Economist: The looming crisis in human genetics

Discussion in 'Economy' started by Neotrotsky, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. Neotrotsky
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    Neotrotsky Council to Supreme Soviet

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    Economist: The looming crisis in human genetics

    The Economist:

    Human geneticists have reached a private crisis of conscience, and it will become public knowledge in 2010. The crisis has depressing health implications and alarming political ones. In a nutshell: the new genetics will reveal much less than hoped about how to cure disease, and much more than feared about human evolution and inequality, including genetic differences between classes, ethnicities and races.

    n 2010, GWAS fever will reach its peak. Dozens of papers will report specific genes associated with almost every imaginable trait—intelligence, personality, religiosity, sexuality, longevity, economic risk-taking, consumer preferences, leisure interests and political attitudes. The data are already collected, with DNA samples from large populations already measured for these traits. It’s just a matter of doing the statistics and writing up the papers for Nature Genetics. The gold rush is on throughout the leading behaviour-genetics centres in London, Amsterdam, Boston, Boulder and Brisbane.

    We will also identify the many genes that create physical and mental differences across populations, and we will be able to estimate when those genes arose. Some of those differences probably occurred very recently, within recorded history. Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending argued in “The 10,000 Year Explosion” that some human groups experienced a vastly accelerated rate of evolutionary change within the past few thousand years, benefiting from the new genetic diversity created within far larger populations, and in response to the new survival, social and reproductive challenges of agriculture, cities, divisions of labour and social classes. Others did not experience these changes until the past few hundred years when they were subject to contact, colonisation and, all too often, extermination.

    If the shift from GWAS to sequencing studies finds evidence of such politically awkward and morally perplexing facts, we can expect the usual range of ideological reactions, including nationalistic retro-racism from conservatives and outraged denial from blank-slate liberals. The few who really understand the genetics will gain a more enlightened, live-and-let-live recognition of the biodiversity within our extraordinary species—including a clearer view of likely comparative advantages between the world’s different economies.
     
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  2. Old Rocks
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    Odd, I fail to see how a differance in genetics translates into a economics.

    Historically, there have been times that each race was at the forefront of civilization. So how does that fit the theory of genetic superiority?

    It will be very useful to see what genetics are associated with various human traits, however, the interaction of the human genome is complex enough that I seriously doubt that we will have predictive powers for an individual concerning mental and physical abilities within the life time of anyone on this board. Except for obvious genetic defects.
     
  3. Neotrotsky
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    I suppose one could argue that certain traits may help in different economic situations.
    competitiveness; risk taking, innovation etc

    Look at modern man vs Neanderthals
    Neanderthals were around for a long time; but their tools never really changed over time
    They are gone

    Nor does genetic take into account the role nurture can play
     
  4. Old Rocks
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    You are quite wrong. The neanderthals tools did change over time. Their diet did not. Homo Sap learned to eat just about anything during the bottleneck from the eruption of Toba. So when the climate switched back and forth rapidly toward the end of the last ice age, the large mammals that the Neanderthals depended on died out, and they died out as their prey disappeared.
     
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    Meaty appetites may have caused Neanderthal extinction

    Plants and animals have contrasting isotopic ratios, so when these are eaten they leave different signatures in a Neanderthal's bones. And because the bones grow slowly, the signature represents a 10 to 20-year average of the individual's diet, not just their last meal.

    The researchers "calibrated" the analyses by comparing the Neanderthal bone ratios with those from contemporaneous animals at the top (bears) and bottom (bison) of the animal food chain.

    The ratios showed that the Neanderthals were top-level predators, getting about 90% of their protein from meat. Previous research shows this sometimes included cannibalism. The rest of the protein would have come from nuts and grains.
     
  6. Neotrotsky
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    Well I said changed much- the issue is not degree. True in the beginning the tools of Neanderthals and modern man were similar. but, no doubt modern man had a technological advantage that "paid off" in the long run. Again, this is not saying one is dumb or better; it just had a comparative advantage.




    Again, but not to digress from the original question


    your original post said you did not see how genetics could play a role.

    I was only suggesting a possibility of how they may- Mind you this in no way is a claim of proof; it is just a suggestion.
     
  7. kyzr
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    Does this mean that the government will start doing real-time societal engineering by limiting some traits from reproducing while encouraging others to create offspring?

    The way it is now, the dumber ones do nothing but make babies that they can't afford, so they end up in prisons or as criminals. The more intelligent ones don't reproduce as much because they realize what the can afford.
     
  8. Neotrotsky
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    How do think the Democrats keep their base going?
    :eusa_whistle:
     
  9. uscitizen
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    Neanderthals just work in insurance commercials now.
    And of course football.
     
  10. Truthmatters
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    much ado about nothing I suspect
     

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