Monthly Archives: October 2012

Talkin’ ’bout their generations

According to the Decode results,  mothers contribute 15 mutations, regardless of age, while men contribute 25 + 2*(g-20) mutations, when g  is the average paternal age.  As I pointed out earlier, if g is the same in both sexes, the … Continue reading

Posted in Genetics | 8 Comments

Who could have known?

Now and then people experiment with changes in basic social arrangements.  They may institute polygamy, or start marrying their first cousins, or worse yet their sisters.  They may, as a society, decide that their brightest young women should waste their … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 30 Comments


As I understand it, in some circles,  there is a burgeoning hope that practice in this generation will somehow improve performance in the next – based on a word they have heard but do not understand. That word is epigenetics. … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 23 Comments


    In our book, I called lactose-tolerant people “mampires”,  mutants that live off the milk of another species.  I think this is a really neat word.  But I cannot take credit for it: it was invented by my son … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments

Base substitutions and deletions

According to Jim Crow”s 2006 article,  base substitutions are mostly (overwhelmingly) from males and increase with paternal age, but small deletions are contributed about equally by males and females, with no noticeable age effect. Probably the deletions happen during meiosis. … Continue reading

Posted in Genetics | 10 Comments

Black and White

  I ran into an interesting review of birth outcomes in biracial couples.  Relative risks (relative to white parents) went like this: WB      BW       BB 1.2        1.75      2.08               (for low birth weight) 1.17      1.37      1.78                (for preterm birth) … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 20 Comments

More to go wrong

About 1.5% of the genome codes for proteins, and we understand proteins (and the genetic code) well enough to analyze mutations in those coding regions.  About 70% of nucleotide changes in codons change the amino acid sequence. Most of those … Continue reading

Posted in Genetics | 21 Comments

Being the Dutch

When responding to the Census, more than five million Americans claim to be of Dutch descent.  And they mostly are, at least a little. Now you might wonder how they compare with the Dutch back in the Netherlands: you might … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 45 Comments