linkfest – 06/23/13

Genetics, Puberty and African American Girls“Out of 42 SNPs associated with age at menarche in European women, 25 were also associated with the trait in African-American women, bolstering the evidence that these genes genetic variants are tied to menarche timing. However, they also found variants in eight regions of the genome that were more strongly associated with age at menarche in African-American women than in European-American women.”

Not getting the point“[A] scientific finding is not invalidated because its supporters are the wrong kind of people. It stands or falls on its own merits.” – from peter frost. see also john s. michael’s: Stephen Jay Gould and Samuel George Morton: A Personal Commentary part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.

APOL1 Variants – from greg cochran.

Context is crucial when it comes to mutations in genetic evolution“[A]n individual mutation can be beneficial if it occurs in combination with certain other mutations, but the same mutation can detrimental to the organism if it occurs in other combinations.” – via hbd bibliography!

The genome’s 3-D structure shapes how genes are expressed

Bacterial DNA in Human Genomes“A new study finds strong evidence that bacteria can transfer genes into human genomes, especially in cancer cells.”

Brain plasticity in adults and cognition“…an interesting result showing a genetic correlation between plasticity of cortex thickness and performance on psychometric tests.” – from john hawks.

Dog Genetics Spur Scientific Spat“Researchers disagree over the whens and wheres of canine domestication.” – woof.

Are Humans A Pair Bonding Species?“The bottom line is that people who claim lifelong monogamy is the natural state of humanity absent cultural interference are wrong, and people who claim free love is the natural state of humanity absent cultural constraints are also wrong.” – from heartiste.

Moderately Socially Conservative Darwinians“[E]volutionary psychology, rightly understood, reinforces the conservative lesson that we are not merely autonomous individuals but also social and relational beings.”

Good old fashioned family values, on which we used to rely – the awesome epigone looks at “the risk factors among women of becoming never-married single mothers by comparing non-whites to the non-Hispanic white rate of bastard birthing.”

Native American origins from whole-genome and exome data (Gravel et al. 2013) – from dienekes.

The Case of the Missing Ancestor“DNA from a cave in Russia adds a mysterious new member to the human family.” – on the denisovans.

Ancient Siberians may have rarely hunted mammoths“Study suggests Stone Age folk sporadically killed the beasts, primarily for ivory.”

News in Brief: Snails trace Stone Age trek from Iberia to Ireland“Genetic quirk linking snails in two distant areas suggests people brought escargot on migration to Emerald Isle.” – h/t chris davies!

Reverse Biological Engineering: Tinkering with Life Teaches Us How It Began [Excerpt]“In his new book, Creation, Adam Rutherford explores the emergence of synthetic biology and how it is not only leading to solutions for humanitarian problems but also unraveling the mystery of life’s origin.”

Autism Tied to Air Pollution, Brain-Wiring Disconnection

Skull music“Skull size, density and shape can influence the musical keys people hate…. People with similar-sized skulls tended to dislike the same melodies; for example, people with bigger skulls couldn’t stand the keys with higher frequencies.”original research article.

How Removing Trees Can Kill You“Having fewer trees around may be bad for your health.”

bonus: Anti-Immigrant and Anti-Euro, Germany’s Thilo Sarrazin Is Not Sorry“‘When [taboos] cease serving the cause of social politeness, and begin to interfere in the realms of knowledge, questioning, and discovery … they are useless.'”

bonus bonus: Why haven’t you moved to Detroit? – from foseti. (~_^)

bonus bonus bonus: David Auerbach on “The Crisis of the European Mind: 1680-1715”

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Big data meets the Bard

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: This Castle’s Toilet Still Holds Parasites From Crusaders’ Feces

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Here’s What Happens When You Light a Fire in Space

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: A Brief History Of The Demise Of Battle Bots – robot darwinism happened.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: informational chart – number of prominent eunuchs over run of game of thrones so far

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linkfest – 06/10/12

Consanguinity and Corruption“Computing simple, unweighted averages for each country for which studies and surveys have been conducted and subsequently recorded on consang.net and then comparing them to Transparency International’s 2011 Corruptions Perception Index yields a correlation of .44 (p = 0).” – from the awesome epigone! see also steve sailer.

Does cooperation require both reciprocity and alike neighbours? – the answer is yes: “The researchers conclude that human societies can best achieve high levels of cooperative behaviour if their individuals interact repeatedly, and if populations exhibit at least a minor degree of structure.” – in other words, if the members of a society are related to some degree.

Re-Examining the “Out of Africa” Theory and the Origin of Europeoids (Caucasoids) in Light of DNA Genealogyopen access [pdf].

An Asian Origin for Human Ancestors?“Researchers agree that our immediate ancestors, the upright walking apes, arose in Africa. But the discovery of a new primate that lived about 37 million years ago in the ancient swamplands of Myanmar bolsters the idea that the deep primate family tree that gave rise to humans is rooted in Asia. If true, the discovery suggests that the ancestors of all monkeys, apes, and humans—known as the anthropoids—arose in Asia and made the arduous journey to the island continent of Africa almost 40 million years ago.”

Exercise benefits black girls less than whites, study shows“Physical activity seems a nearly sure way to prevent obesity in white adolescent girls, but does not have the same effect on African American girls, researchers say…. The study … falls in line with research that finds black women oxidize fat more slowly in response to exercise, and that their resting metabolic rates are lower than those of white women.”

[White] Americans’ heads have been growing, scientists say“Over the last 150 years or so, it appears that skulls got narrower from side to side by about 5 to 7 millimeters, and higher from top to bottom by an average of nearly 10 millimeters, Jantz said. And the overall size of the head has, on average, increased by an amount equivalent to the size of a tennis ball, he said.”

Menstrual huts protect Dogon men from cuckoldry“Women who practise the traditional Dogon religion, unlike those who are Muslim or Christian, spend five days a month around the time of menstruation in a highly visible ‘menstrual hut’. Strassmann tested paternity in 1700 Dogon father and son pairs and found that those who practised the traditional religion were four times less likely to be raising someone else’s son than those who practised Christianity.”

Lady Liaisons: Does Cheating Give Females an Evolutionary Advantage?“‘This is one of the most careful and most robust studies to explore whether polyandry is adaptive in females,’ says Tommaso Pizzari, a University of Oxford biologist who was not involved in the research. ‘The answer is: not really.'” – at least not in canadian song sparrows.

bonus: Plants may be able to ‘hear’ others

bonus bonus: Parasitic plants ‘steal’ genes from their hosts

bonus bonus bonus: Skeletons treated for vampirism found in Bulgaria – vampires!

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linkfest – 02/20/11

Gonorrhea Acquires a Piece of Human DNA: First Evidence of Gene Transfer from Human Host to Bacterial Pathogen

Early Britons were cannibals who drank out of cups made from human skulls, horde of remains reveal

How can we enhance girls’ interest in scientific topics?“Results. Both studies indicated that the mean level of girls’ scientific interest was higher when scientific concepts were presented in the context of feminine topics and boys’ level of scientific interests was higher when scientific concepts were presented in the context of masculine topics.” see also: Lessons in cosmetic surgery and ordering clothes online ‘will help turn girls to science’

Study: Native Hawaiians at higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke at younger age

Forecasting Aggression“[C]ertain variables are good predictors that a child will develop aggressive behavior by adolescence. These predictors include poverty, changes in caregivers (as in foster care situations), childhood exposure to abuse and violence, parental substance abuse, maternal smoking during pregnancy, being male, having a lower IQ, and gravitating to conduct-disordered peers…. But all of them together account for only about 40 percent of the probability that a child will develop a conduct disorder in adolescence. What is missing?”

Why Autism Is More Common in Males: Testosterone Affects Gene – RORA.

Exclusive Interview with Prof. Frans De Waal

Too Sexy? Too Bad

Liberal bias: science writing’s elephant in the room?“Does the lack of political diversity among science writers and bloggers risk alienating large portions of the public?” (all the lefties are suddenly discovering that they’re biased! what IS the world coming to?)