Open Thread, 7/14/2013

By Razib Khan | July 14, 2013 12:43 pm

Mid-July is here. Time flies. Also, if you haven’t check out PubChase if you need something to manage your papers and give you recommendations.

MORE ABOUT: Open Thread
  • AntonioMeucci

    How does one distinguish between the following variety of shared ancestral exposure and direct gene associations (especially given the PTSD-IQ link): Prereproductive Stress to Female Rats Alters Corticotropin Releasing Factor Type 1 Expression in Ova and Behavior and Brain Corticotropin Releasing Factor Type 1 Expression in Offspring

    • razibkhan

      from what i have seen most of these studies use cases (exposed to stress) and controls (not exposed). just get a big pool where the two are not genetically distinct. should do the trick.

  • TheBrett

    Assuming liability on a cell phone account is a pain in the butt

    . . . But aside from that, I read the news about scientists growing a very small liver counterpart for humans. It’s great news, although I wonder about the time table for growing a larger one – lizards can re-grow their tails (for example), but it’s slow and takes up a huge chunk of their lives. Imagine if it took 25 years for you to re-grow a lost arm. You might just say, “Forget that” and go with the artificial limb.

    • razibkhan

      looks like growing spare organs might be a generation away. but that’s not THAT long.

      • TheBrett

        Or printing them, like with the non-functional kidney that Anthony Atala’s team did (they’ve also printed some functional hollow organs for transplant). If they could figure out how to print a biocompatible copy of the “framework” they get from a dead person’s organ after washing it with certain chemicals, then we might even be able to do mass transplants on that stuff.

        Organs seem like just a start. If you can do them, then you can probably print/grow meat in a vat for consumption, create replacement limbs to be attached, and do stuff like printing quality wood.

        Then there’s the weird stuff. I think the New York Times had a good article about how we’ve gotten better at creating viable pig organs for transplant into people, including pigs that have been genetically modified so that their organs don’t raise as much rejection issues.

  • Stan Tsirulnikov

    I wanted to share this in the “Caucasian” post but I didn’t think it was relevant….

    My family moved to the States from the USSR in the early 90s. My Dad’s side is Georgian and Jewish (which is why we were allowed to emigrate). He later told me that the first time he was labeled as “Russian” was when he moved to America. In the USSR, he was always “Jewish.”

    • razibkhan

      not uncommon for jews from eastern europe. e.g. in hungary they were jewish, not hungarian. in america they become hungarians who happen to be jewish

  • Robert Ford

    Razib, is there any *conceivable* risk of introducing something like this modified chestnut tree (or any actual crop we might eat) into the wild? I don’t think I’ve ever read a concrete example of something bad that even *could* happen. I noticed that even a tree needs federal approval before being planted in the wild.

    • razibkhan

      everything is conceivable in biology :-) plausible? even marginally probable?

      • Robert Ford

        yeah, i guess i just mean *what* would really happen? what are the feds testing for when they approve something? they just feed it to some rabbits to make sure they don’t die? how much harm could a gene do? it’s just proteins that get dissolved by our stomachs, right?

        • razibkhan

          i agree with your sentiment. see how gene therapy is treated by the FDA vs. how drugs are treated….

  • T. Greer

    Razib, ever heard of/reviewed any of the works by Emmanuel Todd?

    His most important book published in English is probably:

    Craig Willy recently wrote a (9,000 word) introduction on his theory of modernity:

    Todd strikes me as one of the most interesting thinkers in the field of world history and his kind of stuff seems right up your alley. Would love to hear what you think of it.

    • razibkhan

      heard of. not reviewed. i’ll put this stuff in my ‘stack.’ but i need 2 pass my qualifying exams soon, so we’ll c how much out-of-field reading i get done for the next few months…

  • Robert Ford

    I posted this video on reddit and people seemed to like it quite a bit.

  • genobollocks

    You wanted to bet on stereotype threat, I said it’s only fair to you, if there is a pre-registered study. Turns out we’re lucky:

    However, 1. it’s about Asian Americans and females, not about African Americans.
    2. The authors do not disclose details except saying it’s a replication with a larger sample. Since the original study (–stereotype%20susceptibility.pdf) is ridiculously low-powered, this is not sufficient for me to expect this study to be adequately powered (which I would define as a sample of >1084 according to a quick calculation with G*Power). We could contact the authors and ask for more details.

    Still on? I am not affiliated (or even known) to the authors.

    • razibkhan

      i’m willing to put money where my mouth is. busy next few days but let me actually put up a short post so that it’s bookmarked for all.

      • genobollocks

        Maybe contact the authors first, otherwise it’s a bit of a letdown if the sample turns out to be still too small. I’m having a bit of trouble finding a good estimate on what is our best available estimate of the Asian American stereotype boost, so maybe you or we can just ask them how they calculated the necessary sample size and we deem this proper or not. From what I calculated back-of-the-envelope, a cell size from 200 to 500 might be in order depending on moderators.


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

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


See More


RSS Razib’s Pinboard

Edifying books

Collapse bottom bar