Previous Links on Genetics and Related

We have not talked much about genetics recently.  These are people who know a great deal, but may not fully share your values.

The brilliant Steve Hsu over at Information Processing talks about an article in The Economist concerning embryo selection. November 2019.

 Here is that article from The Economist Modern Genetics will improve health and usher in designer children. November 2019

Legal studies paper by Gail Herriot on school discipline policies. June 2019 

Only some genetics in this last one. Scott Alexander over at Slate Star Codex, who Steve Sailer called the greatest public intellectual to emerge in the 2010s, talks about what intellectual progress he made during the decade. He started way ahead of me and I think has lapped me a couple of times since. A stunning variety of topics. January 2020.

8 thoughts on “Previous Links on Genetics and Related”

  1. Early adopters for “designer babies” are going to be in for some rather large shocks.

    We simply do not know enough about the human genome at this point to be doing anything more than going after known and well-understood defects–And, even that is fraught with peril.

    Take, for example, the side-effects of domestication. From the way we observe many of the same features denoting successful domestication in both foxes and wolves, we can thus extrapolate that the behavioral genes we’d need to modify to create “super smart” kids are probably inextricably intertwined with a bunch of other things whose significance we don’t even know. Say you find the gene that encodes for some aspect of what we think is “intelligence”, knock it out, and then discover that you’ve just programmed those kids for severe arthritis in later life.

    We don’t even know what we don’t know. Learning that the hard way is going to be exquisitely painful, and I predict that there are going to be a bunch of Adam Lanza’s produced by deluded parents who will reap as they sow, in later years. How’d you like to be the one trying to explain to little Johnny how you plumped down for a few thousand bucks worth of gene editing, and due to the state of the art at the time, you set him up for life-long health issues?

    Yeah, I don’t see this working out as per everyone’s happy-dappy little projections, and I wager that the first set of idiots trying it out in the real world are going to provide the rest of us more conservative types with a whole lot of salutary object lessons for why this is a Really Bad Idea ™.

  2. Knowing nothing about this, I’m curious about views of others (necessarily more informed than I am) regarding the putative relationship between monoamine oxidase 2R and behavior.

  3. By MAO 2R, do you mean the “Warrior Gene?”

    The 3R allele is more common.

    Studies have found differences in the frequency distribution of variants of the MAOA gene between ethnic groups:[10][11] of the participants, 59% of Black men, 54% of Chinese men, 56% of Maori men, and 34% of Caucasian men carried the 3R allele, while 5.5% of Black men, 0.1% of Caucasian men, and 0.00067% of Asian men carried the 2R allele.

    Don’t know how that affected the Japanese army in WWII. Maybe they all died and the 2R died out.

  4. By MAO 2R, do you mean the “Warrior Gene?”

    The 3R allele is more common.

    Yes. As frankly admitted, I know little to nothing about it.

    Remember to read such things in secret, Jay.

    Thank you for advice, my brother. I denounce myself, of course.

    But since I’m already an unperson, I might as well shoot the moon, and scoff at the notion that behavior has any hereditary component. That’s why golden retrievers need long and patient tutelage – from union teachers, of course – to be taught to retrieve, and to swim.

  5. In the course I linked above, at the start he asks his students a few things, including “if they believed in free will”. After a big show of hands he says “that’s gonna change”.

    Anyone with triple digit IQ can benefit from this course, although it is a second year course aimed at doctors to be.

  6. There’s a pretty simple, short path from most metabolic diseases to particular genes, yet treatments for many elude us. Consider Down’s syndrome where there is an entire chromosome throwing a wrench into the gears. It generates a fairly limited group of physical manifestations and a wider range of mental ones.

    Establishing something actionable in terms of intelligence, whatever that is, isn’t something that’s going to happen anytime soon. Correlation does not equal causation. Fast sequencing and computers will probably generate huge numbers of possible correlations, sorting which if any actually mater will be a huge job and may be impossible.

    Then there’s the ethical element. The Chinese CRISPR experiment seemed to go too far for even the Chinese. That was only one gene and resulted in chimerism. I don’t think the grand parents of the first designer baby have been born.

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