Are the Jews Genetically Different?

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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#441  Postby Agrippina » Mar 01, 2011 5:15 am

Mr samsa wrote:
This is the problematic part. What you're suggesting is this:

1) Musical activities produced epigenetic changes that hunting and other similar work did not - i.e. it exposed them to more chemicals or caused them higher levels of stress.
2) These epigenetic changes, for no reason at all, just happened to affect the people in ways that coincided with the activities they were doing at the time - i.e. playing the violin, even though no epigenetic theory has ever suggested this is likely or possible (in other words, Peter Parker gets bitten by a spider and now he can climb walls).
3) These changes were inheritable
4) There was a selection pressure for these changes.

The level of impossibility increases with each link in your thought process. #1 is conceivably possible, but #2 is so insanely wrong that it's not even worth considering. And since #3 and #4 rely on the truth of the previous premises, then they are at the same level of impossibility.

At the end of the day you need to understand this:

Epigenetic changes caused by playing the violin, if possible, would be a result of something like stress or consistent contact with some kind of chemicals. As such, the epigenetic changes will be similar to all kinds of epigenetic changes caused by stress - that is, there is no reason to think that the epigenetic change in this situation would be consistent with an improvement in violin playing ability.


Nice. That sorted out my confusion about what he was saying.
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#442  Postby Shrunk » Mar 01, 2011 11:32 am

Agrippina wrote: Nice. That sorted out my confusion about what he was saying.


Yes. The difference between "Lamarckism" and "neo-Lamarckism": Lamarckism says that acquired morphological or behavioural traits are passed on to descendents. Neo-Lamarckism says that acquired genetic changes can be passed on to descendents. IOW, in strict neo-Darwinism, any mutations that increase genetic diversity, and upon which natural selection can act, occur sometime between gamete formation in the parent and the birth of the child. Whatever genetic changes the child is born with is all he can pass on to his progeny. "Neo-Lamarckism" simply states that genetic changes can also be acquired after birth and these can also be passed on to progeny. It doesn't mean that the child of a parent who lifts weights will be born with big biceps. Hopefully everyone in this thread gets it now.
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#443  Postby Federico » Mar 01, 2011 2:11 pm

If I could have had the power to predict the future when I started this thread on August 30, 2010, I am sure I would have stopped on my tracks so not to cause an acrimonious debate on technical details of no interest to the Forumists.
Actually, I was rather expecting an accusation of racism for suggesting the Jews had specific genetic markings, and this is what I wrote then:
".... the existence of subtle albeit powerful differences in the way genes are regulated which give rise to differences in the phenotype between single human beings belonging to the same ethnic group, as well as between humans belonging to different ethnic groups.
The way people use these data to extrapolate to differences in values is pure racism and certainly does not invalidate the search for genomic differences resulting (e.g.) in different susceptibility to various diseases."


Now I believe it's time to move on -- as suggested by Mr.Samsa -- to a thread (The Cognitive Brain) more congruous with topics which I personally find quite stimulating such as:

  • Music and the Brain
  • Chess and Other Mathematical Skills and the Brain
  • Sex and the Brain
  • Memory and the Brain
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#444  Postby stijndeloose » Aug 12, 2012 4:15 pm

To get back on topic, I shall just quote this here, since it seems relevant to the OP:

campermon wrote:To help out SD ( :grin: ) I dug up these papers that do show that self identifying Jewish populations do share genetic heritage:

"A genetic profile of contemporary Jewish populations"
http://bernshtam.name/dna/books/profile.pdf

and

"Abraham’s Children in the Genome Era: Major Jewish Diaspora Populations Comprise Distinct Genetic Clusters with Shared Middle Eastern Ancestry"
http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0002929710002466 ... e1adfc4a79

From the first paper we get in the conclusion;

"Conclusion
None of the studies so far has shown that genetic differences within Jewish groups are smaller than differences between groups or between Jews and non-Jews. Jewishness is not determined by genetics.Nonetheless, genetic threads run through Jewish populations that provides them with a group identity. This genetic identity has been retained and modified, much as the religious and cultural identity of Jews has been retained and modified over more than two millennia."


From the second paper we get in the discussion;

"This study demonstrates that the studied Jewish populations represent a series of geographical isolates or clusters with genetic threads that weave them together. These threads are observed as IBD segments that are shared within and between Jewish groups. Over the past 3000 years, both the flow of genes and the flow of religious and cultural ideas have contributed to Jewishness."

There is nothing in either paper to refute the words of Robert Pollack ( Professor, Columbia University, Department of Biological Sciences.) when he stated that one cannot determine the biological "Jewishness" of an individual because "there are no DNA sequences common to all Jews and absent from all non-Jews".

If you have any papers that demonstrate that 'Jewishness' can be determined biologically, then we'd all love to read them.

:cheers:


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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#445  Postby stijndeloose » Aug 12, 2012 4:26 pm

This was related to a claim by Strontium Dog that whether a person is Jewish or not can be determined by analysis of their DNA, a claim which he repeated several times, including here, here, here and, in a bit of roundabout way, here, and which he has yet to support.

Btw, I don't think the paper presented here can be considered evidence, since it's only about Ashkenazi Jews, and pretty much ignores other Jewish populations such as Kurdish Jews, Syrian Jews Bukharan Jews, Juhurim etc. etc.

In any case, that study seems to demonstrate traits that are more common among Azhkenazi Jews, but (unless I've missed something) give no clues as to whether Jewishness can be determined from someone's DNA or not.

EDIT: Link corrected.
Last edited by stijndeloose on Aug 12, 2012 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#446  Postby campermon » Aug 12, 2012 4:56 pm

I think SD has flounced because we were 'trolling' him i.e. asking him to present evidence.

:popcorn:
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#447  Postby Emmeline » Aug 12, 2012 5:06 pm

This is the question I'd like answered:

Emmeline wrote:
Strontium Dog wrote:
ScholasticSpastic wrote: there's nothing genetic about race.


Except in the case of ethnic Jewish people, it is genetic, and a quick glance at someone's Y chromosome or mDNA will, in most instances, confirm this.

Is this true? Can a quick glance at someone's Y chromosome or mDNA confirm (in most instances) that someone is ethnically Jewish?
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#448  Postby stijndeloose » Aug 12, 2012 5:12 pm

stijndeloose wrote:Btw, I don't think the paper presented here can be considered evidence, since it's only about Ashkenazi Jews, and pretty much ignores other Jewish populations such as Kurdish Jews, Syrian Jews Bukharan Jews, Juhurim etc. etc.

In any case, that study seems to demonstrate traits that are more common among Azhkenazi Jews, but (unless I've missed something) give no clues as to whether Jewishness can be determined from someone's DNA or not.

EDIT: Link corrected.


As a matter of fact, that paper shows pretty much the opposite of what SD was claiming (at least for Ashkenazi Jews).
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#449  Postby campermon » Aug 12, 2012 5:23 pm

Emmeline wrote:This is the question I'd like answered:

Emmeline wrote:
Strontium Dog wrote:
ScholasticSpastic wrote: there's nothing genetic about race.


Except in the case of ethnic Jewish people, it is genetic, and a quick glance at someone's Y chromosome or mDNA will, in most instances, confirm this.

Is this true? Can a quick glance at someone's Y chromosome or mDNA confirm (in most instances) that someone is ethnically Jewish?


I don't think SD will respond.

Your question will remain unanswered 'til the end of time.........

:cheers:















BTW - the answer is no.
;)
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#450  Postby stijndeloose » Aug 12, 2012 5:54 pm

Relevant quotes from the article Frederico linked to:

Through genomic analysis, researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have shown that the Ashkenazi Jewish population is genetically more diverse than people of European descent, despite previous assumptions that Ashkenazi Jews have been an isolated population.


"We were surprised to find evidence that Ashkenazi Jews have higher heterozygosity than Europeans, contradicting the widely-held presumption that they have been a largely isolated group," says first author Steven Bray, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in Warren's laboratory.


On the other hand, they did indeed find traits that were more prevalent among Azhkenazi Jews:

The two strongest differences between the Ashkenazi and European populations were on chromosome 2 and 12. A region including the lactase gene, which confers lactose tolerance, on chromosome 2 showed signs of strong selection in Europeans but not the Ashkenazi.


In addition, a region on chromosome 12 showed selection in the Ashkenazi Jewish population but not Europeans.


Not that this in any way supports Strontium Dog's claim, of course.
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#451  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Aug 12, 2012 7:12 pm

:popcorn: Bookmarking.
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#452  Postby THWOTH » Aug 12, 2012 10:49 pm

I would also like Strontium Dog to justify his assertion that 'Jewishness' is a matter of genetics.

THWOTH wrote:
Strontium Dog wrote:
ScholasticSpastic wrote:Because by some magic, stupid means, Judaism is a race, a religion, and a culture.

There's nothing magic or stupid about genetics.

So, it seems that any individual's 'Jewishness' can be non-magically determined by genetics these days. Perhaps you could identify the genetic factors which, when present, determine an individual's Jewishness regardless of their declared or ascribed ethnic, religious, or cultural identity?

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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#453  Postby Someone » Aug 13, 2012 12:55 am

It only makes limited sense for Jewishness to have a genetic component. If I were to walk into a synagogue and ask to become Jewish and were accepted for the process (Details about which I mostly lack), I don't think my genes would change. It is not now a proselytizing religion, but it has been in the distant past and converts continue to be accepted, to my knowledge. It does, of course, make some sense. But limited. There is nothing too surprising about a fair degree of genetic clustering. It's a somewhat strange topic, because it seems to and does have an obvious answer. The detailed study material of the nature of the genetic clustering is interesting, though, with the result, not too surprising, that (apparently) restrictions on employment in Europe for a millennium toward certain professions requiring more mental skill than the ordinary--plus a lot of basic survival pressure--have led the Ashkenazi population to a higher average intelligence (and also may have put secondary survival importance on genetic defects not related to mental activities).
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#454  Postby stijndeloose » Aug 13, 2012 5:14 am

Still, none of that supports SD's claims, does it?
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#455  Postby Someone » Aug 13, 2012 11:36 pm

What were SD's claims?
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#456  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Aug 13, 2012 11:42 pm

Someone wrote:What were SD's claims?

Strontium Dog wrote:
ScholasticSpastic wrote: there's nothing genetic about race.


Except in the case of ethnic Jewish people, it is genetic, and a quick glance at someone's Y chromosome or mDNA will, in most instances, confirm this.

Who are we using for our basis for comparison? Ethnic Ethiopian Jews? Ashkenazi Jews? There is far more reason to split Jewish populations than to lump them. And there is far more reason to lump human populations than to split them.
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#457  Postby Shrunk » Aug 14, 2012 4:09 pm

ScholasticSpastic wrote:
Someone wrote:What were SD's claims?

Strontium Dog wrote:
ScholasticSpastic wrote: there's nothing genetic about race.


Except in the case of ethnic Jewish people, it is genetic, and a quick glance at someone's Y chromosome or mDNA will, in most instances, confirm this.

Who are we using for our basis for comparison? Ethnic Ethiopian Jews? Ashkenazi Jews? There is far more reason to split Jewish populations than to lump them. And there is far more reason to lump human populations than to split them.


I think there is a more basic problem with Strontium Dog's claim (even above and beyond the fact that it is simply untrue). I'm trying to make this same point on the thread about "race" and Olympic athletes:

Let's suppose SD's claim was correct, and it was possible to identify a group of people we call "Jews" based on their Y chromosome or mDNA. But let's take another physical trait that we do not typically identify w/ any particular race. Say, for example, whether someone's second toe is longer or shorter than the big toe. Now, let's suppose we could identify which trait a person has (long second toe, or short second toe) based on a "quick glance" at their genome (which, for all I know, may actually be possible).

Would it then be valid to argue that there are two "races" of human beings: Those with long second toes, and those with short second toes? If not, then why is it valid to argue that Jews are a distinct "race" because they can be identified thru their genome?
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#458  Postby Someone » Aug 14, 2012 8:25 pm

Well, it is pretty much accepted among scholars (with some outliers who disagree) that race has always been and is a social construct of limited to no biological basis (at least in terms of drawing sharp lines). Even gender is spectral, it might be added. For the most part the variation within groups not specifically drawn for the traits in question (Oftenest, things like intelligence and mental illness are the topics) is greater than the differences between the different groups. So, when one says Ashkenazi Jews are more intelligent on average than other 'racial' groups, one is carelessly ignoring that there are almost as many geniuses proportionally in other groups and almost as many idiots among the Ashkenazi Jews. It's not entirely meaningless (and for this particular group the average difference is somewhat surprisingly large from what I understand (around 15 IQ points, I think)), but you would not base many individual decisions on such things if being reasonable.

As far as genetic markers for Jews is concerned, I have heard that identification of the specific priestly line of Cohens (and some related surnames) through common Y chromosome has produced interesting affirmative results; but I have not read anything about it recently enough to say much.
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#459  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Aug 15, 2012 1:04 am

Someone wrote:
As far as genetic markers for Jews is concerned, I have heard that identification of the specific priestly line of Cohens (and some related surnames) through common Y chromosome has produced interesting affirmative results; but I have not read anything about it recently enough to say much.

In order for Jew = Race to be true, there would need to be some trait shared by all Jews, and not shared with non-Jews; and that trait would need to be biological rather than cultural or religious in origin. Given that there are very distinct populations identifying as Jews, it is highly unlikely that we'd be able to find any such trait. This is why, even accepting that "race" is an essentially meaningless social construct, I so strongly resist categorizing Jews as a race. It might be possible to delineate a plurality of races of Jews, but almost certainly not any sort of monolithic Jewish race.
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#460  Postby Shrunk » Aug 15, 2012 10:10 am

ScholasticSpastic wrote:
Someone wrote:
As far as genetic markers for Jews is concerned, I have heard that identification of the specific priestly line of Cohens (and some related surnames) through common Y chromosome has produced interesting affirmative results; but I have not read anything about it recently enough to say much.

In order for Jew = Race to be true, there would need to be some trait shared by all Jews, and not shared with non-Jews; and that trait would need to be biological rather than cultural or religious in origin. Given that there are very distinct populations identifying as Jews, it is highly unlikely that we'd be able to find any such trait. This is why, even accepting that "race" is an essentially meaningless social construct, I so strongly resist categorizing Jews as a race. It might be possible to delineate a plurality of races of Jews, but almost certainly not any sort of monolithic Jewish race.



I think even that concedes too much validity to the concept of a biological "race". Again, are short-second-toed people a "race"?
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