Human Genetics

Mike the Mad Biologist

Category archives for Human Genetics

A problem in genome-wide association studies (“GWAS”) is the”missing heritability” issue–identified genetic variation can only account for a small fraction of the estimated genetic contribution to variation in that trait. Razib has a good roundup of several explanations (and I added some speculation about nearly-neutral mutations). GWAS also have problems accurately characterizing the trait. For…

A while ago, I described how previous decisions allowing the patenting of human genes–and thereby making cheap, affordable diagnostics impossible–flew in the face of the goal of federally-funded research. There’s no reason to patent something and charge thousands of dollars for something a high school student could do (PCR and sequencing). From The NY Times…

A while ago, economist Paul Krugman described the institutional loss of knowledge in the discipline of economics:

A recent paper in PLoS argues that variation in genes that regulate dopamine (5-HTTLPR) and serotonin neurotransmission (DRD4) influences financial risk taking: at the 5-HTTLPR gene, one homozygous form (two identical copies or alleles) took on 28 percent less risk, while those who had the ’7-repeat’ form of the DRD4 gene took 25 percent more…

Is Bisphenol A Responsible for Obesity?

According to the Boston Globe, bisphenol A levels lower than those found in 93% of people led to obesity in mice:

Fumarase Deficiency and Gay Marriage

With Massachusetts having prevented the attempt to de-legalize gay marriage, there is much discussion about the topic. But this story about a splinter Mormon group highlights the importance of outlawing one type of marriage: marriages between close relatives. By way of Lance Mannion, from Reuters (italics mine):

I like much of Matt Yglesias’ writing. But he still doesn’t appreciate how science and evolution affect public policy issues. As many of you know, three out of ten Republican presidential candidates stated that they don’t believe in evolution at one of the presidential debates. Yglesias comments on Huckabee’s response:

You might not know this, but your body produces a whole bunch of antibacterial compounds, one of which is lactoferrin. It’s found in breast milk and mucosal substances such as tears and saliva. Lactoferrin hasn’t really been investigated as a medical antibiotic because many disease-causing bacteria (e.g., E. coli) also live on (and in) people…

Over at Pandagon, Pam’s aunt had her ancestry traced using mitochondrial DNA (‘mtDNA’). The results given to her aunt were that she is: 51% Sub-Saharan Africa (she didn’t get any information as to country) 37% European (we have known ancestry in Ireland and England) 12% Native American (likely a NY or Connecticut tribe; we thought…