Genes and Society in the News:
- May 18, 2017. Turkehiemer, Nisbett Harden. VOX. Charles Murray is once again peddling junk science about race and IQ. Podcaster and author Sam Harris is the latest to fall for it. Mix of viewpoints RE genetic determinism/twin studies (e.g. Heritability of Intelligence is no longer contentious but implies nothing about modifiability; No reason to think that variability between populations is genetic.)
- March 21, 2018. Sheila Jasinov, Benjamin Hurlbut. Nature. A Global Observatory for Gene Editing. Critique of previous efforts of NAS to discuss gene editing and a “call for an international network of scholars and organizations to support a new kind of conversation.”
- January 2018. Marcus R. Munofo and George Davey Smith. Nature. 553. Robust Research Needs Many Lines of Evidence. Replication is not enough. Marcus R. Munafò and George Davey Smith state the case for triangulation.
- July 19, 2018. By LAURAN NEERGAARD and EMILY SWANSON. AP-NORC Poll: If DNA shows health risks, most want to know – AP News. Most US adults would want to know if they had a gene variant that was for an incurable disease. 17% had already undergone at least one kind of genetic test.
- July 31, 2018. Tony Romm and Drew Harwell. Washington Post. Ancestry, 23andMe and others say they will follow these rules when giving DNA data to businesses or police.
- July 9, 2018. Daniel W. Belsky…. Kathleen Mullan Harris. PNAS. Genetic analysis of social-class mobility in five longitudinal studies.
- Center for Genetics and Society critique of this paper. CGS critique also points out the NYTimes Op-Ed piece by Kathryn Paige Harden of July 24th (she writes in support of the Educational Attainment Study we discuss below).
- A rebuttal to her Op-Ed by Steve Pitelli on the Unwashed Genes blog.
- July 9, 2018. John L. Hodge. Washington Post. Letter to the Editor: Ignoring an important part of the American Revolution. http://johnlhodge.blogspot.com
- Symposium Announcement on Tuesday Sept. 11, 2018. Allen Discovery Center Symposium: Perspectives on Human Brain Evolution. Svante Paabo will be giving talk.
- NPR weekend Edition story on the film Three Identical Strangers. Dr. Peter Neubauer, the lead NYU and Bellevue hospital researcher never published the results.
Articles for discussion
- Belsky et al. Genetic analysis of social class mobility in five longitudinal studies. 2018. PNAS 115 (31).
- Pete Shanks. July 27, 2018. Genes for Success? Not Exactly. Center for Genetics and Society.
- This study is a meta-analysis using the same approach as the earlier, smaller study by Okbay et al. which reported a 3.2% polygenic score. This larger study reports a score accounting for 11% of the variation in educational attainment.
- Group asked how is this useful? How is this not getting into realm of eugenics? One claim is that polygenic score could be used to control within a randomized clinical trial setting, but controls such as reading comprehension can control for a much higher 30 -40%.
- The effects of the non-inherited alleles may create a parental rearing environment that also leads to greater educational attainment in the progeny: Kong, A. et al. The nature of nurture: effects of parental genotypes. Science 359, 424–428 (2018).
- Last two paragraphs do mention environment and appear socially responsible. Paper does not put much emphasis on gene by environment interactions but in these concluding paragraphs they do point out limits to the study as well as possible environment or genetic variability confounders.
- Additionally, there is a extensive FAQ available https://www.thessgac.org/faqs
(updated from the one included with the Okbay study mentioned above). The polygenic score is greatly attenuated as a predictor in a different population (African Americans) from the discovery population (Europeans).
- They point out that the upper limit to the heritability of educational attainment is around 20% (based on twin studies?)
- Group wondered how we would present these studies and make them approachable to non experts.
- Flynn effect describes an increase in IQ scores of around 3 points per decade. Flynn debated Jensen. Flynn claims IQ is malleable. Causal relationships not determined.
- This study in Norwegian population is from army recruits over 1962-1991. This covers a period of rising scores of about 3 points and falling scores, also of 3 points. The dysgenic effect was a hypothesis to explain falling scores.
- Premise for this study is that environment including dysgenic effects are less likely to account for changes in the IQ scores over time if pattern of IQ changes can be demonstrated within families. This is based on a correlation of relative higher IQ difference between older and younger brothers in times where the general population IQ is rising; and a lesser IQ difference in periods where the general population IQ is falling.
- Group discussed and questioned reliability of IQ testing in general, re culture and language of origin.