Category Archives: Genetics

mtDNA capers

There’s an interesting pattern in the mtDNA of archaic humans. Neanderthals have mtDNA that’s a lot closer to that of anatomically modern humans than to Denisovans, although Neanderthals and Denisovans are close if you look at nuclear DNA. While really … Continue reading

Posted in Archaic humans, Denisovans, Genetics, Neanderthals | 6 Comments

Economists and biology

Naturally, economists know a lot about human biology and evolution, just as civil engineers have to know about the properties of timber, concrete and steel. They have a good grounding in psychometrics, behavioral genetics, and quantitative genetics – how else … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Genetics | 134 Comments

Something else

Razib has talked about this – here’s what I think. The various sweeping alleles that have made Europeans and North Asians have light skin  were not favored because they helped you garner extra vitamin D, at least not mostly. This … Continue reading

Posted in Genetics, Skin color | 101 Comments

A common variant linked to chromosomal errors

A new paper in Science (Rajiv McCoy as main author) says that there’s a genetic variant, probably in the gene PLK4, that substantially increases the fraction of embryos with screwed-up chromosomes.  Mothers with the high-risk genotypes apparently have fewer embryos … Continue reading

Posted in Genetics | 23 Comments

Familial Mediterranean fever

FMF is a recessive hereditary disorder caused by mutations in MEFV, the gene for the protein pyrin. Pyrin, produced in white blood cells,  inhibits inflammation, and the FMF mutations unleash inflammation to varying degrees. The disease manifests in painful inflammatory … Continue reading

Posted in Ashkenazi Jews, Evolutionary Medicine, Genetics, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Faster than Fisher

There’s a simple model of the spread of an advantageous allele:  You take σ, the typical  distance people move in one generation, and s,  the selective advantage: the advantageous allele spreads as a nonlinear wave at speed  σ * √(2s).  … Continue reading

Posted in Denisovans, Dietary adaptations, European Prehistory, Evolutionary Medicine, Genetics, Indo-European, Linguistics, Neanderthals, Skin color | Tagged | 74 Comments

The Greatest Generation

When you compare our trifling selves with the generation that landed in Normandy, invented the atomic bomb, and wrote The Big Sleep, it doesn’t look good. You could easily get the impression that the United States went straight from a … Continue reading

Posted in Genetics | 108 Comments