Genomycism: “Deflating the Genomic Bubble”

Genomycism – the unsubstantiated belief that the cataloging of the genomic sequence of an individual conveys useful understanding about their ancestry, current characteristics, and disease risk with high degrees of accuracy and predictive power.

An important policy forum article has appeared in the most recent issue of Science discussing the expectations for the benefits of genomics, the issues created when those expectations are unrealistic, overinflated, and over-hyped[1]. Continue reading “Genomycism: “Deflating the Genomic Bubble””

Trends in Genetics

Although it may not be obvious here, I also occasionally write formal scientific stuff, like a review article for Trends in Genetics:

Joshua T. Witten and Jernej Ule, “Understanding splicing regulation through RNA splicing maps,” Trends in Genetics (1, 2011). Continue reading “Trends in Genetics”

Hunting with Catapults

Not fake. The British are weird. In population genetics, this usually occurs on islands due to founder effects, inbreeding, or both.

The headline implies that this might actually be similar to Fox Tossing.

REPOST: Imagine if Sex Were Only for IQs Over 120

At the request of my co-blogger Mike, I’m reposting this article which originally appeared at Science 2.0 on 30 December 2008 where some authors of the paper in question respond in the comments during the run-up to the publication of their book The 10,000 Year Explosion.

Unfortunately for all of us still breathing braniacs, the title only applies to those of us who are also medieval Ashkenazi Jews, according to the authors of the 2006 paper “Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence”.

Discussing “race” and intelligence is always a touchy subject and definitely not politically correct; but science should not be fettered by the chains of political correctness like a mangy circus lion.  It must run free across the intellectual savanna, striking down the juvenile wildebeest of ignorance. Following articles on the biology and significance of race by Michael White, Massimo Pigliucci, and moi, my attention was directed to “Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence”.  Thanks to press attention from biological research bell-weathers like The Economist and the New York Times, as well as discussion on National Public Radio, this paper has gained Goodyear AquatredTM-esque traction on the internet. Continue reading “REPOST: Imagine if Sex Were Only for IQs Over 120”

Why CNVs Explain My Kid’s Grades

‘Copy Number Variants’ (CNVs) are hot. A CNV is a sizeable chunk of DNA that’s either missing from your genome or present in extra copies. Chunks of DNA get copied or deleted on a surprisingly frequent basis. We’ve all got CNVs, most cases they are probably benign, but CNVs are becoming an increasingly appreciated as a significant source of medically important genetic variation. ‘Recently appreciated’ because we now have the technology to detect CVNVs reliably.

A recent paper in The Lancet links CNVs with attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder, and find that genetic variants in ADHD occur in the same genes linked with autism and schizophrenia. What this suggests is that CNVs are the reason my ADHD child unfailingly neglects to turn in her completed homework. Continue reading “Why CNVs Explain My Kid’s Grades”

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