Razib Khan One-stop-shopping for all of my content

March 28, 2012

How culture crashes clines

Filed under: Afghanistan,Anthroplogy,Human Genetics,Pashtun — Razib Khan @ 11:14 pm

The USA has been in Afghanistan for over 10 years now. Like many Americans my own personal preference is that we get out as soon as possible. Because of American involvement we see terms like “Pashtun” bandied about in the media, but there is little further exploration. But politics and international relations are the not focus of this post, at least not politics and international relations in our time. A new paper in PLoS ONE examines the Y-chromosomal patterns as they partition across ethnic groups in Afghanistan. By this, we mean the direct paternal lineage of Afghan men. Additionally, the authors place the results in a broader Eurasian context. The results are not surprising, though they add greater precision and power to our picture because of their sample size. The main downside is that they did not include mtDNA (maternal lineage) or autosomal analysis (the total ancestry, not just the paternal or maternal line).


At this point most Americans should in theory have a general sense of Afghan ethnography. But let’s go over it again. First and foremost you have Pashtuns, who are a broad coalition of tribes who are ...

August 14, 2010

Afghanistan, an exceptional nation

Filed under: Afghanistan,Anthroplogy,Culture,Google Data Explorer — Razib Khan @ 1:15 am

Most readers of this weblog are aware that the United States is in a mission of “nation building” in Afghanistan. I know that we probably deny that, but that’s what it is. Going through Google data explorer I’m struck by what an exceptional nation we’ve decided to intervene in. Below is a chart which has infant mortality rate on the y-axis and life expectancy on the x-axis. I’ve allowed the bubbles to be defined by their regions in terms of color, and labelled the South & Central Asian nations to give a sense of the change in vital statistics for the “peers” of Afghanistan over the past generation. Observe that Sub-Saharan Africa is pulling away from Afghanistan in the last 10 years!

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