Friday Fluff – September 9th, 2011

By Razib Khan | September 9, 2011 10:13 am


1) Post from the past: Introgression in wolves & dogs.

2) Weird search query of the week: “any gay iranians to shag.”

3) Comment of the week, in response to Twin studies are not useless:

It’s interesting that one of the San genomes had a non-standard FOXP2 SNP.

I am wondering if this can be a sequencing error? Because if it’s not, it’s huge. For it is not just some non-standard SNP but a full blown missense mutation, a potentially drastic one, too – L558P. That position is in the forkhead DNA binding domain, close to protein-DNA interface, likely to be critical for maintaining local structure. It seems to be absolutely conserved in mammals (I checked: monkeys, elephants, hamsters). All that in a protein that has only three amino acid residue differences between mouse and human and it’s either a sequence error or a mutation that ought to have huge functional consequences.

4) And finally, your weekly fluff fix:

  • John Hawks

    Could be a sequencing error but I doubt it given that the SNP calling algorithms are pretty conservative. But I haven’t seen the raw data.

  • Cris

    This is perfect — the last sentence of your wolves/dogs post reminded me of something that Professor Hawks wrote about some years ago.

    Here is your sentence: “The important points here are that more than on locus needs to be looked at, and, hybridization does not imply that the two populations lose their distinctive characters.”

    When I read this, I was thinking about the American bison and hybridization with cattle. Have you ever seen an F1, F2, or F3 cross?

    In the late nineteenth century, bison numbered no more than a few or several hundred, and at least one relict population was hybridized, though without any noticeable expression or effects today.

    Some genetic purists bemoan this but I remember Professor Hawks saying it was a good thing. I agree.

    Have you ever looked into this issue or do you know anyone who has? I’d be interested in reading papers on how the bison was hybridized and the genetic status of the population(s) today.

  • stillwaggon

    Wikipedia has an article on beefalo/cattalo.


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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


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