Genetic Diversity Linked to Today's Taller, Smarter People


A study from the University of Edinburgh suggests those 
born to parents from diverse genetic backgrounds tend to
be taller and have sharper thinking skills than others. 
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh released a very interesting study on July 1st that concludes that having genetically diverse backgrounds appears to lead to taller people who have sharper thinking skills.  This result has implications both political and social, and well as on the personal level.
This result flies in the face of those who argue for the exclusion of others that are different than they are.  I have always felt that a community with a wide range of races is most interesting and vibrant.  For one thing, years of research on business start-ups shows that the majority of new businesses in the U.S. are started by immigrants or the children of immigrants.  This news adds a scientific basis for those who argue for inclusion in societies such as ours.
As always, this result has implications for the author and screenwriter, another bit of information to put into the process of developing realistic and believable characters in fiction.
Here's the report with a link to the full study in the attribution line:
*  *  *  *  *
Humans evolved to be taller
and faster-thinking, study suggests

"The only traits found to be affected by genetic
diversity are height and the ability to think quickly."

Those who are born to parents from diverse genetic backgrounds tend to be taller and have sharper thinking skills than others, the major international study has found.

Researchers analysed health and genetic information from more than 100 studies carried out around the world. These included details on more than 350,000 people from urban and rural communities.
The team found that greater genetic diversity is linked to increased height. It is also associated with better cognitive skills, as well as higher levels of education.

However, genetic diversity had no effect on factors such as high blood pressure or cholesterol levels, which affect a person's chances of developing heart disease, diabetes and other complex conditions.

Story Engineering

by Larry Brooks

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Researchers from the University of Edinburgh examined individuals' entire genetic make-up. They pinpointed instances in which people had inherited identical copies of genes from both their mother and their father -- an indicator that their ancestors were related.

Where few instances of this occur in a person's genes, it indicates greater genetic diversity in their heritage and the two sides of their family are unlikely to be distantly related.

It had been thought that close family ties would raise a person's risk of complex diseases but the researchers found this not to be the case. The only traits they found to be affected by genetic diversity are height and the ability to think quickly.

The findings suggest that over time, evolution is favouring people with increased stature and sharper thinking skills but does not impact on their propensity for developing a serious illness.

Dr Jim Wilson, of the University of Edinburgh's Usher Institute, said: "This study highlights the power of large-scale genetic analyses to uncover fundamental information about our evolutionary history."

Dr Peter Joshi, of the University of Edinburgh's Usher Institute, said: "Our research answers questions first posed by Darwin as to the benefits of genetic diversity. Our next step will be to hone in on the specific parts of the genome that most benefit from diversity."

Related stories:
Story Source: Materials provided by University of Edinburgh.  Peter K. Joshi, Tonu Esko, Hannele Mattsson, Niina Eklund, Ilaria Gandin, Teresa Nutile, Anne U. Jackson, Claudia Schurmann, Albert V. Smith, Weihua Zhang, Yukinori Okada, Alena Stančáková, Jessica D. Faul, Wei Zhao, Traci M. Bartz, Maria Pina Concas, Nora Franceschini, Stefan Enroth, Veronique Vitart, Stella Trompet, Xiuqing Guo, Daniel I. Chasman, Jeffrey R. O'Connel, Tanguy Corre, Suraj S. Nongmaithem et al. Directional dominance on stature and cognition in diverse human populations. Nature, 2015


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