Frieda’s ghost peppers are great

Recently I was at the supermarket, getting some shrimp at the fish counter. The clerk noticed I had some habanero peppers, and he asked if I’d checked out the ghost peppers. My interest was piqued, but I had no idea what he was talking about. He told me to look at again. They were Frieda’s […] Continue reading

Ancient archaic admixture into the Andamanese

A new paper on on archaic admixture in Andaman Islanders has come out. It’s in Nature Genetics, Genomic analysis of Andamanese provides insights into ancient human migration into Asia and adaptation. If you don’t have access, just read the supplements, they have the good stuff as usual. The results here range from intriguing to clarifying. But […] Continue reading

Open Thread, 7/24/2016

When people ask me what they should read to understand genetics, I don’t really know what to say. But An Introduction to Genetic Analysis is what I reviewed for my genetics qualifying exam. If you want to understand what PCA is, the Wikipedia page should suffice, especially if you have taken linear algebra. Perhaps ironically […] Continue reading

Pop gen; more robust than you’d think

One of the interesting things about genetics, and population genetics even more specifically, is how the theory and analysis outran the biophysical mechanism of the phenomenon. By this, I mean that the Mendelian laws inferred from transmission of physical characteristics predate any understanding about how genes were embedded within chromosomes, let alone the structural nature […] Continue reading

Mutation, a fundamental evolutionary genetic parameter

The mutation rate in human evolution and demographic inference: The germline mutation rate has long been a major source of uncertainty in human evolutionary and demographic analyses based on genetic data, but estimates have improved substantially in recent years. I discuss our current knowledge of the mutation rate in humans and the underlying biological factors […] Continue reading

The origins of Ashkenazi Jews near resolution

The Time and Place of European Admixture in the Ashkenazi Jewish History: The Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) population is important in medical genetics due to its high rate of Mendelian disorders and other unique genetic characteristics. Ashkenazi Jews have appeared in Europe in the 10th century, and their ancestry is thought to involve an admixture of […] Continue reading

The world after the great mixing

In my free moments I have been reading R. Scott Bakker’s The Great Ordeal, as I needed to take a break from Congo:The Epic History of a People (I stopped before the Great War). As you might guess the latter work is not a ‘feel-good’ work. And to be frank, The Great Ordeal is probably not […] Continue reading

The Great Human Disruptions

One can appreciate a work of art on two levels. When one beholds the sculpted renderings of the Classical Greeks, across the distance of more than 2,000 years we can feel viscerally that they have touched something beautiful, and made it stone. To reduce this to biology, our perception maps onto to deep grooves in […] Continue reading

Open Thread, 7/3/2016

The Great Ordeal, the third book in R. Scott Bakker’s Aspect Emperor series is going to come out in nine days. Bakker is apparently working on revisions to the fourth book, The Unholy Consult. So this series will complete (apparently Bakker’s original vision was for three related sequential series, so this would be the second […] Continue reading

10,000 genome at 30x & human variation

Deep Sequencing of 10,000 Human Genomes: We report on the sequencing of 10,545 human genomes at 30-40x coverage with an emphasis on quality metrics and novel variant and sequence discovery. We find that 84% of an individual human genome can be sequenced confidently. This high confidence region includes 91.5% of exon sequence and 95.2% of […] Continue reading

Institutional religion needs institutions

It is a common assertion to state Christianity helped maintain the continuity of Classical civilization down to the Medieval era, through the “Dark Age” of Europe after the Fall of Rome. A more extreme position is that Christianity was a necessary condition for the maintenance of this civilizational tradition. I recall once reading an alternative […] Continue reading

Why I’m bearish on Netflix

My Netflix account is going up in price from $7.99 to $9.99. They had warned this was going to happen. I don’t use Netflix much, so I’ve wondered if I should cancel (I have Amazon video options through Amazon Prime too). I probably won’t do so now, as it’s really cheap. But I don’t have […] Continue reading

Open Thread, 6/26/2016

I have been very busy obviously. This is not a complaint, though I wish I could spend more time with my family. I do things professionally that I love. And, I’m well compensated for it. Many people are not in a similar situation. I don’t have a major comment on the recent British vote aside […] Continue reading

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