Stephen Beecroft wrote:

> -Marc-
> > Within-population differences among individuals account for 93
> > to 95% of genetic variation; differences among major groups
> > constitute only 3 to 5%. Nevertheless, without using prior
> > information about the origins of individuals, we identified
> > six main genetic clusters, five of which correspond to major
> > geographic regions, and subsclusters that often correspond to
> > individual populations.
> What?! Is this suggesting the outrageous proposition that
> commonly-defined racial characteristics are <gasp!> genetically based?

That's not what they're suggesting. They say that naturally those people who are
descended from black Africans will have a certain set of features in common. We
recognize that and refer to them as "blacks," which is meant to be a neutral, more
respectful form, I guess.  And those genes for the broadened nose, thick lips and
fuzzy hair are naturally passed on from one generation to the next. What the
article is saying is that the historical background of a population -- and he
gives examples of bizarre places I'd never heard, like a group in NW Pakistan, who
are of Indo-European descent (linguistically and ethnically). But all in all the
genome does not indicate we have a biologically ueful definition of race. If
there's more genetic diversity within, say, a south Asian population, than they
share with other groups.

I know it's not really fair just to post an abstract, because it means I'm giving
you the hay with which to build a straw man. But it's my fault for handing you the
straw (no joke or sarcasm meant).

It may put Tom Murphy in an embarrassing situation, and as some of you know, FAIR
recently put out an article which is linked to in this month's FAIR newsletter.
We've been working hard at finding a conspiracy (yeah, yeah, I know.  "It's
Ironic" as Alannis Morisette might sing), and now that we have smoking guns from
the bugs under the rocks (now there's a mixed metaphor!). The next step is to
address the claims made in his article. Some of this has already done by Scott
Woodward of BYU, who delivered a presentation on the DNA work BYU's doing).
making things just a bit hotter in the "Morque" ( I believe Ben
McGuire already has an article up on FAIR's website about DNA research.

In my opinion, unless I'm missing something (genetics is something I know very
little about other than what I've read in Scientific American, say), this pape
(from Science) might put  a big kaibosh on anyone thinking they can prove or
disprove that modern day First Nations descended solely from the Book of Mormon,
which is what Tom Murphy, who admittedly went inactive in 1993, claims in his
review for "American Apocrypha" among other venues.

> > General agreement of genetic and predefined populations
> > suggests that self-reported ancestry can facilitate
> > assessments of epidemiological risks
> Wow. I guess it is. Who would have believed such a counterintuitive
> idea? (Besides myself and most of the adult population of the western
> world, I mean.)
> Stephen

What they're saying is that while it may not be true that there's a biological
term for "race," we, as a culture and laypeople, tend to identify themselves with
one race or another. What the full paper shows is that that strictly in terms of
the DNA  samples, you cannot "prove" that one person's black and the other's
Asian, and see that reflected in their DNA. There's a lot of genetic diversity in
Africa -- in fact, more than the rest of the world combined. But because there is
a weak correlation indirectly through the genes that expressed the proces that led
to a "racial" characteristic.  But because we self-identify our race one way or
another when seeing a doctor, we should know that various races have varying
diseases and this will guide the doctor's diagnosis. For or example, if your black
and you feel anemic and run-down, then the doctor needs to check for sickle cell
anaemia, because the gene for that is found widely throughout Africa. While this
mutation gives a significant portion of the population sickle-cell anaemia,
whereas if a Caucasian came in, the doctor should simply do a red blood cell count
(a simple test at a medical lab).

Incidentally, this very racial anomaly, the tendency to get a disease that is not
nearly as common amongst people from other areas from, also provides natural
protection against malaria, which still rampant in most of Africa. So it can go
from, say IF [RACE  = BLACK THEN GOSUB [CHECK FOR MALARIA], But the converse
doesn't hold -- IF [BLOOD TEST FOR SICKLE CELL AMAENIA] = YES. One can't go from
the race alone, even if it's sometimes a useful indicator if the patient tells the
doctor he originally came from West Africa several centuries ago. Another example
is benign prostate infection, which is more common amongst black males than
amongst white males, age-adjusted [at least in the US blacks will get his out of
proportion to their population. The condition is usually caused by Benign
Hyperplastic Prostate (BHP, and just like the sisters need to do regular breast
exams, and occasional pap smears, men 35 years on up should have an exam (which
isn't particularly comfortable) for prostate enlargement.

Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

“Knowledge may give weight, but accomplishments give lustre, and many more people
see than weigh.” – Lord Chesterfield

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author
solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer,
nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.

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