Search Results for 'heritability'

The total information world

November 28, 2013 | By | 5 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving (if you are an American)! It’s been a busy few days in the world of personal genomics. By coincidence I have a coauthored comment in Genome Biology out, Rumors of the death of consumer genomics are greatly exaggerated (it was written and submitted a while back). If you haven’t, please read the FDA’s […]

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The color of life as a coincidence

November 13, 2013 | By | 6 Comments

I do love me some sprouts! Greens, bitters, strong flavors of all sorts. I’ve always been like this. Some of this is surely environment. My family comes from a part of South Asia known for its love of bracing and bold sensation. But perhaps I was born this way? There’s a fair amount of evidence […]

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Taboo genetic truths

October 3, 2013 | By | 8 Comments

There has been a lot of attention to Erika Check Hayden’s piece Ethics: Taboo genetics, at least judging by people commenting on my Facebook feed. In some ways this is not an incredibly empirically grounded argument, because the biological basis of complex traits is going to be rather difficult to untangle on a gene-by-gene basis. […]

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Perspectives on being a father

June 16, 2013 | By | 15 Comments

It’s been about a year and a half since I officially became a father. I put the official qualifier there because I knew I was going to become a father about two years ago, and many of the psychological changes probably began then. My own reflections and lessons are obviously influenced by my own specific […]

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Intelligence is still heritable

June 12, 2013 | By | 60 Comments

Modern evolutionary genetics owes its origins to a series of intellectual debates around the turn of the 20th century. Much of this is outlined in Will Provines’ The Origins of Theoretical Population Genetics, though a biography of Francis Galton will do just as well. In short what happened is that during this period there were […]

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How the race, intelligence, and genetics question will semi-resolve within the next 10 years

May 28, 2013 | By | 98 Comments

Prompted by my post Ta-Nehisi Coates reached out to Neil Risch for clarification on the nature (or lack thereof) of human races. All for the good. The interview is wide ranging, and I recommend you check it out. Read the comments too! Very enlightening (take that however you want). When it comes to this debate […]

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Why are taller people more intelligent?

April 11, 2013 | By | 53 Comments

Update: First, people coming to this weblog for the first time should know that I moderate comments. So if you leave an obnoxious one it’s basically like an email to me (no one will see it). Second, the correlation between height and intelligence is not that high. This association is probably not going to be […]

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Schizophrenia about genetics

March 25, 2013 | By | 8 Comments

The genetics of schizophrenia is a fertile if fraught topic. But I won’t be discussing that in this post. Rather, I want to put the spotlight on a peculiar contradictory and illogical tendency in the contemporary American Zeitgeist: the gene is all-powerful, and the gene is irrelevant. The same people who raise eyebrows with skepticism […]

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Pigmentation: the simplest of complex traits not so simple?

March 24, 2013 | By | 6 Comments

One of the pitfalls about talking about genetics, especially human genetics, is that the public wants a specific gene for a specific trait. Ergo, the “God gene” or the “language gene.” In some cases science has been able to pull a rabbit out of the hat, and offer up a gene for a trait. But […]

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Revisiting the architecture of evolution

March 5, 2013 | By | 2 Comments

An old argument going back to the origins of theoretical population genetics has to do with the nature of the genetic effects which control traits and are subject to change in allele frequency due to adaptation. Often these are bracketed as part of the controversies between R. A. Fisher and Sewall Wright (see Sewall Wright […]

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Words rule life (?)

January 24, 2013 | By | Add a Comment

As an aside in a fascinating City Journal piece on educational policy, A Wealth of Words: Vocabulary doesn’t just help children do well on verbal exams. Studies have solidly established the correlation between vocabulary and real-world ability. Many of these studies examine the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), which the military devised in 1950 as […]

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Let’s get a little behavior genetic

January 16, 2013 | By | Add a Comment

In Slate there is an important piece up, The Early Education Racket, which attempts to reassure upper middle striving types that it isn’t the end of the world if their children don’t get into the right preschool. It is important because there are many people out there with lots of money (or perhaps more accurately, […]

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Laura Hercher convinces me there is no non-self interested case for genetic paternalism

January 16, 2013 | By | Add a Comment

Over at David Dobbs’ weblog Laura Hercher has a guest post up with the heading The Case for Selective Paternalism in Genetic Testing. Here are some relevant sections: Which brings me back to this issue of paternalism. I agree that it makes no sense to put up obstacles for inquisitive and motivated individuals who wish […]

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Gene surfing with David Dobbs

December 18, 2012 | By | Add a Comment

Over at National Geographic David Dobbs of Neuron Culture has an eminently readable and engrossing piece up, Restless Genes. I have never really read about ‘allele surfing’ on the wave of demographic expansion in the way that Dobbs’ rendered it. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to produce that sort of spare but informative prose. […]

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Inflammatory bowel syndrome is nature’s side effect

November 4, 2012 | By | 5 Comments

Last week Luke Jostins (soon to be Dr. Luke Jostins) published an interesting paper in Nature. To be fair, this paper has an extensive author list, but from what I am to understand this is the fruit of the first author’s Ph.D. project. In any case, you may know Luke because I have used his […]

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A golden age of sibling comparisons

October 27, 2012 | By | 11 Comments

Image credit: Assumption-Free Estimation of Heritability from Genome-Wide Identity-by-Descent Sharing between Full Siblings I really love the paper Assumption-Free Estimation of Heritability from Genome-Wide Identity-by-Descent Sharing between Full Siblings. I first read it about six years ago. The result is rather straightforward, but the problem is empirically a moderately deep one. Modern analytic genetics as […]

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You don’t need “genes” for genetics

October 12, 2012 | By | 17 Comments

After yesterday’s post I feel it is important again to reiterate that there is an unfortunate tyranny of the gene-as-physical-entity when it comes to our understanding of human heredity. To clarify what I mean, I think it is useful to borrow a framework from Andrew Brown. On the one hand you have a conventional modern […]

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A plea for population genetics

October 10, 2012 | By | 7 Comments

The title here is somewhat misleading. This is not just a plea for population genetics, but for quantitative genetics as well. Genetics is a big field. But today it is defined by and large by DNA, the concrete entity in which the abstraction of the gene is embedded. Look at the header of this website, […]

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Distributing the origins of human will

October 7, 2012 | By | 20 Comments

In The New York Times David P. Barash writes about how parasites might influence our behavior. This should not be too shocking an idea to readers of this weblog, I’ve blogged about Toxoplasma gondii before, on which there has been a raft of publications over the past 10 years or so. My main issue is […]

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Predicting someone's face: look at their parents

September 14, 2012 | By | 6 Comments

A few years ago there was a paper out which illustrated that standard Galtonian method of regression of offspring upon parents still predicted height far better than the most modern genomic techniques. The issue is that height is a quantitative trait whose variation is controlled by variants at hundreds, and likely thousands, of loci. Generating […]

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