Study notes for Carl Zimmer, She Has Her Mother’s Laugh, chapter 7.

NOTE: There is some pretty awful stuff in this chapter. Be prepared for historical sources using highly offensive words and making blatantly racist statements. For a historian, quotation is not endorsement. See however, the first class-study question, next week.

Vocab help:

PKU (p. 184) stands for phenylketonuria, a medical condition caused by a defect in one of the genes that produces an enzyme needed to break down phenylalanine. Accumulation of phenylalanine and its metabolites in the blood can cause severe mental retardation and seizures unless phenylalanine is eliminated from the diet beginning at birth.

CHERUBISM (p. 185) “Hereditary progressive bilateral swelling at the angle of the mandible, and sometimes the entire jaw, giving a cherubic look to the face, in some cases enhanced by upturning of the eyes.”  (accessed 18 Oct 2018)

1. What services did 23andMe offer before 2013. How did their services change after that? Do you know anyone who has used 23andMe or similar services like Illumina?

2. Why does the likelihood you inherited any DNA from an ancestor decrease the further back you go in time?

3. How many generations back do you need to go for there to be less than a 50% chance that you inherited any DNA from an ancestor in that generation?

4. What was the surprising result of Joseph Chang’s 1999 mathematical model of human heredity over a long timescale?

5. How far back do you need to go for Chang’s result to hold?

6. What is a haplogroup?

7. Where did the woman live who carried the mitochondrial DNA that gave rise to all mitochodrial haplogroups today? Which group in the US Census Bureau’s race categories do you think she would belong to?

8. Where did the man live who carried the y-chromosome DNA that gave rise to all y-chromosome haplogroups today? Which group in the US Census Bureau’s race categories do you think he would belong to?

9. Why couldn’t Mitochodrial Eve marry Y-chromosome Adam?

10. According to Zimmer, where and why did the modern concept of race first appear?

11. What concept of race did Carl Linnaeus introduce?

12. What concept of race did Johann Blumenbach introduce?

13. Based on last week’s reading which of the above is closest to Darwin’s classification?

14. Was Frederick Douglass black or white? Is your answer based on science? Culture? Law?

15. What was the Eugenics movement?

16. What were the differences in method and outcome for the studies carried out by Davenport and Jordan, and by Du Bois?

17. What did Hanka and Ludwig Hirzfeld conclude about the blood types represent in 16 ethnics groups they studied in wartime Salonika?

18. Why did Theodosius Dobzhansky use fruit flies to study chromosome inversions?

19. What did the distribution of chromosome inversions tell him?

20. How did Richard Lewontin improve on Dobzhansky’s method for gathering genetic data?

21. What was the most important idea in Lewontin’s 1972 paper “The Apportionment of Human Diversity”? You may download the whole paper from CANVAS.

22. What later developments have confirmed his ideas?

23. Does the adoption of medical guidelines approving different treatments for Black, White and Asian Americans prove, never-the-less, that races exist?