Genetics

Gene Expression

Category archives for Genetics

A new paper in PLoS, Rapid Assessment of Genetic Ancestry in Populations of Unknown Origin by Genome-Wide Genotyping of Pooled Samples: Many association studies have been published looking for genetic variants contributing to a variety of human traits such as obesity, diabetes, and height. Because the frequency of genetic variants can differ across populations, it…

I’m hearing about rumblings at 23andMe, and not in a good way. The company made a big splash a few years ago, and came highly recommended by friends (e.g., “They know their science, and have a bottomless pool of money”). This story at BNET got my attention though, and confirmed what many have been hinting…

As you know lactase persistence (LP), which confers the ability to digest lactose sugar as an adult, is an evolutionarily recent development. On the order of 1/3 of the human population exhibits LP, due to a variety of genetic mutations which seem to arise in the cultural background of the domestication of cattle. Some have…

Of Polar Bears & People

I have pointed to the fact that mtDNA genetics has suggested that the polar bear is actually a derived lineage of brown bears. And, more specifically, that some extant lineages of brown bears share a more recent common ancestor with polar bears than other brown bears. In other words, brown bears are paraphyletic. Apparently there…

A few days ago I pointed to a paper which suggests the possible utility of looking at selection on standing genetic variation on quantitative traits to get a sense of the role of adaptation in the human genome. We humans like to think we’re a complex species, so I see no a priori reason why…

Check out Dr. Dan MacArthur’s assessment of the Pacific Biosciences presentation at the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology conference. Also check out Genetic Inferences take on AGBT (yes, they’re really original with catchy blog names at the Sanger Institute!). In any case, a friend of mine was raving about Pacific Biosciences a few months…

Quantitative genetics strikes back! (?)

The Genetics of Human Adaptation: Hard Sweeps, Soft Sweeps, and Polygenic Adaptation: There has long been interest in understanding the genetic basis of human adaptation. To what extent are phenotypic differences among human populations driven by natural selection? With the recent arrival of large genome-wide data sets on human variation, there is now unprecedented opportunity…

The IGF1 small dog haplotype is derived from Middle Eastern gray wolves: Background A selective sweep containing the insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) gene is associated with size variation in domestic dogs. Intron 2 of IGF1 contains a SINE element and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) found in all small dog breeds that is almost entirely…

Evolution, genetics & behavior

Two posts for your consideration. On the Less Wrong weblog, Babies and Bunnies: A Caution About Evo-Psych. I am not one to make blanket dismissals of “evolutionary psychology.” But, there are structural problems with the strong incentives toward generating hypotheses at the equipoise of novelty and intuitive plausibility. In other words, much of the evo-psych…

An interesting exchange in Nature on ways to conceptualize the evolution of virulence. First, Adaptation and the evolution of parasite virulence in a connected world: Adaptation is conventionally regarded as occurring at the level of the individual organism, where it functions to maximize the individual’s inclusive fitness…However, it has recently been argued that empirical studies…