X chromosomes and human demographic history

Amanda M Casto et al. Characterization of X-Linked SNP genotypic variation in globally-distributed human populations. Genome Biology 2010, 11:R10doi:10.1186/gb-2010-11-1-r10
We have explored the possible impacts of both demography and selection on X-linked genetic variation. With regards to the former, we were particularly interested in investigating the possibility of male versus female demographic differences as these can be detected by comparing autosomal and X-linked data. Previous studies have found evidence for skewed gender ratios. Indeed, here we showed that evidence for asymmetries in both directions (male Ne/ female Ne less than or greater than one) can be found within a single dataset. Our results suggest that the picture of male versus female demography is complex and that each study addressing this question should be viewed as providing insight on a particular geographical scale and period in history rather than an absolute answer.

Upcoming talk on Etruscan origins

Scheduled for 24th Sep 2010 at the Sanger Institute:

Origins and evolution of the Etruscans’ DNA
Speaker: Dr Guido Barbujani
Affiliation: University di Ferrara, Italy
Date: 24th Sep 2010 Time: 00:00:00
Venue: M2-03
Host: Chris Tyler-Smith
The Etruscan culture is documented in Etruria, Central Italy from the 7th to the 1st century BC. For more than 2,000 years there has been disagreement on the Etruscans’ biological origins, whether local or in Anatolia. Genetic affinities with modern Tuscan and Anatolian populations have been reported, but so far all attempts to fit the Etruscans’ and modern mitochondrial DNAs (mtDNAs) in the same genealogy have failed. In this study we considered that most populations are internally structured, and we analysed both Tuscany and Anatolia in finer geographical detail, comparing ancient and modern mtDNA data with the results of millions of computer simulations under various genealogical and demographic models. Using methods of Approximate Bayesian Computation, we show that people of coastal Anatolia, the area where ancient historians placed the Etruscans’ putative roots, are descended from ancestors who were genetically very similar to the Etruscans. In turn, the Etruscans can be considered ancestral, with a high degree of confidence, to the inhabitants of one Tuscan valley, Casentino, but not to other communities dwelling in the former Etruscan homeland. Our results demonstrate that the Etruscans’ DNA sequences are still present, but only in very specific sections of the Tuscan territory. They also support the existence of genetic links between Etruria and the Eastern Mediterranean shores, but place the relevant contact >10,000 years ago, strongly suggesting that the Etruscan culture developed locally without significant recent contribution of immigrants from Anatolia.

Did George Washington predict a "United States of Europe"?


This spurious quotation attributed to George Washington has been promoted recently by a poster at Majority Rights: “I am a citizen of the greatest Republic of Mankind. I see the human race united like a huge family by brotherly ties. We have made a sowing of liberty which will, little by little, spring up across the whole world. One day, on the model of the United States of America, a United States of Europe will come into being. The United States will legislate for all its nationalities.” Variations have also been repeated by Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, the half-Japanese founder of the Pan-European Union Coudenhove-Kalergi, Eric Voegelin, and others.

For the search engines, I'm reposting my reply from Majority Rights showing the source of this bogus Washington quotation below (continue reading):

"Oversized" Penile Length In The Black People; Myth Or Reality

Guy White "logic": reporting on an incident of bestiality which he asserts "does carry several stereotypes", one of the first three things that comes to guywhite's mind is: "This Black guy must be enormous down under to be able to do it with a horse." Reality:
“Oversized” Penile Length In The Black People; Myth Or Reality
JC Orakwe, GU Ebuh
Objective: Amongst the Caucasians and some non-Black races, there is the popular belief that the black people generally have longer penile sizes. Even the Blacks themselves tend to believe so. This study was carried out to test the veracity of this ascription of “oversized” penile length to people of the Black (Negro) race.
Design: A prospective and comparative study
Setting: The Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Nigeria.
Subjects and Method: Full-stretch flaccid penile lengths, and flaccid penile lengths, were measured in 115 adult men of the Black race in Nigeria. The results were compared with reported similar main studies on people of other races, which were accessible to the authors. These studies were done in Italy, Greece, Korea, Britain, and the United States of America.
Result: The mean full-stretch penile length of the Nigerian Blacks was 13.37cm and the mean flaccid length was 9.36cm. Similar studies reported full-stretch penile lengths of 12.50cm in Italians, 12.18cm in Greeks, 9.6cm in Koreans, 13cm in British Caucasians [note: the number reported for the British sample is actually the median, and is identical to the median for this Nigerian sample], and 12.45cm in the American Caucasians [note: this sample actually includes Asians, blacks, and whites]. The penile length for Nigerian Blacks was longer than those of the other races, but the differences were only statistically different in comparison with the Koreans.
Conclusion: There is the possibility of racial differences in penile sizes, but there is no convincing scientific background to support the ascription of bigger penile dimensions to people of the Black race
Keywords: Penile Length, Black Race, Penile Size
Tropical Journal of Medical Research Vol. 11 (1) 2007: pp. 16-18

[. . .] The observed longer flaccid penile length particularly may be partly responsible for the apparent impression that the Blacks have bigger penile dimensions. It is know that the flaccid penis is deformable extensible and elastic, and influenced by variations in ambient temperatures, and also by fear and anxiety. This influence may be due to the effect of these factors on the Dartos muscles, which contract in low temperature and in state of fear and anxiety, and relax in high temperatures. Native black environments have high ambient temperatures. Photographs taken in these environments may depict an apparently longer penile length in the flaccid state and this may erroneously be extrapolated to the erect state. We believe that most impressions of the "oversized" penile lengths in the blacks are derived from such pornographic photographs. This however may not be all the reason. Edward in the result of his survey of definitive penile size published on-line, observed that the average flaccid penile length of the black Americans was shorter compared to that of the American Caucasians, but that the average erect length of the American Caucasians was surprisingly longer. Since the comparison was done in the same environment, other factors may be contributory to the observed longer flaccid penile length in the blacks.

Related posts [updated 5/2015]:

Forthcoming genealogy-themed shows on American TV

Skip Gates' Faces of the Universe America, featuring Yo-Yo Ma (Paris-born Chinese), Queen Noor (half-Syrian resident of Jordan), Malcolm Gladwell (British-born Jamaican mulatto Canadian), Eva Longoria Parker (Mexican), Mike Nichols (Jewish), Mehmet Oz (Turkish), Stephen Colbert (Irish), Louise Erdrich (Amerindian), Kristi Yamaguchi (Japanese), Elizabeth Alexander (black), Mario Batali (Italian/English/French Canadian), and Meryl Streep (American), airs this February on PBS.

Should Faces of America leave you wanting to be forcefed yet more amazing tales of diverse American ancestry, you're in luck. NBC has scheduled the premiere of the American version of Who Do You Think You Are? for March:
Among the celebrities featured are Matthew Broderick [half-Jewish], Lisa Kudrow [Jewish and executive producer of the series], Spike Lee [black], Sarah Jessica Parker [half-Jewish], Susan Sarandon [Welsh/Irish/Italian], Brooke Shields [Irish/Italian] and Emmitt Smith [black]. Ancestry.com is NBC's official partner on the series.

Black musical ability

Jason Malloy, in his review of Richard Lynn's Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis, writes:
For the first time I've seen, Lynn also reviews tests of "MQ" or musical intelligence for black and white Americans. While blacks score lower on almost all the items, commensurate with the fact that IQ correlates with musical ability, they also do much better, on average, than whites on rhythm items - Lynn calculates a rhythm IQ for Af-Ams of 106, though no cross-cultural results are presented, this has been recognized in a number of societies through time. Since Sub-Saharan Africans have been musical innovators across a number of different countries, this topic should have more attention.
I haven't read Race Differences in Intelligence, but while I agree that a preponderance of evidence indicates rhythm is a relative strength of blacks, I'm skeptical of the idea that blacks have greater rhythmic ability than whites in adulthood. Matt Nuenke summarizes the results presented by Lynn as follows:
African Americans perform less well than Europeans on tests of musical abilities of pitch discrimination, tone discrimination, and memory, but they perform about the same as Europeans on tests of rhythm.
This conclusion falls more in line with the evidence I'm aware of (e.g. this study of high school students, which I see Lynn includes). Nuenke continues:
To show this pattern of musical abilities, the results of these studies have been aggregated to give a Musical Quotient (MQ) derived from tests of musical ability other than rhythm, and a Rhythm Quotient (RQ). The results of these studies are summarized in Table 4.8. Row 1 gives results for a large sample of African Americans in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia calculated from the Seashore Test and shows that they obtained an MQ (Musical Quotient) of 90 but a higher RQ (Rhythm Quotient) of 106. Row 2 gives results from a comparison of 272 European and 288 African American college students attending colleges in Tennessee, again showing that Europeans achieved higher scores on general musical ability (pitch, intensity, time, consonance, and total memory) but African Americans achieved a higher RQ (Rhythm Quotient) of 102. Row 3 gives results for a sample from a poor neighborhood in Washington, D.C. showing an MQ of 83 and an RQ of 96. Row 4 gives results for a sample of African-American 5-to-8-year-olds in Rochester in New York State with an MQ of 89 and an RQ of 104. Row 5 gives results for a sample of African-American 18-year-olds drawn from senior high school largely in Texas, with some from Illinois and Rochester in New York State, with an MQ of 86 based on tonal memory and pitch discrimination and an RQ of 100. The comparison group was 541 Europeans attending the same schools. All the studies show that African Americans have Rhythm IQs substantially greater than general Musical IQs by about 15 IQ points. There appears to be no change in the musical abilities of Africans over the period of approximately half a century from the 1920s to the late 1970s over which the studies have been conducted.
Black children may score slightly better than white children on tests of rhythm, but this most likely simply reflects the faster maturation of blacks:
The reader has no doubt noticed that the Negro fifth grade has consistently shown a tendency to compare better with the white fifth grade than the Negro eighth grade and adults compare with the respective white groups. Thus once more we have a verification of the oft-stated idea that the Negro child matures more rapidly than the white child.
[Yale S. Nathanson. The Musical Ability of the Negro. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 140, The American Negro (Nov., 1928), pp. 186-190]

A window into the tortured soul of Mencius Moldbadger

Moldbug outed himself today in a post at Unqualified Convolutions, so I see no harm in drawing attention to one of his early (semi-autobiographical, I take it) literary efforts, "Hybrid Vigor" (published in 1993 under the imprint of the cDc):
"Love me for my genes," says Antonio, kneeling. "If you cannot love me for myself, you must love me for my genes! I have never told anyone this before, I have always kept it to myself. I have always let them think it but an accident of cruel nature that I have white hair on my cheekbones and a thoroughly disreputable-looking nose, but the fact is that I am part badger on my father's side."

Maria gasps. "Oh! Antonio! And we jeered you so! Oh, Antonio, you poor creature, if we had only known!"

Antonio stands and they embrace. He chokes out sobs. "Oh! Maria! You must stand always by my side! You must be my badger-woman, you must bear my badger-children! Tonight, Maria, tonight we must unite in the writhing wanton lust of badger-flesh in ecstasy!"

Maria is crying. "Oh! Antonio! I will do always as you tell me! I will be your badger-woman, I will bear your badger-children, I will refrain from taunting your diminutive badger-penis! Oh, Antonio, be with me!"