Meeting on August 15, 2018

Genes and Society in the News

  • John Hodge published a letter in the Washington Post. Relevant books included:, A. and R. Blumkenson, Slave Nation; How Slavery United the Colonies and Sparked the American Revolution (Sourcebooks, 2005).; A. L. Higginbotham, Jr., In the matter of color: Race and the American Legal Process: The Colonial Period (Oxford U. Press, 1978). Southerners thought that the British were against slavery.
  • James Q. Whitman, Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the making of Nazi Race Law (Princeton U. Press, 2017).
  •  A. Kimbrell on eugenics “Genetics, Eugenics and the American Dream
  • On blood pressure and medication (one example of many)
  • Boston Sunday Globe article Auguust 12 on eugenics: Moro and Giar
  • On invasive prenatal Genetics, JAMA, August 14
  • Discrimination Pervades Daily Life, Affects Health Across Groups in the U.S.” Put together by NPR/Harvard/RWJF/Poll Shows (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Harvard Chan School of Public Health)
  • Nature publishes and Editorial “Use and Abuse of Ancient DNA: Researchers in Several Complementary Disciplines need to tread carefully over the shared landscapes of the past.” March 29, 2018 p.559. and E. Calloway :”The Battle for Common Ground.” March 29, 2018 573-576. These articles describe the conflict between DNA researchers and archaeologists about when things, migrations, etc. happened. Article mentions criticisms of the work of specific DNA researchers by archaeologists.

Article for Discussion:

Discussion Points:

  • The authors are “careful” in some ways, in mentioning environment, but they expect to find more genetic links. However, the headlines in the media are bad!
  • Correlations are useful for justifying hypotheses but not conclusions.
  • Environments should be complex and broad: “genes, times and environment” and more.
  • We should focus on the insufficiencies and definition of environment
  • We ended up talking about polygenic scores for heart disease and how useful they might be or not. Someone said that papers on sibling left out birth order in their measurements. GWAS on heart is useless.
  • Some of the researchers on this work propose that their findings could help develop better ways to improve students’ deficits. Really?

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