Wired article on biobanks

Libraries of Flesh: The Sorry State of Human Tissue Storage:
Every year, billions of dollars’ worth of research into the genetic underpinnings of autism, schizophrenia, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and other devastating disorders hinges on scientists’ ability to tap industrial quantities of cells and tissue. But Compton found that while our technology for decoding the inner workings of life is advancing dramatically, the protocols for collecting and storing specimens of human flesh have barely evolved in decades. At the same time, innovation in the field of biobanking has stalled for lack of funding and interest. The science of bio-preservation is still considered an arcane, musty specialty, more akin to taxidermy than medicine. “You might have thought that doing the science would be the biggest challenge of a massive undertaking like the Cancer Genome Atlas,” Compton told me last fall. “But acquiring the biospecimens turned out to be the hardest part, bar none. It’s the Wild West out there.”

Two Am J Phys Anthropol articles

Regional shape change in adult facial bone curvature with age:
Vector plots revealed patterns of superoinferior compression, lateral expansion, and posterior recession depending on the population/subpopulation, location, and age groups examined. These findings indicate that adult craniofacial curvature shape is not static throughout human life. Instead, age-related spatial modifications occur in various regions of the craniofacial skeleton. Moreover, these regional alterations vary not only through time, but across human populations and the sexes.
Sexual dimorphism in chin shape:
Sexual dimorphism in chin shape was assessed using PC loadings in the pooled geographic sample, and statistically significant differences were found. These findings provide the first quantitative, morphologically based evidence in support of adaptive hypotheses that predict dimorphism in chin shape, including the sexual selection hypothesis.

Biological undercurrents in Fitzgerald's Gatsby and other works

A reader sent a copy of a paper mentioned in my earlier post on Fitzgerald. Here are some excerpts (continue reading):

Online archives of Instauration magazine (1975-1999)

The "authorized" archive of Wilmot Robertson's Instauration seems to be being updated more regularly. (Note: the website is organized chronologically by publication date rather than scanning date, so I'd recommend the RSS feed if you want to know when new issues are posted.) An unofficial archive contains some issues from later in the run.

Self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci?

Experts agree painting is likely self-portrait by da Vinci:
A dozen of scientists and David Bershad, an art history professor at St. Mary's University College, agree. The image of a man with blue eyes, long greying hair and a moustache appears to be a self-portrait of the renowned Renaissance artist, inventor and thinker.

The outlook for America two-thirds of a century ago

From Charles Davenport's 1943 Science obituary of Harry H. Laughlin:
Some of Laughlin's conclusions and their applications in legislation were opposed by those committed to a different social philosophy, founded on a less thorough analysis of facts. One can not but feel that a generation or two hence Laughlin's work, in helping bring about restricted immigration and thus the preservation of our country from the clash of opposing ideals and instincts found in the more diverse racial or geographical groups, will be the more widely appreciated as our population tends toward greater homogeneity.

[Davenport CB. HARRY HAMILTON LAUGHLIN. Science. 1943 Feb 26;97(2513):194-195.]
Others had other ideas.

"Police-style sketches" from forensic DNA?

Scientific American article containing little new information, aside from an update on what Mark Shriver is working on:
“The body interprets the DNA to determine the appearance of the face,” says anthropologist Mark Shriver of Morehouse College, who hopes to duplicate that ability within a decade. [. . .] Nevertheless, pinning down the effects of genes that influence body development is the key to predicting a specific individual’s looks. Shriver is studying populations in Europe and mixed-race groups elsewhere in the hope that correlating a Gallic nose or smiling Irish eyes with genes that influence their distinctive shapes may begin to crack the code the body uses to build a specific feature. He is even exposing inch-square patches of volunteers’ skin to ultraviolet light to gauge the range of skin shades and tones possible for people with various racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Hybridization and natural selection

Retention of low-fitness genotypes over six decades of admixture between native and introduced tiger salamanders:
CONCLUSIONS: Based on first- and second- generation cross types, our results suggest that the initial barrier to gene flow between these two species was relatively weak, and subsequent evolution has been generally slow. The persistence of low-viability recombinant hybrid genotypes in some contemporary populations illustrates that while hybridization can provide a potent source of genetic variation upon which natural selection can act, the sorting of fit from unfit gene combinations might be inefficient in highly admixed populations. Spatio-temporal fluctuation in selection and/or complex genetics has perhaps stalled adaptive evolution in this system despite selection for admixed genotypes within generations.

That Bright, Dying Star, the American WASP

The (I assume Jewish) author of WSJ's "Wealth Report" takes the occasion of Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court to inform anyone who hasn't been paying attention for the past 40 years that the "Protestant Establishment" is dead:
"The fact that we're going to zero Protestants in the court may not be as significant as the fact that her appointment perfectly reflects the decline of the Establishment, or the WASP Establishment, in America," said David Campbell, associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame.

Seen from the distance of time, the changes are stunning. In the 1960s, the vast majority of corporate managers were Protestant, according to E. Digby Baltzell's famous 1964 tome, "The Protestant Establishment."

The percentage of Protestants in Congress has dropped to 55% from 74% in 1961, according to Pew Forum. The corner offices of the top banks, once ruled by Rockefellers and Bakers, now include an Indian-American and the grandson of a Greek immigrant.

In old-money enclaves like Palm Beach, Fla., Nantucket, Mass., and Greenwich, Conn., WASPs are being priced out of their waterfront estates and displaced on their nonprofit boards by Jewish, Catholic and other non-Protestant entrepreneurs.

A survey by Pew Research found only 21% of mainline U.S. Protestants had income of $100,000 or more, compared with 46% of Jews and 42% of Hindus.
There's one dissenting voice (John J. McCloy's son):
"I think we're losing something fundamental with the Establishment," he said. "The Establishment was really about people who became leaders because they were confident and highly competent in their areas."
But the overall message is (1) it doesn't matter, and (2) "WASPs" brought it upon themselves by being "prejudiced" and lazy.
Rev. Mark S. Sisk, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, said the polarized landscape of religion today hasn't favored more moderate faiths like Episcopals. [. . .] He added, however, that tracking the ups and downs of socioreligious groups like WASPs was no longer relevant.

"That kind of calibration of 'what members of my team are on the front lines' seems to me to be an antique kind of thing to do," he said.
I was curious exactly whose team The Rt. Rev. Mark Sean Sisk was on. A few minutes of research confirms that he is, as his name suggests, of Irish ancestry, the son of a factory worker (per the 1930 Census) turned New Deal bureaucrat:
ROBERT J SISK. 82 retired head of the financial reports and statistics section of the Federal Power Commission died of cancer Dec 15 at his home [. . .] Mr Sisk was born in Barnesboro Pa He moved to this area and went to work for the Federal Power Commission about 1935 He retired in 1970

IQ in Muslim and Non-Muslim Countries

Another abstract from Mankind Quarterly:
The present research found that the Muslim country mean IQ of 81 is half a standard deviation below the mean IQ of non-Muslim nations and is not related to strength of Muslim culture as defined by the percentage of Muslims in the country. The mean IQ of 84 in Arab countries is not associated with per capita income and is incompatible with the intellectual achievements of the golden age of the Muslim Empire. Possible explanations for this decline include hybridization with sub-Saharan Africans, dysgenic decrease in the more educated Muslims employing birth control as suggested by Meisenberg, the Muslim religion not fostering critical thinking, and the intellectual contributions being both exaggerated and made by non-Muslims.

[Donald I Templer. The Comparison of Mean IQ in Muslim and Non-Muslim Countries. Mankind Quarterly. Washington: Spring 2010. Vol. 50, Iss. 3; pg. 188, 22 pgs]

IQ dysgenics in the United States

Richard Hoste recently wrote about an analysis of NLSY data by Gerhard Meisenberg published in the journal Intelligence showing a negative relationship between IQ and realized fertility. Here's the abstract of a related paper from Meisenberg published in Mankind Quarterly:
A negative relationship between intelligence and fertility in the United States has been described repeatedly, but little is known about the mechanisms that are responsible for this effect. Using data from the NLSY79, we investigate this issue separately for Blacks, non-Hispanic Whites and Hispanics. The major findings are: (1) Differential fertility would reduce the average IQ of the American population by up to 1.2 points per generation in the absence of migration and environmental changes; (2) About 0.4 points of the effect is caused by selection within racial and ethnic groups, and the rest is caused by between-group selection; (3) Differential fertility by intelligence is greatest in Hispanics and smallest in non-Hispanic Whites; (4) The fertility-reducing effect of intelligence is greater in females than males; (5) The IQ-fertility relationship is far stronger for unmarried than married people, especially females; (5) High intelligence does not reduce the desire for children; (6) High intelligence does not reduce the likelihood of marriage; (7) Education is the principal mediator of the IQ effect for married women.

[Gerhard Meisenberg, Anubhav Kaul. Effects of Sex, Race, Ethnicity and Marital Status on the Relationship between Intelligence and Fertility. Mankind Quarterly. Washington: Spring 2010. Vol. 50, Iss. 3; pg. 151, 37 pgs.]

Dating sub-Saharan admixture in North Africa

From a paper published today in BMC Evolutionary Biology, "The trans-Saharan slave trade - clues from interpolation analyses and high-resolution characterization of mitochondrial DNA lineages":
The interpolation analyses and complete sequencing of present mtDNA sub-Saharan lineages observed in North Africa support the genetic impact of recent trans-Saharan migrations, namely the slave trade initiated by the Arab conquest of North Africa in the seventh century. Sub-Saharan people did not leave traces in the North African maternal gene pool for the time of its settlement, some 40,000 years ago.

More loci influencing iris pigmentation discovered

Researchers "quantified continuous eye color variation into hue and saturation values using high-resolution digital full-eye photographs and conducted a genome-wide association study on 5,951 Dutch Europeans", revealing:
that human eye color varies along more dimensions than the one represented by the blue-green-brown categories studied previously. [. . .] We clearly identified 3 new loci, LYST, 17q25.3, TTC3/DSCR9, in contributing to the natural and subtle eye color variation along multiple dimensions
Specific SNPs identified (not all of these associations were replicated):
At the 1q42.3 locus two SNPs, rs3768056 and rs9782955, were associated with S [. . .] but not with H or categorical colors, which is a different phenomenon compared to the other two new loci identified. Three SNPs at 17q25.3 were associated with multiple color traits [rs7219915, rs9894429, and rs12452184] Five SNPs at 21q22.13 were significantly associated with CHS1 [rs1003719, rs2252893, rs2835621, rs2835630, and rs7277820]

Performance enhancing effects of HGH and Test

A modest dose (two milligrams per day) of growth hormone is associated with a 3.9% boost in sprint capacity, which researchers estimate translates to shaving 0.4 seconds off a 100m time. Sprint capacity in men receiving both growth hormone and 250 milligrams per week of testosterone increased by an average of 8.3%. Thankfully our American negro athletes (and Jamaicans) don't need to resort to this sort of cheating. (Link via Randall Parker.)

Neanderthal-human interbreeding

Gaysian troll Catperson/Linda is on suicide watch after learning "there was probably interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans before Europeans and Asians split":
The Leipzig group’s interbreeding theory would undercut the present belief that all human populations today draw from the same gene pool that existed a mere 50,000 years ago. “What we falsify here is the strong Out-of-Africa hypothesis that everyone comes from the same population,” Dr. Paabo said.

In his and Dr. Reich’s view, Neanderthals interbred only with non-Africans, the people who left Africa, which would mean that non-Africans drew from a second gene pool not available to Africans.
More information here and here. Update: the papers (open access); John Hawks comments.

Ancient DNA from Syria and Iberia

A post from Jean M brought to my attention a 2005 doctoral thesis by Eva Fernández Domínguez featuring ancient DNA results for samples from the Middle East and Iberia. The "surprising conclusion":
Haplotype and haplogroup frequencies in the ancient samples from Middle East and the Iberian Peninsula are clearly different from those present nowadays in the same geographical regions. Haplogroups related to neolithic expansion to Europe - J, U3, W and X - are absent in ancient Middle Eastern samples.
Mitochondrial DNA haplogroups represented in the Neolithic Syrian sample: H, H5, R, HV, and L2a1. Fernández reports other interesting results not mentioned by Jean M, such as 50% sub-Saharan lineages across two Chalcolithic Iberian sites; from the conclusion:
37. La presencia de casi un 50% de linajes subsaharianos L1b, L2 y L3 en los yacimientos calcolíticos de Abauntz y Tres Montes, en Navarra, sugiere la existencia en el pasado de un flujo genético importante desde África hacia esta región geográfica. La baja frecuencia de estos linajes en la población actual española apunta a que se ha producido un recambio genético desde el Calcolítico. La entrada de linajes africanos pudo darse durante el Paleolítico, durante el Neolítico, o durante ambos períodos. La presencia de secuencias filogenéticamente relacionadas en yacimientos calcolíticos de la Península Ibérica y en muestras neolíticas y calcolíticas de Oriente Próximo apunta al Neolítico como momento más probable de entrada en la península de estos linajes.
Update: Jean M comments that "it looks as though the reported L3 is actually R or H20 on the present tree".

Science's review of The Passing of the Great Race

The reviewer is Frederick Adams Woods:

Another guilt-wracked, self-hating Puritan descendant

Frederick Adams Woods, a lecturer on biology at MIT, was sometimes described as "the American Galton". In "The Racial Origins of Successful Americans" (Popular Science Monthly, v. 84, 1914, pp. 397-402), Woods uses surname lists to determine:
while the Irish and Jewish element in New York may control politics and the wholesale and retail trade, they have not often risen to high positions [. . .] In the 4 leading American cities, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston, it is safe to say that, at the present time, those of English and Scotch ancestry are distinctly in possession of the leading positions at least from the standpoint of being widely known, and that, in proportion to their number, the Anglo-Saxons are from 3 to 10 times as likely as are the other races to achieve positions of national distinction. [. . .] The truth of the matter is that all the stocks that have come into America in recent years since 1830 have been very inferior to those already here in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; [. . .]

We have heard a great deal about the Melting-Pot, but no one as far as I know has brought forward any proof that there is a Melting-Pot in true biological sense, i. e., that there is any genuine mingling of blood sufficient to overcome the natural tendency that all species and varieties have to grow apart and become more dissimilar in course of time. If there had been a thorough mingling of the races in this country, there would have already been a decline in natural ability, but the tendency of like to mate with like, the natural tendency of the most successful to mate among themselves, works in the opposite direction. The real strength of a country is so dependent on the qualities of its leaders that it behooves patriots, sociologists and philosophers to take all these questions into account and consider more carefully the genesis and significance of that small fraction of one per cent, which represents the intellectual crust.
Woods' surname method seems to be a bit cruder than those later used by Ellsworth Huntington and Nathaniel Weyl. Irrespective of the accuracy of his conclusions, it can't be said that Woods was lacking in self-confidence or self-regard as an upper-middle to upper class, New England Puritan-descended "WASP". In "Historiometry as an exact science" (Science. 1911 Apr 14;33(850):568-574.), Woods, using techniques similar to those used by Charles Murray in Human Accomplishment, finds:
As concerns American history, one fact is very evident at the start, whatever be the method of grading as applied to Americans or whatever be the mental eminence graded, some states in the union, some sections of the country, have produced more eminence than others far beyond the expectation from their respective white populations. In this regard Massachusetts always leads, and Connecticut is always second, and certain southern states are always behind, and fail to render their expected quota. I have already pointed out that the ratios seem orderly for a first approximation. That is, the higher the grade of the individuals the greater and greater becomes the proportion of those born in Massachusetts.
In "The Racial Limitation of Bolshevism" (Journal of Heredity, Vol. x, No. 4, April 1919, pp. 188-190), Woods argues that analysis of European history sustains the belief that "Nordic countries have been extremely free from periods of anarchy" and Anglo-Saxons are "by nature averse to Bolshevism". (Regretfully, Mencius Moldbug was not around to teach Woods to see past the facts.) Woods' other writings include Mental and moral heredity in royalty: a statistical study in history and psychology and The influence of monarchs: steps in a new science of history‎.

New world African and Hispanic admixture studies

"Characterizing the admixed African ancestry of African Americans" finds American blacks:
are admixed in their African components of ancestry, with the majority contributions being from West and West-Central Africa, and only modest variation in these African-ancestry proportions among individuals. Furthermore, by principal components analysis, we found little evidence of genetic structure within the African component of ancestry in African Americans.
A study to be published at PNAS reconfirms a number of unsurprising findings about Hispanics. A more detailed breakdown of the Caucasoid componenet sounds like the most interesting aspect:
European migrant contributors were mostly from the Iberian Peninsula and Southern Europe. Evidence was also found for Middle Eastern and North African ancestry, reflecting the Moorish and Jewish (as well as European) origins of the Iberian populations at the time of colonization of the New World. The Native Americans that most influenced the Hispanic/Latino populations were primarily from local indigenous populations.
Update: "Genome-wide patterns of population structure and admixture among Hispanic/Latino populations" is now online.

"WASPs" vs. Jews, part 8

From the introduction to the 1996 edition of Nelson Aldrich's Old Money (continue reading):

Geneticists and the biology of race crossing

Writing in Science in 1973, Will Provine argues (pdf):
Geneticists in England and the United States clearly reversed their published remarks on the effects of race crossing between 1930 and 1950. [. . .] The entire reversal occurred in the light of little new compelling data from studies of actual human race crosses.
Provine also displays the following bit of prescience:
Geneticists' ideas about the related question of hereditary mental differences between races is perhaps undergoing a similar development to that seen earlier in their ideas about race crossing. [. . .] It will be interesting to see if during the next several decades geneticists will argue, on the basis of little additional evidence, that hereditary mental differences between races do not exist.
More excerpts below (continue reading).

Black-white differences in digit ratio during prenatal development

An exhibit from the 1921 second international congress of eugenics shows black-white 2d:4d differences established by the third month of gestation [1].
While this bit of evidence does not definitively rule out involvement of androgens in the black-white divergence in digit ratio, it certainly does nothing to quell my doubts about the meaningfulness of cross-racial comparisons of digit ratio for inferring cross-racial differences in prenatal testosterone exposure. The critical windows of androgen exposure for developing males seem to come with mid-gestational and postnatal surges of testosterone to near-adult levels [2]. I'm inclined to believe, rather, black-white differences in digit ratio are due largely if not entirely to genetic factors unconnected to prenatal androgenization. On an entirely unrelated note, a caption above reads:
The hand is relatively broader and slightly shorter and the thumb relatively longer in the white fetus than in the negro fetus
Coincidentally, according to the second source I cite above (a review article from 2006):
Non-human apes and brachiating monkeys have shorter thumbs and longer fingers, and also lower 2D:4D.
Other differences reported in the 1921 study include smaller brain case and higher frequency of evolution toe in black fetuses (continue reading).

More correlations from Sheldon (1942)

Sheldon finds IQ positively related to aesthetic quality (the t component), grip strength, aesthetic intelligence ("the degree to which an individual reveals fine discernment and sensitive appreciation of his environment"), and sexuality ("manifest sexuality, or the relative importance and prominence of the sexual impulse in the individual's history"), and unrelated to masculinity/femininity and central strength ("back and leg lift", essentially deadlift I assume).
The positive correlation between aesthetic quality and IQ seems consistent with the suggestion that "an over-arching ‘fitness factor’ (an index of general genetic quality that predicts survival and reproductive success)" (pdf) contributes to both health and IQ. Sheldon believed t-component ratings reflected underlying genetic quality. Other reported physical correlates of IQ include more linear facial features (continue reading).

Sheldon's t component

Definitions of William H. Sheldon's "textural" or "thoroughbred" aesthetic factor (continue reading).

National Geographic on immigration to the US in 1906

THE following series of illustrations, showing different types of the immigrants who are now pouring into the United States [. . .] The immigrants were photographed immediately after disembarking, and are here shown just as they landed, most of them being still clad in their native costume
Full text and more photos from the article after the break (continue reading).

The practicability of transporting the negro back to Africa (1891)

A letter to the editor of Science. Compare to Hrdlicka's proposal. Robert Wilson Shufeldt was among other things the curator of the Army Medical Museum (continue reading).