Meeting January 25, 2017

Genetics and Society in the News:

Article for Discussion:

Discussion Points:

  • Some of us shared it with non-geneticists. They thought it was easy to understand and enjoyed the examples
  • Is this the narrow or wide definition of heritability? The narrow definition involves additive genetic variance, this doesn’t. This article only looks at broad genetic variance
  • Heritability calculations are important for controlled breeding conditions. It’s a useful tool for breeders. Tells you what you can get done. It’s not as useful for human populations.
  • The article makes an important distinction between individual vs population inheritance. There is a desire among individuals to know what you got from other people in your family. To what extent can you know what you inherited and that it’s the cause of disease?
  • Monogenic diseases are still not monodeterministic. There is a range of expression of genes and the effect of other genes to consider. You can not say for certain if you’ll get a disease (CF has 2000 alleles).
  • Statisticians in early 20th century all agreed that statistics in social science was wrong. It was a method for assessing degree of certainty, not degree of truth
  • Old ideas never die – do new biology textbooks to justice to the new topics in human genetics? Apparently not
  • We inherit developmental resources not traits. Do traits even exist? There are sub-histories for everything we might consider a trait. As you look closer, over and over again, there isn’t one thing that explains the train, especially for behavior (ex: intelligence). This article should also describe what is and isn’t a trait.

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