Discovery.com (October 28, 2009)
"Culture, not just genes, can drive evolutionary outcomes, according to a study released Wednesday that compares individualist and group-oriented societies across the globe.
"Bridging a rarely-crossed border between natural and social sciences, the study looks at the interplay across 29 countries of two sets of data, one genetic and the other cultural...."
I think some of the silly science I had to learn, back in the seventies, was a reaction to the equally silly science of the 19th century. It's good to see that researchers are starting to look at the data, not just what they'd like as results.
This research is exciting, I think, because it's a start at learning more about differences between groups of people around the world. Not 'proving' that one group is better than another - but how and why we're different.
My guess is that this isn't (by far) the last word on how culture and genetics interact.
"...In China and other east Asian nations, for example, up to 80 percent of the population carry this so-called 'short' allele, or variant, of a stretch of DNA known as 5-HTTLPR...
"...it is also associated with the impulse to stay out of harm's way.
"By contrast, in countries of European origin that prize self-expression and the pursuit of individual over group goals, the long or "L" allele dominates, with only 40 percent of people carrying the "S" variant...."
As the late Steve Irwin said, "crikey!"
- "Broca's Center Multitasks: Big Brain Breakthrough"
(October 15, 2009)
- "Boy Monkeys aren't Like Girl Monkeys: Who'd Have Thunk?"
(July 30, 2009)