cancer or heart disease…. [S]creening healthy people who have no complaints is a pretty ineffective way to improve people’s health. If you screen thousands of people, maybe you’ll find tens whose exams suggest they might have a disease. And then upon further tests, you’ll find it is really only a few individuals who truly have something. And of those individuals, maybe one or two actually gain a health benefit from an early diagnosis. The others may have discovered a disease, but one that either would never have become clinically evident and dangerous, or one that is already too advanced to treat effectively. For instance, early detection of most thyroid cancers leads to surgery, but in many cases those cancers would not have caused serious problems, much less death. Conversely, for individuals whose annual exams lead to the diagnosis of esophageal or pancreatic cancer, the early diagnosis might extend the time they know they have cancer but is unlikely to extend their lives.” – h/t jason collins!

Variation in cancer risk among tissues can be explained by the number of stem cell divisions“Some tissue types give rise to human cancers millions of times more often than other tissue types. Although this has been recognized for more than a century, it has never been explained. Here, we show that the lifetime risk of cancers of many different types is strongly correlated (0.81) with the total number of divisions of the normal self-renewing cells maintaining that tissue’s homeostasis. These results suggest that only a third of the variation in cancer risk among tissues is attributable to environmental factors or inherited predispositions. The majority is due to ‘bad luck,’ that is, random mutations arising during DNA replication in normal, noncancerous stem cells.”

Germs May Play Key Role in Wound-Induced Skin Cancer

Race and Police Killings: Additional Thoughts – from robert verbruggen who tweeted: “Three data sets now show that racial disparities in police shootings can be explained by violent crime rates.”

In Search of an Association Between Conception Risk and Prejudice [pdf] – h/t lars penke! who tweeted: “4 large studies (1 pre-reg) by @BrianNosek et al. fail to replicate menstrual cycle effects on racial biases.”

The Strange Inevitability of Evolution“Good solutions to biology’s problems are astonishingly plentiful…. [T]wo crucial things about the RNA sequence space. First, there are many, many possible sequences that will all serve the same function. If evolution is ‘searching’ for that function by natural selection, it has an awful lot of viable solutions to choose from. Second, the space, while unthinkably vast and multi-dimensional, is navigable: You can change the genotype neutrally, without losing the all-important phenotype. So this is why the RNAs are evolvable at all: not because evolution has the time to sift through the impossibly large number of variations to find the ones that work, but because there are so many that do work, and they’re connected to one another.” – h/t billare!

Skeptic’s Guide to Debunking Claims about Telomeres in the Scientific and Pseudoscientific Literature – h/t richard harper!

Mathematicians refute oft-cited ‘diversity trumps ability’ study“‘Diverse groups of people bring to organizations more and different ways of seeing a problem and, thus, faster/better ways of solving it,’ Page told The New York Times in 2008. ‘The reason: the diverse groups got stuck less often than the smart individuals, who tended to think similarly,’ Page said. ‘What the model showed was that diverse groups of problem solvers outperformed the groups of the best individuals at solving problems.’ But Thompson’s paper in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society systematically dismantles Page’s sophistic mathematics.”

Easter Island’s Demise May Have Surprising New Explanation“The downfall of Easter Island may have had more to do with preexisting environmental conditions than degradation by humans….”

13,000 Year Old Cosmic Impact Actually Just a Stone Age House Fire

bonus: Deep bacteria may evolve even without passing genes on“Bacteria living hundreds of metres below the seafloor carry more genetic changes than their peers nearer the surface – even though the deep microbes are unlikely to reproduce and undergo natural selection in its traditional sense…. The results show – for the first time, Briggs thinks – that the bacterial genomes change with depth: the micro-organisms at 554 metres carry more mutations in genes that code for energy-related processes like cell division and biosynthesis of amino acids than are seen in their shallower counterparts…. [I]f you take evolution in its broader sense to mean genetic changes across the population, then it might be occurring even without cell division, says Briggs. That’s because in theory, bacteria in these environments grow so slowly that they may survive for hundreds of thousands of years. Individual bacteria might have begun life at the seafloor before being gradually buried, over a period of thousands of years, as more sediment accumulated at the bottom of the sea. If so, perhaps the bacteria now at 554 metres were rare cells in the initial population that have now come to dominate because the other cells, which didn’t carry their genetic mutations, have all died.”

bonus bonus: Insights into the evolution of longevity from the bowhead whale genome“The bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) is estimated to live over 200 years and is possibly the longest-living mammal. These animals should possess protective molecular adaptations relevant to age-related diseases, particularly cancer. Here, we report the sequencing and comparative analysis of the bowhead whale genome and two transcriptomes from different populations. Our analysis identifies genes under positive selection and bowhead-specific mutations in genes linked to cancer and aging. In addition, we identify gene gain and loss involving genes associated with DNA repair, cell-cycle regulation, cancer, and aging. Our results expand our understanding of the evolution of mammalian longevity and suggest possible players involved in adaptive genetic changes conferring cancer resistance. We also found potentially relevant changes in genes related to additional processes, including thermoregulation, sensory perception, dietary adaptations, and immune response.”

bonus bonus bonus: A Museum’s Butterfly Emerged Half Male, Half Female“The rarity is like a natural experiment that tells scientists how genes and hormones interact to produce different sexes.”

(note: comments do not require an email. bowhead whale!)

Ancient DNA Unravels Europe’s Genetic Diversity“Ancient DNA recovered from a time series of skeletons in Germany spanning 4,000 years of prehistory has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern-day Europeans. The study, published today in ‘Science’, reveals dramatic population changes with waves of prehistoric migration, not only from the accepted path via the Near East, but also from Western and Eastern Europe.” – orig. research article: Ancient DNA Reveals Key Stages in the Formation of Central European Mitochondrial Genetic Diversity. from dienekes: “Anyone adhering to a ‘pots not people’ paradigm will find difficult to explain the sharp discontinuities found in the genetic record.” – and here’s national geographic’s take on the story – my head’s dizzy from all the spin!: “So, just like parts of Europe today are melting pots from different living cultures across the world, Europe is also a melting pot of genetic lineages from different prehistoric cultures that lived there at different periods of time.” – see also: Stone Age farmers, hunters kept their distance.

Genes Suggest European Women at Root of Ashkenazi Family Tree“The women who founded the Ashkenazi Jewish community of Europe were not from the Near East, as previously supposed, and reinforces the idea that many Jewish communities outside Israel were founded by single men who married and converted local women.” – see dienekes and greg cochran.

[Genetic] Link to Oetzi the Iceman found in living Austrians – AWESOME!

Child Behaviour: Not In Their Genes?“Using a powerful approach called GCTA, King’s College London researchers Maciej Trzaskowski and colleagues found no evidence that genetics can explain differences in children’s behavioural and conduct difficulties.” – @neuroskeptic.

“Were the First Artists Mostly Women?“Three-quarters of handprints in ancient cave art were left by women, study finds.” — afaics, there’s no reason to conclude that the individuals who spray painted outlines of their hands (any idiot can do that — I could do that!) were the same individuals who painted the horses and lions, etc. duh. anyway, here’s the interesting bit from the article: “[T]he hands in the caves were much more sexually dimorphic than modern hands, meaning that there was little overlap in the various hand measurements. ‘They fall at the extreme ends, and even beyond the extreme ends,’ Snow said. ‘Twenty thousand years ago, men were men and women were women.'”

Glass always half-empty? Your genes may be to blame“UBC researcher finds some people are genetically predisposed to seeing things in a negative light. Further research is also planned to explore the gene variant’s occurrence across different ethnic groups. While it is believed more than half of Caucasians have ADRA2b, some studies suggest it is much less prominent in other ethnicities….”

Whites More Prone to Certain Heart Condition Than Other Ethnic Groups“In a study to be published online October 8 and in the November 12 issue of ‘Circulation’, researchers discovered that self-described non-Hispanic whites are more likely to develop atrial fibrillation than people from other race or ethnic groups. ‘We found that consistently, every other race had a statistically significant lower risk of atrial fibrillation compared to whites…. So this suggests that white race is itself a risk factor for atrial fibrillation.'” – h/t mr. mangan, esq!

Evolution and Bad Boyfriends

Neurons Fire Backward in Sleep“Unusual brain cell activity may underlie memory streng…” wait. NEURONS FIRE BACKWARD IN SLEEP! cool.

Changes in women’s attractiveness perception of masculine men’s dances across the ovulatory cycle: Preliminary data“Women’s preferences for putative cues of genetic quality in men’s voices, faces, bodies, and behavioral displays are stronger during the fertile phase of the ovulatory cycle. Here we show that ovulatory cycle-related changes in women’s attractiveness perceptions of male features are also found with dance movements, especially those perceived as highly masculine.”

Similar chimpanzees form friendships“‘We found that, especially among unrelated friends, the most sociable and bold individuals preferred the company of other highly sociable and bold individuals, whereas shy and less sociable ones spent time with other similarly aloof and shy chimpanzees,’ says the researcher. The researchers argue that such a strong preference for self-like individuals is probably adaptive, because frequent cooperation becomes more reliable when both partners have similar behavioural tendencies and emotional states. This finding strongly resembles the known ‘similarity effect’ in humans: We tend to make friends with people who are equally extraverted, friendly and bold as ourselves.” — same in some birds, too, remember?

All you ever wanted to know about intelligence (but were too bright to ask) Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 – from dr. james thompson.

Social Status and Anger Expression: The Cultural Moderation Hypothesis“Individuals with lower social status have been reported to express more anger, but this evidence comes mostly from Western cultures…. Americans with lower social status expressed more anger…. Japanese with higher social status expressed more anger….” – maybe there’s a biological explanation? – h/t neuroskeptic!

Life Purpose Buffers Negative Moods Triggered by Diversity“Being in the minority in an ethnically diverse crowd is distressing, regardless of your ethnicity….” – h/t mr. mangan, esq!

Neandertals ate stomach goop, and you can too – mmmmm! chyme!

Study: Narcissists Only Think They’re Especially Creative“Narcissistic people do undertake more creative things, but their correlation with self-reported creativity is disproportionately strong.” – h/t jayman! – speaking of narcissts: The Double-Edged Sword of Grandiose Narcissism: Implications for Successful and Unsuccessful Leadership Among U.S. Presidents.

The Whites of Their Eyes“The subjects in [milgram’s] experiments notoriously (and shockingly!) were willing to inflict great pain and possibly permanent harm or even death on victims. But they became less willing to do so as the victim was moved progressively closer to them.”

Meritocracy and Its Discontents – @thosewhocansee.

The Paekchong of Korea – from peter frost.

Tribal feuds, local conflicts engulf Libya“Ever since its revolution, Libya has been riddled with tribal conflict. The state remains powerless in the face of weapon proliferation and violence. Societal fragmentation seems inevitable.” — huh. strange.

The Anglosphere miracle – by daniel hannan – “As for the idea that the individual should be as free as possible from state coercion, this is regarded as the ultimate Anglophone fetish. Whenever the E.U. extends its jurisdiction into a new field—decreeing what vitamins we can buy, how much capital banks must hold, what hours we may work, how herbal remedies are to be regulated—I ask what specific problem the new rules are needed to solve. The response is always the same: ‘But the old system was unregulated!’ The idea that absence of regulation might be a natural state of affairs is seen as preposterous.”

A Second Great Depression? – from jayman.

Cheaters always prosper, to a point

Ancient Sundial Discovered In Bronze Age Ukrainian Grave Is Oldest Of Its Kind

Why a medieval peasant got more vacation time than you – d*mn them! h/t mike anissimov!

I tooke a bodkine“‘I tooke a bodkine,’ he wrote in his notebook, ‘& put it betwixt my eye & bone as neare to [the] backside of my eye as I could: pressing my eye [with the] end of it…there appeared severall white & darke & coloured circles…which circles were plainest when I continued to rub my eye [with the] point of [the] bodkine.’ After many months with his bodkins, notebooks and prisms he came to the conclusion that our eyes can deceive us even about something as obvious as daylight, which appears plain and simple to us, but is in fact composed of lights of many different colours. Appearances can conceal as much as they reveal.” – great #longread about isaac newton.

Length of pregnancy can vary by up to five weeks, scientists discover

Preventing penile fractures and Peyronie’s disease – DON’T try this at home!: “In some Middle East regions, men engage in a practice known as *taqaandan* (‘to click’ in Kurdish), explains Dr. Javaad Zargooshi, urology professor at Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences in Iran. It’s a painless process, similar to knuckle-cracking, in which the top half of an erect penis is bent forcefully while the rest of the shaft is held stationary. Usually this produces only a loss of erection and a satisfying popping noise, says Zargooshi, who published a report on the phenomenon in December in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Other times, it will fracture the penis.” – wait. what? – via ed west!

Aldeburgh dig unearths teenager’s ‘keepsakes’ box“An Anglo-Saxon teenage girl’s box of trinkets is thought to have been uncovered by archaeologists during a three-week dig in Suffolk.”

bonus: How the Western Banksta System Kills Millions (by accident)

bonus bonus: True scale of European immigration“An EU study has found 600,000 unemployed migrants are living in Britain.”

bonus bonus bonus: Does Some Deeper Level of Physics Underlie Quantum Mechanics? An Interview with Nobelist Gerard ’t Hooft and You probably have no free will. But don’t worry about it.

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Swifts stay airborne for six months at a time – whoa!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Southern Flying Squirrels Land in Canada“Southern flying squirrels are moving into the habitat of Northern flying squirrels. Now people are debating what to call the hybrid offspring.” — illegal infiltrators! (~_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. really sweet bronze anglo-saxon dolphin trinket!)

Monkey brain area keeps count of kindnesses“The primates have an altruistic ‘tally chart’ that keeps track of social rewards and gifts.” – mine’s on an excel spreadsheet. (~_^)

Are Babies Born Good?“New research offers surprising answers to the age-old question of where morality comes from.”

Xenophobia Upside: Ethnic And Religious Diversity Correlated To Less Environmental Action“Scandinavian countries, low in ethnic and religious diversity, take more collective action than more diverse nations, like the UK, China and the United States.” – reminiscent of putnam’s findings [pdf]. via amren.

It’s not the cads, it’s the tramps – from jayman.

Latin Americans Most Positive in the World“Singaporeans are the least positive worldwide” – from gallup.

Fluctuating environment may have driven human evolution

Shape of human hand may have evolved for fighting, scientists say

Birdsong study pecks at theory that music is uniquely human“‘[T]he same neural reward system is activated in female birds in the breeding state that are listening to male birdsong, and in people listening to music that they like….’ For male birds listening to another male’s song, it was a different story: They had an amygdala response that looks similar to that of people when they hear discordant, unpleasant music.”

Virtual women reveal more skin, regardless of body proportions“71% of male avatars covered between 75-100% of their skin, while only 5% of females did. In contrast, 47% of the virtual females they studied covered between 25-49% of their skin, compared to 9% of males.”

Indonesia’s Islamic spirit of tolerance“Indonesia is rather middling in terms of attitudinal religious tolerance.” – from the awesome epigone.

Are fathers necessary? – @mangan’s.

DNA of Sandy Hook killer Adam Lanza to be examined for ‘evil’ gene in first study of its kind ever conducted on a mass murderer“The study of the killer’s DNA has been ordered by Connecticut Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver who carried out the post mortems on all the victims. He has contacted geneticists at University of Connecticut’s to conduct the study.”

bonus: Judeo-Christian, Not So Much – from assistant village idiot.

bonus bonus: No heir to run the company? Why adult ‘adoption’ is big business in Japan

bonus bonus bonus: Why Do We Blink So Frequently?“[B]riefly closing our eyes might actually help us to gather our thoughts and focus attention on the world around us.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Even in same vineyard, different microbes may create variations in wine grapes“Yeast species may cause differences in otherwise identical grapes from the same vineyard.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Buried Christian Empire Casts New Light on Early Islam“Archeologists are studying the ruins of a buried Christian empire in the highlands of Yemen.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Unsexing the Language“Every day, the left is beavering away at the language. Fight back. Proudly use such sentences as ‘Man is a mammal so he suckles his young.'” – heh! i love jared taylor. (^_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. second life hos.)

a day late. sorry! sometimes sh*t just happens. (~_^)

Ethnic disparities in breast cancer survival remain despite socioeconomic similarities“All-cause survival was worse for African-Americans and better for Latinas and Asian-Americans compared with non-Latina whites after adjusting for age, study and tumor characteristics. When the researchers additionally adjusted for treatment and reproductive and lifestyle factors, they found that African-Americans had similar survival rates to non-Latina whites, but the survival rates of Latinas and Asian-Americans remained better.”

Diversity may be fatal, says new government health study“[P]eople suffer less cancer and heart disease when they live among their racial or ethnic peers.” – via mangan’s.

If Smart Is the Norm, Stupidity Gets More Interesting“Human intelligence varies.” – you don’t say?! (it’s in the nyt, believe it or not!)

Do Intelligent People Drink More Alcohol? – yes. yes, we do. (*hic*)

A detour through Europe?“The lithic technology of southwestern France (c. 22,000-17,000 BP) strangely resembles that of the first paleo-Amerindians (c. 12,000). Some people speculate that early Europeans reached North America by crossing the Atlantic. The truth is even more incredible. Early Europeans spread eastward and became the ancestors not only of the Amerindians but also of East Asians.” – from peter frost.

Secular change in the B/W IQ gap (in the US) – from chuck. see also steve sailer.

Penis size and infant mortality – from the autistic nerdling epigone.

Placebo effect may be ‘down to genes’“Those with a particular version of the COMT gene saw an improvement in their health after placebo acupuncture.”

The Evolution of Female Bisexuality – from jayman.

Pitch Perfect: It’s All In The Genes” – maybe/prolly. see also you, too, can have perfect pitch!

Hispanic Bio-Diversity: A Primer – from nelson.

Smoking causes asthma in second generation offspring – epigenetic effects in rats.

Epigenetic inheritance is a wild goose chase“Epigenetics matters, but not between generations.”

Appearance-based politics: Sex-typed facial cues communicate political party affiliation – republican women more feminine looking than democrat women.

Men better multi-taskers than women: study

Who Would Win in a Fight: a Modern Human or a Neanderthal?“We beat them at evolution. But what about fisticuffs?”

The Island Where People Forget to Die“[P]eople on Ikaria were, in fact, reaching the age of 90 at two and a half times the rate Americans do. (Ikarian men in particular are nearly four times as likely as their American counterparts to reach 90, often in better health.) But more than that, they were also living about 8 to 10 years longer before succumbing to cancers and cardiovascular disease, and they suffered less depression and about a quarter the rate of dementia.”

bonus: More Intelligent Birds (Like More Intelligent Humans) Have Evolutionarily Novel Preferences

bonus bonus: Electric Bugs: New Microbe Forms Living, Deep-Sea Power Cables

bonus bonus bonus: New study sheds light on how and when vision evolved“Opsins, the light-sensitive proteins key to vision, may have evolved earlier and undergone fewer genetic changes than previously believed….”

(note: comments do not require an email. intelligent bird.)

today, some classics (and soon-to-be classics?):

Latitude, elevation and the tempo of molecular evolution in mammals“[B]ecause climatic variables change with latitude and elevation in a similar manner, our results suggest that climate has influenced the tempo of genetic change in mammals…. These findings provide new insights into microevolution that are likely to have important implications for understanding global patterns of biodiversity and diversification.”

An Asian perspective on early human dispersal from Africa“Asia might not have been the passive recipient of whatever migrated out of Africa but might have been a major donor to speciation events, as well as dispersals back into Africa. Such two-way traffic is well documented for other mammals in the Pliocene and Early Pleistocene, such as Equus and bovids, with more taxa migrating into than out of Africa. There is no reason why hominin migrations were always from Africa into Asia, and movements in the opposite direction might also have occurred, as has been suggested for the Olduvai OH9 (refs 13, 58) and Daka specimens. We should even allow for the possibility that H. ergaster originated in Asia and perhaps explain its lack of an obvious east African ancestry as the result of immigration rather than a short (and undocumented) process of anagenetic (in situ) evolution (Dennell and Roebroeks 2005:1100-1101).” – see also: Did Early Humans First Arise in Asia, Not Africa?

Recent acceleration of human adaptive evolution“It is sometimes claimed that the pace of human evolution should have slowed as cultural adaptation supplanted genetic adaptation…. Cultural changes have reduced mortality rates, but variance in reproduction has continued to fuel genetic change. In our view, the rapid cultural evolution during the Late Pleistocene created vastly more opportunities for further genetic change, not fewer, as new avenues emerged for communication, social interactions, and creativity.” – hawks, wang, cochran, harpending & moyzis.

Innate Social Aptitudes of Man: An Approach from Evolutionary Genetics [opens pdf] – w.d. hamilton.

How obedience of marriage rules may counteract genetic drift“Continuous unilateral or bilateral cross-cousin mating, reflecting the most common form of prescribed marriage, increases homozygosity but at the same time slows down considerably the loss of gene diversity due to genetic drift.”

It’s All Relative: Race as partly inbred extended family – from steve sailer.

Human genetic diversity: Lewontin’s fallacy [opens pdf] – “In popular articles that play down the genetical differences among human populations, it is often stated that about 85% of the total genetical variation is due to individual differences within populations and only 15% to differences between populations or ethnic groups. … This conclusion, due to R.C. Lewontin in 1972, is unwarranted because the argument ignores the fact that most of the information that distinguishes populations is hidden in the correlation structure of the data and not simply in the variation of the individual factors.”

Discerning the Ancestry of European Americans in Genetic Association Studies“Here we mine much larger datasets (more markers and more samples) to identify a panel of 300 highly ancestry-informative markers which accurately distinguish not just northwest and southeast European, but also Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.”

Genes predict village of origin in rural Europe“After excluding close kin and inbreeding, village of origin could still be predicted correctly on the basis of genetic data for 89–100% of individuals.”

E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century [opens pdf] – “New evidence from the US suggests that in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods residents of all races tend to ‘hunker down’. Trust (even of one’s own race) is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friends fewer.” – robert putnam.

The Misguided Advocates of Open Borders“Rising diversity within human societies tends to drive people apart, causing them to take sanctuary in individual pursuits and ethnic communities. The practical consequences are reduced public altruism or social capital, evident in falling volunteerism, government welfare for the aged and sick, public health care and a general loss of trust. Ethnic diversity is second only to lack of democracy in predicting civil war. Globally it correlates negatively with governmental efficiency and prosperity.” – frank salter.

Why g Matters: The Complexity of Everyday Life [opens pdf] – linda gottfredson.

State IQ estimates (2009) – from the awesome epigone.

Inbreeding depression and IQ in a study of 72 countries [opens pdf]. see also Consanguinity and national IQ scores.

American Murder Mystery“Why is crime rising in so many American cities? The answer implicates one of the most celebrated antipoverty programs of recent decades.” – h/t anonymous.

bonus: Ethnic differences: Variation in human testis Size – jared diamond.

bonus bonus: Late Middle Eocene primate from Myanmar and the initial anthropoid colonization of Africa

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here are the results of the world values survey‘s civicness questions for france (2006) by region.

these data cover whites in france only. i’m pretty sure that doesn’t include north africans (berbers/arabs from algeria, for instance) because literally just a couple of the white respondents said they were muslims. so these data should really represent mostly ethnic french folks, with maybe some other europeans thrown in here and there. unlike in the post for spain, the samples sizes for all the (NUTS) regions of france were 50+. the pale yellow highlights indicate the region that had the highest score for a particular question (click on charts for LARGER views):

here’s a map of the average civicness scores for each region. note that, while the color scheme here is the same one i used on the map of spain, the scale is different. for instance, the least civic region in france (paris) is more civic than the most civic region in spain (catalonia):

the first thing to notice is that the civicness scores for ethnic french folks are lower than those of the anglo world across the board — often a lot lower. the french scores are lower than those of great britain (which i haven’t broken down by region/ethnicity yet — you’re next, g.b.!) — and, except for membership in a sport/recreation organization, lower than those for white americans. for example, in 2006, 17.10% of white americans said they were active members of a political party, while only 2.60% of whites in france said so.

wrt the flatlanders vs. mountain people theory, it looks to me as though the mountain dwellers of france, all of whom have a recent history of close matingthe auvergnats, those in alpine regions, and populations in the east, like in parts of lorraine — prove to be true to form in being less civic than the more lowland regions further to the west:

the most civic region of france — “paris east” (captain picardy, champagne-ardenne, and burgundy) — apart from being something of a lowland region, also appears to have been a part of early medieval austrasia. the population of this area is, therefore, likely, due to the “invention” of manorialism in this region, to have had one of the longest histories of outbreeding/nuclear family structures in nw europe. (however, as charles donahue has shown, during the medieval period, the people of this region practiced arranged marriages much more often than in england during the same time period, so marriage wasn’t quite as “free” historically in this region as amongst the english.)

the least civic region of france is paris — but, of course, paris is a thoroughly multi-cultural city, and so its residents probably suffer from putnam’s lack of trust [opens pdf] that arises naturally in diverse societies.

the next least civic region of france is nord-pas-de-calais which is also multi-cultural in its own way being comprised historically of both french and flemish speakers. (there are also, apparently, a lot of other europeans, and more recent immigrants from africa/latin america, living in the region.) again, diversity does not normally make for civic societies.

it might also be that the french flemings, like their distant neighbors/cousins(?) the frisians, had a longer history of inbreeding than other populations in northern france. i’m not sure about that since i don’t have any mating info on the french flemings — and i don’t know, either, what sort of territory they traditionally occupied (was it swampy like the frisians? and did they, therefore, miss out on manorialism like the frisians?).

oh — and remember how french canadians don’t seem to be very civic or trusting/charitable compared to anglo-canadians? well, isn’t it interesting that the same holds true for french people in france vs. anglos? and remember where in france most of the ancestors of french canadians hailed from? — the area outlined in red on this map? that is smack in the middle of a slightly upland, not-so-very civic region in france today: “paris west” at 8.93%.

previously: civic societies and civicness in the u.s. by race and the flatlanders vs. the mountain people and meanwhile, in france… and the auvergnat pashtuns and medieval manoralism and the hajnal line and “l’explication de l’idéologie” and more on medieval england and france and what’s up with french candians? and canadiens and canadiens again

(note: comments do not require an email. frenchman.)

ethnic enclaves are bad. if you want to keep people alive and prevent ethnic conflict, that is.

a couple of real world examples…

first, guatemala. in “Spatial and Temporal Patterns in Civil Violence: Guatemala 1977-1986,” timothy gulden found, amongst other things, that [pg. 29]:

The amount of killing in a municipality was correlated with its ethnic mix….

“The distribution of ethnic population among municipalities was highly polarized and the distribution U-shaped, as suggested by the gray bars in the histogram presented as Figure 3.

“Thus, at both ends of this histogram, where one group or the other [ladinos vs. mayans] represented more than 90 percent of a local population, and also in the middle, where neither group was more than 75-percent dominant, killings of Mayans, the principal victims, were fewer.”

here’s the histogram:

more from gulden [pg. 34]:

The ethnic mix histogram showed the greatest number of killings in municipalities with predominantly Mayan populations, but fewer killings in the most heavily Mayan areas. This pattern might have been produced by an attempt to clear Mayans from mixed Mayan-Ladino areas but a disinclination to do the same, to attempt ‘ethnic cleansing,’ in the Mayan heartland. The ethnic mix histogram also showed a small rise in killings where Mayans were between 10 and 25 percent of the population. Minority populations of such proportions might somehow have threatened or annoyed a local Ladino majority without effectively restraining it. Members of the smallest Mayan populations were safer; they might typically have been individual servants or laborers, with or without families, well known to Ladino employers.”

re. switzerland and the former yugoslavia — from an article i posted about the other day, “Good Fences: The Importance of Setting Boundaries for Peaceful Coexistence”, the authors found that, in both switzerland and the former yugoslavia, there was the least amount of ethnic conflict in those areas where topographical and/or political boundaries clearly separated different linguistic, religious and/or ethnic groups, but where there were porous borders, there was more conflict. the former situation is more characteristic of switzerland on the whole, while the latter characterizes the former yugolavia, ergo more ethnic conflict in the former yugoslavia [pgs. 10-12]:

“Our work clarifies the ambiguities of mixed language and religion Swiss cantons by showing that in most cases the natural geography of the populations conspires to lead to a low level of violence, so that additional boundaries were not necessary; where they were needed, as in Graubunden, they were established. The highest calculated propensity to violence is between linguistic groups in the northern part of the canton of Bern, where historically unresolved real world tensions actually exist. Our analysis indicates that both administrative and natural barriers can play a significant role in mitigating conflict between religious and linguistic groups. Historical evidence suggests that for religious groups the boundaries in Switzerland were created to provide autonomy to a group with a shared identity and avoid conflict among multiple groups. Ongoing efforts to reduce tensions in Bern include introducing new political boundaries. The many political, social and economic factors that play roles in reducing violence build on a strong foundation of geographical borders.

diversity is strength … in killing games. =/

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