Category Archives: Uncategorized

Understanding EDAR

The east Asian EDAR mutation is screwy: it does too many things. It causes increased scalp hair thickness, shovel-shaped incisors, an increase in the number of eccrine sweat glands, and smaller breasts. Which of these seem likely to confer a … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 29 Comments

The Wrong Path

Turning Pygmy hasn’t turned out to be a very good long-run strategy. All such populations have big problems.  First, they’re vastly outnumbered by peoples that adopted agriculture.  Second, they’re short – shorter than their farmer neighbors –  and generally that … Continue reading

Posted in Pygmies, Uncategorized | 73 Comments


A recent paper in PNAS talks about the  evolution of the Pygmies – or, more exactly, the Pygmy phenotype, because it seems to have happened independently in the Biaka Pygmies (west Africa) and the Batwa pygmies of Uganda.  The two … Continue reading

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I can’t afford to think about that.

Once upon a time, a young geneticist was applying for a position at the University of New Mexico.  I believe he said something about the Ashkenazi hereditary diseases.  Someone on the faculty,  known to be susceptible to crimethink, asked him … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 166 Comments

Physics Today

I noticed an article in Physics Today, about educational techniques in physics. A couple of psychologists from Stanford were working with Carl Wieman,  talking about how to improve physics achievement in historically under-represented groups.  Seldom have have I seen such … Continue reading

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Cystic Fibrosis

A friend of mine once had an encounter with a fairly prominent geneticist* who thought that there was only one clear example of heterozygote advantage in humans – sickle-cell.  Of course that is not the case: we know of a … Continue reading

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At Least Erroneous in Faith

A large collection of prominent geneticists has published a group letter to the New York Times Book Review endorsing a negative review of Nicholas Wade’s “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History.” They speak of “Wade’s misappropriation of research … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 180 Comments