Why "Asian" mice have straight hair

By Razib Khan | June 25, 2008 1:17 am

Humans, being who we are, are really interested in how our external phenotype is shaped. Since the year 2000 many of the genetic underpinnings of the gross physical features which we use to categorize people, the sort of thing that might show up in a people description, have been elucidated. We know, for example, the genes which control variation in skin color to a first approximation at this point. It also seems that we’ve zeroed in on the primary gene responsible for eye color variation. Additionally, recently there’s been the discovery of the gene which seems to control East Asian hair form, EDAR. At my other weblog p-ter posts on a new paper, Enhanced ectodysplasin-A receptor (EDAR) signaling alters multiple fiber characteristics to produce the East Asian hair form. Go there for the summary and awesome picture of the “Asian” mice.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Genetics
  • Ian

    It used to be a kind of canard that the genome is blind to race, but we’re finding the truth now. Obviously such phenotypic differences have to originate somewhere in the genome!
    Are we approaching a point where criminal forensics will be able to give us the race of the perp if we have enough DNA to look at?
    More interestingly, are we approaching a point in the not-too-distant future where a person’s race can be chosen by the parents?

  • http://www.scienceblogs.com/gnxp razib

    Are we approaching a point where criminal forensics will be able to give us the race of the perp if we have enough DNA to look at?
    we’re pretty much already there. you can even tell if the perp has blue eyes with something like 90% certainty.
    More interestingly, are we approaching a point in the not-too-distant future where a person’s race can be chosen by the parents?
    i suspect cosmetics will do this quicker than genome engineering, but with complexion you know what type of loci to target.

  • Jason Malloy

    Are we approaching a point where criminal forensics will be able to give us the race of the perp if we have enough DNA to look at?
    We’ve had this ability for a number of years now.

  • Richard Eis

    More interestingly, are we approaching a point in the not-too-distant future where a person’s race can be chosen by the parents?
    Yes, but then the whole matter of race would not mean anything anymore. Something I personally cannot wait for.

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Gene Expression

This blog is about evolution, genetics, genomics and their interstices. Please beware that comments are aggressively moderated. Uncivil or churlish comments will likely get you banned immediately, so make any contribution count!

About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com

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