February 14, 2013

NYT: Race does exist

From today's New York Times:
A Genetic Glimpse Into Recent Human Evolution 
By NICHOLAS WADE 
Gaining a deep insight into human evolution, researchers have identified a mutation in a critical human gene as the source of several distinctive traits that make East Asians different from other races. 
The traits – thicker hair shafts, a greater number of sweat glands, characteristically identified teeth and smaller breasts – are the result of a gene mutation that occurred some 35,000 years ago, the researchers have concluded. 
The discovery explains a crucial juncture in the evolution of East Asians. But the method can also be applied to some 400 other sites on the human genome. The DNA changes at these sites, researchers believe, mark the turning points in recent human evolution as the populations on each continent diverged from each other. 
The first of those sites to be studied contains the gene known as EDAR. Africans and Europeans carry the standard version of the gene, but in most East Asians one of the DNA units has mutated. ...
The finding that the gene has so many effects raises the question of which one was the dominant trigger for natural selection. 
Dr. Sabeti said the extra sweat glands could have been the feature favored by natural selection, with all the other effects being dragged along in its train. 
“We’re the only mammals to have changed their entire hair pattern. So the changes in teeth, hair and breasts — it’s very possible they are the passengers and thermoregulation is the key,” she said, referring to the sweat glands’ role in cooling the body. 
East Asians are sometimes assumed to have evolved in a cold environment because of their narrow nostrils, which conserve heat, and the extra eyelid fat that insulates the eye. But the Broad team calculates that the EDAR variant arose some 35,000 years ago in central China and that the region was then quite warm and humid. Extra sweat glands would have been advantageous to the hunter gatherers who lived at that time. 
But Joshua Akey, a geneticist at the University of Washington in Seattle, said he thought the more likely cause of the gene’s spread among East Asians was sexual selection. Thick hair and small breasts are visible sexual signals which, if preferred by men, could quickly become more common as the carriers had more children. The genes underlying conspicuous traits, like blue eyes and blonde hair in Europeans, have very strong signals of selection, Dr. Akey said, and the sexually visible effects of EDAR are likely to have been stronger drivers of natural selection than sweat glands. 
Yet a third view is held by Dr. Kamberov who believes that each of the effects of the EDAR variant may have been favored by natural selection at a different time. A series of selections on different traits thus made the variant version so common among East Asians. About 93 percent of Han Chinese carry the variant, as do about 70 percent of people in Japan and Thailand, and between 60 and90 percent of Native Americans, a population descended from East Asians. 

I pointed out in VDARE.com way back in 2003 that the Science section of the New York Times was doing excellent work pointing out repeatedly how the latest DNA evidence was undermining the trendy conventional wisdom that Race Does Not Exist.

33 comments:

Dahinda said...

I think that Joshua Akey is correct. The same thing is going on today. Different populations are attracted to different types according to taste. In a homogeneous population, like in China, most people have the same tastes and will be attracted to the same types. Those types , in tun, will breed the most.

Anonymous said...

Oops. How'd that one slip through? Head's are gonna roll . . .

realist said...

About 93 percent of Han Chinese carry the variant, as do about 70 percent of people in Japan and Thailand, and between 60 and90 percent of Native Americans, a population descended from East Asians.

Are Native Americans descended from East Asians or are East Asians descended from Native Americans? The oldest mongoloid skull was found in the Americas, not East Asia, and given the lower IQ of Native Americans and their resemblance to caucasoids, they are more likely to be ancestors than descendents.

Btw, Steve I'm surprised you have not commented on the controversy over Chuck Hagel.

Anonymous said...

Yes, coarse hair and small breasts - that's what I'm looking for in a woman.

Othello Marx said...

a greater number of sweat glands

This seems to be misinterpreted- East Asians should have fewer sweat glands- they sweat a lot less than everyone else. In fact so much less that they don’t wear deodorant and you won’t notice it. So maybe the mutation was for fewer sweat glands? Its possible they have more glands but sweat less, but the other situation, that someone noticed it correlates with # of sweat glands and that meant that East Asians had fewer, but the reporter f*cked it up, seems to me more likely.

narrow nostrils
This one also seems off- they usually have wider nostrils, at least than Europeans. Unless this is a 21st Century Multicultural comparison, and we are to automatically assume the comparison is to Africans. But then why the sweat thing- blacks sweat like hell.


“Thick hair and small breasts are visible sexual signals which, if preferred by men, could quickly become more common as the carriers had more children.”

Who the hell prefers smaller breasts? Even Asian guys will jump for megamams. Check out the popularity of half Asians there- part of it is the bigger breasts. The only advantage is that they age better, which seems to be less relevant during human evolution since people died younger anyway…

David said...

East Asians have more sweat glands? Really? I thought that East Asians were notoriously less smelly than the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

The "race is a social construct" crowd will simply stop talking about it and never admit they were wrong. And no one will ever call them out on it, they certainly won't lose their jobs over it. Or they will claim through twisted logic that all the genetic evidence is irrelevant to their point. It will be like all the communist academics who didn't suffer at all and never had to admit they were wrong after the fall of communism.

Anonymous said...

Next un-PC revelation to come: Asians really do look more like one another than europeans as they have less intragroup genetic diversity.

art student said...

"Who the hell prefers smaller breasts?" While rounded out breasts have a long history of being admired, breasts were functional. Most people grew up seeing bare breasted nursing babies. Even in cultures where women veiled their faces, they were not shy about nursing babies.
In the realm of erotic art, disproportionately large breasts rarele made an appearance. Usually they arehigh, round, a bit plump but not pendulous (which I personally consider repulsive; athin body with almost no hips and huge nreasts is both rare and bizarre. I have friends who have gotten breast reduction surgery because of that. The craze for big, pendulous breasts began in the 50s w/Playboy & that ilk.It is a contrived social engineering, playing on a meme already in place. I had a boyfriend who was as fond of the popular female form as anyone, but who thought the playgirl types were funny partly because he had an abhorence for the kinds of guys who went for them.
I was young and new to divisions anong men, or the ways in which they size each other up and with what criteria. It was fascinating.

agnostic said...

If geneticists showed the same sense of humor in naming human genes as in naming mouse genes, they would've called this one IBTC.

Anonymous said...

Next un-PC revelation to come: Asians really do look more like one another than europeans as they have less intragroup genetic diversity.

Europeans are less genetically diverse than blacks, yet blacks look more like one another than Europeans.

Anonymous said...

My Korean wife = Nice rack, no B.O.

Anonymous said...

"Who the hell prefers smaller breasts?"

Some men do though it isn't as common in the West as preferring large breasts. In the 1956 Japanese film "Street of Shame", a tale about a licensed brothel in Yoshiwara, Machiko Kiyo played a very curvy (by Western standards) prostitute whose proportions were much in demand by the Japanese clientele. By curvy I mean large breasts, small waist and wide hips. The preference for extremely thin women in Asia is a modern taste, just like it is in the West.

Gloria

Anonymous said...

We already know that individuals cluster by continent when sufficient loci are used in the analysis. We already know that, when more loci are used in the analysis, sub populations of continents cluster. We already know that, when you use even more loci, members of the same family cluster.

And it's here that the question arises.

Would anyone doubt that certain traits 'run in families?' It's commonly accepted that family x is smarter or better looking than family y, or that family z has a history of a genetic disease whereas family q does not.

So, it makes perfect sense to partion people into family groups. What about racial groups?

If we found that important phenotype were correlated with racial groups, then it would be just as important and relevant to partion people into racial groups as it would be to partion people into family groups!

Let me explain: Like with family, it's possible for race z to be more susceptible to a disease than race y. And, if Aruthur Jensen is correct, it's also possible for race z to be smarter than race y.

Wis Consin said...

"Next un-PC revelation to come: Asians really do look more like one another than europeans as they have less intragroup genetic diversity.

Europeans are less genetically diverse than blacks, yet blacks look more like one another than Europeans."

Its all in the eye of the beholder. The members of a given species of shark have vastly more genetic diversity than any human and unless you are the worker at an aquarium taking care of them day in and day out, its doubtful you could distinguish them (aside from age, injuries, and the like, which isn't what we're talking about here). For the record, Asians living in Asia think whites all look alike (Though they usually think we look good! but usually a bit chubby...). The theory is that what you're exposed to routinely for a long time that gives you a mental glossary of what to pay attention to for distinguishing differences.

Anonymous said...

"The 'race is a social construct' crowd will simply stop talking about it and never admit they were wrong. And no one will ever call them out on it, they certainly won't lose their jobs over it. Or they will claim through twisted logic that all the genetic evidence is irrelevant to their point. It will be like all the communist academics who didn't suffer at all and never had to admit they were wrong after the fall of communism."
________________________________

You have to call them "uneducated rubes." That gets to them as it's their education they think impresses people. Most are very weak in the sciences and when you start talking science and research they try to change the subject or get lost.

Anonymous said...

"They have more Sweat Glands"; Lets make them sweat more in those Sweatshops of theirs

AMac said...

Wade wrote, "Africans and Europeans carry the standard version of the gene [EDAR 370V], but in most East Asians, one of the DNA units has mutated [to yield the 370A allele of EDAR]...

"About 93% of Han Chinese carry the [EDAR 370A] variant, as do about 70% of people in Japan and Thailand, and 60% to 90% of American Indians..."

The EDAR 370A allele is absent from all European and African populations (cite).

One interesting point is that 7% of Han Chinese (and ~30% of Japanese and Thai) carry no copies of EDAR 370A. By the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, about 54% of Han have two copies of 370A and 39% have one 370A and one 370V. Yet these three subgroups (54% AA, 39% AV, 7% VV) appear to be indistinguishable from one another by inspection -- they all look like typical "Han Chinese." (I deduce that this is so, on the basis that obvious phenotypic differences would have been chased down long before now.)

That's a reminder that there is unlikely to be one or a few genetic loci that convey the "essence" of biological race (or population). Instead, it's a loosely-defined category whose "consensus" phenotype is derived from the expression of many (dozens? hundreds?) of alleles. EDAR is but one.

By the way, 23andMe will tell you your EDAR genotype; the SNP is rs3827760.

Anonymous said...

europeans are more mentally diverse than blacks. :) panjoomby

Deckin said...

One of the effects is on skin characteristics. Of course, embryologically, there are connections between skin development and neural development, no? Might this be a mechanism for neural differences.

Matt said...

Cross posted at hbdchick:

The interesting thing here to me is that EDAR370A basically seems to act more or less globally on many all glands, by increasing signalling as outlined on Chang et al (http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0007591#pone.0007591-Zouboulis1) – Enhanced Edar Signalling Has Pleiotropic Effects on Craniofacial and Cutaneous Glands and in light of EDAR370A reducing the symptoms of Ectodermal Dysplasia – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21916884.

These glands may include apocrine glands.- no one seems to have bothered to check out what the effects of enhanced edar signalling are on apocrine glands alone (unless this is in Sabeti’s paper).

In this light its interesting that the distribution of the East Asian ABCC11 “dry earwax” variant – which knocks out or reduces much apocrine function specifically – seems to basically match up in frequency with EDAR370A (although with the difference that ABCC11 seems to have a higher frequency, relative to EDAR370A in Europe and a lower frequency relative to EDAR370A in the Americas, or just South America).

It seems like it might be plausible – although still needs testing – that EDAR370A increases some glandular function that East Asian ancestors “needed” (e.g. eccrine sweat) but with the disadvantage of increasing some apocrines function at the same time (including but not limited to increased stinkiness). And that ABCC11 “solved” this “kludge”.

Anecdotally, I’ve read from some Caucasian people in Japan that Japanese (a population where EDAR370A and ABCC11 are both at slightly less than fixture, contrasted vis-a-vis Europeans who just don’t have EDAR370A at all and the dry earwax ABC11 at around 0.2 and Koreans where these are both at 1.0) generally don’t have any problems with BO, but there are some who REALLY have bad body odor.

It’s interesting to consider that this might be do to an unusual combination of EDAR370A and the ancestral wet earwax form of ACC11 -

e.g. “Straight Asian hair? Wet earwax? You’re gonna stink!”.

Also, note that EDAR370A is also implicated in tooth shoveling! Talk about bang for buck (in terms of Asianness).

Matt said...

narrow nostrils

This one also seems off- they usually have wider nostrils


Real North East Asians like the Siberians really do tend to have slightly taller and narrower nasal openings than Europeans, consistent with their climate.

Although whether the nostrils perfectly reflect this, I'm not sure.

East Asians like Chinese and Japanese have closer relationships to the Thai and Laotians (people call Chinese and Japanese "North east Asians" but they are more related, and more phenotypically like, mainland South east Asians than peoples from Siberia who have lived there for a long time) and like these populations tend to have slightly short and broader noses than Europeans.

Compared to Africans though, their noses are narrow.

Anonymous said...

"For the record, Asians living in Asia think whites all look alike"

I don´t doubt this. However, whites are definitely more different than each other than other continental races. In England, you can see a blonde blued individual, next to a ginger, next to a swarthier type, such as Sean Connery. That doesn´t happen in Asia or Africa.

Anonymous said...

Two East Asian myths squashed in one study. First, East Asians did not originate in a cold climate. Second, East Asians do not have less sweat glands than other races. This could explain why severe acne is pretty common among East Asians. I've noticed East Asians have hideous breath. It could be related to this gene variant.

Anonymous said...

I fail to see how this "proves" race exists. A Chinese person will look different from a Korean person and a Swede will look comparatively different from it's neighbouring European countries every one knows this no one denies this but that points more logically to "ethnic differences in appearance" and yes (genetic differences in ethnicities) but not to archaic HBD notion that the Homo-Sapiens are sub-divided into different racial species.

jody said...

the EDAR data could be true, we must always be open to new data changing our understanding. but our current idea is that more androgens means more sweat glands. our model is T->DHT->receptor

it could be the case that the EDAR situation is a vestigial effect in east asians, like the epicanthic fold. or, going further back, to things which everybody can relate to, wisdom teeth or the appendix.

2 year thang said...

"Real North East Asians like the Siberians really do tend to have slightly taller and narrower nasal openings than Europeans, consistent with their climate."

Few people even think of Siberians when the words 'North East Asians' comes up. China is the 800 pound gorilla, with Japan and Korea normally in the discussions as well. Siberians may be geographically in the region, but they aren't that relevant to most discussions of NE Asians.

Anonymous said...

"I fail to see how this "proves" race exists."

Geography and evolution combined will inevitably create races (and numerous sub-divisions within those races)

- obviously.

Anonymous said...

"Europeans are less genetically diverse than blacks"

I've heard (read) this several times, but I haven't seen the specific algorithm explained to my satisfaction.

How, EXACTLY, did they test the "Africans" in the study. I mean, did they take a group of all different races and tribes of Africans (Ethiopians, Tutsis, Hutus, Pigmy, etc.) and lump them all together and say "hey they're genetically diverse?"

And did they do the same with Europeans, or did they split them as possible into reasonably purebred groups such as Poles, Irish, etc?

Steve, could you speak to this study in some detail please?

Anonymous said...

"Geography and evolution combined will inevitably create races (and numerous sub-divisions within those races"

And the last race of humanoid species to evolve out of a specific geography that was not Africa, was Netherlands in Europe.

This post is titled NYT:Race does exist" how incredibly misleading I don't think that article even mentioned race once. It was just about some sweat gland genes that are switched on and off in different ethnicities and its not even a real difference because people of all ethnicities are capable of possessing it, it just shows up in higher frequency in east asians. wow what amazing evidence humans are sub-divided in different races.

HBD and isteve readers love to say race exists and that "race is more then about appearance" and here's a new one "there are more then three races"

Not that I believe in the discredited ideological idea that race goes much deeper then color and culture but here is where it gets interesting to me if we accept your claim that there are "separate races and numerous sub-divisions within those races"

Since two ethncities in africa can have more outstanding differences between each other then a single african and european group are capable of than it stands to reason that the "sub-divisions" within those races are just as vastly different (and therefor important) as the categories.

Which will mean that there is a slavic race, a celtic race, a anglo race etc etc and the differences in these 'subraces" are just as vast and as important as the differences between any two categories like caucasoid and negroid for example.

One can not turn around and say "oh well the difference between irish and polish is 'not that important' because of physical similarity they have (race is more than appearance!) or geography (race is not cultural) because if the vast similarity between a african and european means nothing then the simliarity between polish and irish also mean nothing. because the differences are just to important if the incredible similarity means nothing.

Anonymous said...

"race exists but I don't BELIEVE in it since it's been "discredited" and is so very passé"

Of course, the person of faith that you are, you operate on belief. What you believe or don't is a personal matter. Go and make your own poor faith-based decisions in life, preferably somewhere far away from the people with enough courage to stand up to your ignorance.

Van Chestwick said...

This study seems to be jumping the gun a bit. Or at least the person who reported it is over emphasizing it. It is common for both the scientists involved and the newsmedia to try to sensationalize work to 'sell' it as the greatest sh*t ever.

Basically, if you check into it, they changed a gene, EDAR in mice to the sequence observed in East Asians and observed several effects including less breast tissue, thicker hair, etc. But this is not really conclusive evidence that this gene causes these traits in humans. It is common for genes to act differently in different organisms. Just recently, even, the NYT which reported this story reported how pharmaceutical research had over estimated the significance of many studies of pharmaceuticals interacting with genes in mice for this very reason. For one thing, the products of many genes interact in a complex way with the products of many other genes, so it is not really clear that just because altering a gene in a mouse has an effect, that it has the same effect in humans. The authors of this study indicate for example that they could not see a difference in mice teeth, even though E. Asians show differences in teeth which are held to be due to this gene. They chalk it up to mouse teeth being different. Well, for example their hair/fur is known to be different as well. And likely, there are significant breast differences. One big differences is that humans unlike most animals, even unlike most other primates, have enlarged breasts in comparison to body size.

I'm not suggesting that it can't be true that EDAR is a strong factor in controlling these traits, but I'm saying that the results of this one study really don't "prove" that it does. It would be more interesting to me to see if E. Asians that have the non-East Asian variant of the gene have normal breast tissue, normal hair follicles, etc.

Anonymous said...

"Which will mean that there is a slavic race, a celtic race, a anglo race etc etc"

Yes, obviously. As people in the past generally did (although there's a general problem with labelling depending on scale.)

(and also national divisions within these sub-races and regional sub-divisions within the individual nations wherever there were important enough variations within the geography.)

.
"and the differences in these 'subraces" are just as vast and as important as the differences between any two categories like caucasoid and negroid for example."

The differences will be whatever they are based on whatever differential selective pressures the different environments and evolutionary history produced. They may or may not be vast or important or they may have been important once but not now.

(Although personally i believe they are very likely to *always* be important medically even if in no other significant way.)