Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Missing Heritability

I have been telling you for years how much everything you think is your great parenting, or your parents' great parenting, or your hard work, or good character, or gumption, or good old days educational system is more likely genetics. The last twenty years of hard science invading the social sciences has been pretty convincing along those lines.

However, there is a dirty little secret I haven't told you about.  A lot of the great evidence is not replicating as cleanly as predicted, and some claims turn out to be shockingly unsupported.  There are reported alleles that cause one thing or another that disappear upon replication.  Critics say "See, we told you so.  There are hidden similarities in environment just from growing up somewhere in America that makes the separated twins' genetics look like more of a driver than they are."  Or "Yeah, you sneered at epigenetics, but that's what you're seeing now, turkey."  Measurement errors, cross-cultural definitions, yes, yes, these could be problems. 

Everything I have been telling you could just blow up, true.  I think this is the decade we find out.  We might get our answer because of clever theorists plus new information that has greater explanatory power.  But even if that doesn't happen, the brute force of computational power is going to reveal a lot.  More full genomes (mine was worth $10K when I got it, sometimes you can get them as part of a bulk package for under $100 now), looked at with more granularity, poured into bigger studies, is going to bull its way through walls.  The appearance of heritability is so overwhelming in what we are seeing in behavior and traits that I believe that is what will emerge on the other side. I don't think I will have to come to you hat in hand asking for your forgiveness.  Not about this one, anyway.

18 comments:

Donna B. said...

Heritability is the most interesting thing in my genealogical search. My father's sibling, half-siblings, and step-siblings (who were also 2nd cousins, but no incest!) are a tiny goldmine of such. It's almost *too* easy to predict the cousins who will get which disease and who will get a combination of diseases. There were five 'founding families' in this area post civil war and three traits (arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, longevity) are traceable/predictable. I request death certificates for cause of death more than for lineage.

My mother's family is also predictable, but to a lesser degree. For one thing, 7 siblings instead of 14. The traits there are diabetes, high blood pressure (strokes) and longevity. Socially, my mother's family were ornery, judgmental, and much more likely to 'disown' someone than my father's family. On my father's side, the tribal tendencies were toward "you're one of us, little else matters... and that included those who married into the family. My Dad was a character - I had three stepmothers after my Mom divorced him. Two of those three attended family reunions with my Mom. The other was rejected because she didn't treat my Dad "right". All but one of my Mom's siblings rejected my father when they divorced... and that sibling rejected my mother at the same time.

So, that's TMI. However, I'd like your opinion on whether the 'social' tendencies might have some basis in genetics.



Assistant Village Idiot said...

I do believe that social tendencies sometimes have a physical undergirding and are thus ripe for heritability. Impatience, distractability, perseverance of mood, comfortableness with change, loyalty. Lots of stuff.

Maybe everything.

Donna B. said...

"Maybe everything"

Well, that narrows it down, eh?

Donna B. said...

"Impatience, distractability, perseverance of mood, comfortableness with change, loyalty."

I think impatience and perseverance of mood are possibly more prevalent on my mother's side. I cite some inventions that sped up some tedious chores and a tendency toward distractibility, depression, and lack of persistence that kept them on the edge of poverty.

On my father's side, impatience, perseverance of mood, and comfortableness with change (perhaps seeking change?) led more than a few of them to affluence.

Loyalty to the chosen path worked both for and against.

Aggie said...

Hi AVI

I've long considered getting the genetic screening done mostly because I'm curious about the blank spots in our family history. But I'm also concerned about data privacy, and all the horror stories we here about your genetic information being exploited without your consent or even your awareness, and potentially to your ultimate detriment. Where should I look for a service that is discreet and abides by its ethical responsibilities?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I had a whole genome done for free when it was worth $10K - by BGI, which I now regret. Terrible choice on my part. So I don't think I'm an authority here.

Insightome is very academic research directed, so maybe that would be a lead

PenGun said...

Its all right here:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL848F2368C90DDC3D

I have posted it many times, but I may be the only one I know who has "taken the course".

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I watched about seven of them. I do recommend him. It was good but not entirely convincing.

PenGun said...

LOL. Not convincing? Perhaps the best teacher I have ever seen and I went to an expensive private school.

The problem for you religious types, is that understood well what he teaches makes free will a canard. Its almost pure Buddhism though. ;)

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Free will is misunderstood, and it is one of the things he misunderstands as well. Strawman free will. You are stating you subscribe to a similar belief, so I guess you are volunteering that there are bits you don't understand and don't believe you have to.

I fully grant that most Christians and Jews who attempt to explain it quickly reveal themselves as folks who haven't thought things through. But that doesn't mean no one has thought it through. There is a statement, attributed to the Buddha but likely not something he ever said or pointed to. Still, it's pretty good. When the student is ready, the teacher arrives.

PenGun said...

You are quite simply, an expression of your genes. The universe being its self. He misunderstands nothing about this. He doesn't like it much though. ;)

Free will is an illusion, but necessary to any religion that has a god.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

We apologise for being so inadequate.

For the record, I wasn't referring to his teaching about free will. You assume a great deal.

PenGun said...

Who is this we you speak of? Free will is not really what we were talking about. I am happy to continue though. ;)

I am interested in what part of a university science course you have problems with. There are few in his field that would call his work, 'not entirely convincing'.

So your lack of faith in his knowledge and his course is quite interesting. I'm pretty sure you have little expertise in his chosen field, and would like to know what you find unconvincing.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I am debating here whether to answer at all. I learned decades ago, from watching people challenge the credentials of others, entirely exclusive of anyone challenging mine, that whenever someone challenges your credentials, no answer will be good enough. The person challenging does not have the humility necessary to proceed. You are confirming that expensive lesson for me.

I actually know a fair bit about a few things related to the subject, and am moderately good at even this particular bit. But you don't get anything from me until you demonstrate that you have even the minimum humility to hear contrary information.

Remember that I have seen you in other forums, and have long noted that this is the key missing ingredient. You are clearly intelligent, and just as clearly have no humility. This will be good for you. If that seems arrogant on my part, you might consider the opposite interpretation, that it is actually quite humble, for reasons that could become clear to you if you would but try.

PenGun said...

So you have nothing. You tend to go hide when it gets even a bit out of your control. Hey its your forum. ;)

Assistant Village Idiot said...

You know my tendencies very well, of course, after 7000 posts.

PenGun said...

In my few interactions with you I have noticed this tendency. Make of that what you will. ;)

viscount flyte said...


THE MISSING HERITABILITY WAS NEVER THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE YOU RETARDED PROTESTANT FAGGOT!
THE MISSING HERITABILITY WAS NEVER THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE YOU RETARDED PROTESTANT FAGGOT!
THE MISSING HERITABILITY WAS NEVER THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE YOU RETARDED PROTESTANT FAGGOT!
THE MISSING HERITABILITY WAS NEVER THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE YOU RETARDED PROTESTANT FAGGOT!
THE MISSING HERITABILITY WAS NEVER THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE YOU RETARDED PROTESTANT FAGGOT!
THE MISSING HERITABILITY WAS NEVER THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE YOU RETARDED PROTESTANT FAGGOT!
THE MISSING HERITABILITY WAS NEVER THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE YOU RETARDED PROTESTANT FAGGOT!
THE MISSING HERITABILITY WAS NEVER THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE YOU RETARDED PROTESTANT FAGGOT!
THE MISSING HERITABILITY WAS NEVER THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE YOU RETARDED PROTESTANT FAGGOT!
THE MISSING HERITABILITY WAS NEVER THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE YOU RETARDED PROTESTANT FAGGOT!
THE MISSING HERITABILITY WAS NEVER THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE YOU RETARDED PROTESTANT FAGGOT!
THE MISSING HERITABILITY WAS NEVER THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE YOU RETARDED PROTESTANT FAGGOT!
THE MISSING HERITABILITY WAS NEVER THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE YOU RETARDED PROTESTANT FAGGOT!
THE MISSING HERITABILITY WAS NEVER THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE YOU RETARDED PROTESTANT FAGGOT!
THE MISSING HERITABILITY WAS NEVER THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE YOU RETARDED PROTESTANT FAGGOT!
THE MISSING HERITABILITY WAS NEVER THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE YOU RETARDED PROTESTANT FAGGOT!