Monthly Archives: August 2014

We Three Kings

A recent article says that 40% of Chinese Y-chromosomes originated from 3 men in the late neolithic.  This pattern,  fantastic success for a particular paternal lineage, has been seen before, with the Golden Family (descendants of Genghis Khan) and the … Continue reading

Posted in Genetics | 54 Comments


There’s a new paper out on the genetic prehistory of the Canadian Arctic. Basically, it says that existing Eskimos replaced a genetically different population less than 700 years ago, and that those earlier Paleo-Eskimos (Dorset culture) represent yet another separate … Continue reading

Posted in Amerindians, Eskimo | 69 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 Uncategorized | 92 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

Posted in Uncategorized | 105 Comments

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 | 174 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

Posted in Uncategorized | 95 Comments

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

Posted in Uncategorized | 79 Comments