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Genes and nationalities


MarkE
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Can specific genes be related to nationalities? Our DNA is our identity, and because people from the same country/culture/religion are more related to each other, maybe this is also the case with genes being switched on or off? So do (of course never 100%) most of the Dutch, or Africans, or Chinese, carry the same gene that's switched on or off?

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Population specific/enriched gene expression differences would be very subject to environmental differences and inherently noisy/unreliable.

 

There are allelic differences between populations, some with functional consequences. However we need to be careful not to confuse "nationality" with a "population". A nation like China is highly diverse with many different populations, some quite different from each other. Populations like those in Tibet or in the Northwestern parts of China are going to collectively look different than those on the Eastern regions. Even a more ethnically homogenous region/nation like Denmark will be complicated by various migration/intermarrying events.

 

Humans are very mobile creatures and populations have mixed continuously throughout history. The result being that there are very few clear/hard distinctions. Human populations existing rather on a continuous gradient with varying amounts of admixture, making any attempt to draw clear distinctions impossible.

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All right, but some characteristics belong to people with the same religion or nationality. I understand the mixtures in the past, but then you better study those that didn't mix that much, f.i. Arabs. In all arab countries people understand oher Arab dialects, and they also marry orhers from the same muslim religion, so you better study them than Chinese, perhaps, because of less variety and mixture. I just like to know if some genes (on/off) are found in people with the same morals, or maybe no links at all are found yet.

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Morality, religion and language are entirely cultural. There is no genetic component.

 

Arab populations are very mixed because they have spread over such a large area in the past. (I suspect "Arab" is a linguistic rather than an ethnic/genetic definition).

 

Of course, you will find different frequencies of some alleles in different populations. That can be used to study the movement and relationships of groups in the past.

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So...genes only code for how we look?

...and not morals/values of groups of people?

Our genes can have some impact on behavior as well as looks, but no, that doesn't extend to the level of morals/values for whole groups of people. That's entirely cultural and not a result of genetics.
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All right, but some characteristics belong to people with the same religion or nationality. I understand the mixtures in the past, but then you better study those that didn't mix that much, f.i. Arabs. In all arab countries people understand oher Arab dialects, and they also marry orhers from the same muslim religion, so you better study them than Chinese, perhaps, because of less variety and mixture. I just like to know if some genes (on/off) are found in people with the same morals, or maybe no links at all are found yet.

 

Those are cultural, not genetic factors. If you look at many of these populations at a genetic level, you would find that they do not segregate the way you would expect

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Does that mean that DNA doesn't tell us who and how we are/think, only codes for how we look and how we're built from inside? What 'codes' for our morals and values, then?

 

Delta1212, you're saying "Our genes can have some impact on behavior", can you give an example?

 

Impact, affect..it's not the same as really 'to code for' something. Maybe the source for our morals and value lies not in DNA, but in our brain, or am I way off track here?

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Does that mean that DNA doesn't tell us who and how we are/think, only codes for how we look and how we're built from inside? What 'codes' for our morals and values, then?

 

Culture and upbringing.

 

 

Maybe the source for our morals and value lies not in DNA, but in our brain, or am I way off track here?

 

There may be some innate aspects to our morals (e.g. nearly all cultures have similar rules on murder). But if it is in our brain, then it is in our genes. But in that case it is also universal.

All right, but some characteristics belong to people with the same religion or nationality. I understand the mixtures in the past, but then you better study those that didn't mix that much, f.i. Arabs.

 

How do you know that Arab populations are less mixed than others? Evidence?

 

In all arab countries people understand oher Arab dialects

 

Some other dialects, certainly. Not all. There is as much variation between Arabic languages/dialects as there is between Romance languages in Europe.

 

, and they also marry orhers from the same muslim religion

 

Not all of them. And not all Arabs are Muslims.

 

, so you better study them than Chinese, perhaps, because of less variety and mixture.

 

I have heard exactly the same (false) arguments made about the Chinese.

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@ Strange

 

"Culture and upbringing".

These are influencing our morals and values, yes, but you're still not telling where this is situated in the human body! Where are culture and upbringing values situated, in our DNA? In our brains?

 

"How do you know that Arab populations are less mixed than others? Evidence?"

I meant that their morals don't change that much. They marry with people that have already the same morals. I never heard of a muslim marrying a German womabn, or an Asian. Well of course sometimes it might happen, but in Europe this happens more often.

 

"Some other dialects, certainly. Not all. There is as much variation between Arabic languages/dialects as there is between Romance languages in Europe."
Ok this is VERY wrong. I've spoken with many Arab speaking people, and they can understand EVERY Arab dialect there is. So yes, there are dialects, but the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. So language is an indicator of the alinea above, what I just tried to explain.

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These are influencing our morals and values, yes, but you're still not telling where this is situated in the human body! Where are culture and upbringing values situated, in our DNA? In our brains?

 

Almost by definition, culture is not located in our brains. (Excpet in the most general sense, that all our thought are.)

 

I meant that their morals don't change that much.

 

Before my browser crashed, I wrote a long paragraph refuting this with examples of the variety of opinion in the Arab world. This referenced the "Arab Spring" uprisings, the differences between the repressive Saudi regime and more liberal Gulf states, the changes over history where Christains and Jews were treated as equals then repressed and then treated more liberally again. But I can't be bothered to type the whole thing again!

 

Also, in the past there were often pictures of the Prophet in religious books, now many people think that is not allowed (but some people don't). Some women wear the veil and others don't.

 

In summary, your view seems very simplistic.

 

 

Ok this is VERY wrong. I've spoken with many Arab speaking people, and they can understand EVERY Arab dialect there is.

 

Native speakers are often not a good source of information about their language (perhaps, surprisingly). Especially when the whole issue of language vs dialect and social unity, is a very political one. Also, how many of your informants have been exposed to all Arabic dialects.?

 

They may be thinking of the fact that they can understand both the written form of Arabic and their own spoken language (and some local dialect varieties).

 

Some of the spoken varieties are mutually unintelligible,%5B4%5D both written and orally, and the varieties as a whole constitute a sociolinguistic language. This means that on purely linguistic grounds they would likely be considered to constitute more than one language, but are commonly grouped together as a single language for political and/or religious reasons (see below).

 

Also, while it is comprehensible to people from the Maghreb, a linguistically innovative variety such as Moroccan Arabic is essentially incomprehensible to Arabs from the Mashriq, much as French is incomprehensible to Spanish or Italian speakers. This suggests that the spoken varieties may linguistically be considered separate languages.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_language

 

Similar claims are sometimes made about the Chinsese languages, for similar reasons.

Edited by Strange
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It is possible that certain aspects of human morality are under some degree of genetic regulation or influence that varies between different genetic lines or heritages.

 

In particular, we have found that a stronger adrenaline response - fear reaction - to strange people or new things is both genetically inherited in part and correlated with authoritarian, "conservative", expressions of moral judgment.

 

And since the relative proportion of people who react with these genetically originating adrenaline spikes does seem to vary by region, ethnicity, etc, there is some ground for anticipating a correlation of such factors with social norms of morality.

 

But the correlation is far from unity, and other circumstances have strong influence as well, so there's no reason to put too much stock in genetics when considering the variation of morality between different peoples.

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Some of the confusing over this topic may be a result of failing to understanding how little out breeding is required for a trait to diffuse through a population.


Cultural barriers are of course relevant to mate selection as well as geological isolation. There are distinct physical characteristic for many ethnic groups even if they live in close proximity to each other. The inverse that cultural isolation is promoted by genetic diversity is perhaps relevant as well. Physical attraction may be higher for people who share physical characteristic which contributes to isolation.


All of the above may sound like something straight out of a Nazi hand book and is perhaps considered taboo. The Nazi's however were pretty poor population geneticist. The genetic differences in humans is small enough to rule out much influence on cultural evolution or moral traits as I think the OP was suggesting.


Geographical isolation as well as cultural isolation are decreasing rapidly which on the evolutionary time scale would suggest than ethnic diversity as a physical phenomenon should be decreasing at an accelerating rate and likely to disappear in the future.


The original post indirectly raises some interesting points.

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The genetic differences in humans is small enough to rule out much influence on cultural evolution or moral traits as I think the OP was suggesting.

 

I don't think you can make that claim by simply glancing at the amount of human variation.

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I don't think you can make that claim by simply glancing at the amount of human variation.

 

I thought this was so well known that it did not need supporting evidence. I apologize and realize that was not a polite assumption.

 

"People today look remarkably diverse on the outside. But how much of this diversity is genetically encoded? How deep are these differences between human groups? First, compared with many other mammalian species, humans are genetically far less diverse – a counterintuitive finding, given our large population and worldwide distribution. For example, the subspecies of the chimpanzee that lives just in central Africa, Pan troglodytes troglodytes, has higher levels of diversity than do humans globally, and the genetic differentiation between the western (P. t. verus) and central (P. t. troglodytes) subspecies of chimpanzees is much greater than that between human populations."

 

http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/genetics/skin-color/modern-human-diversity-genetics

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So, to overall conclude, it is certain that if you'd examine only gays, French, muslims, Russians etc. you won't find a gene/allel that almost everybody of the particular group has(n't) in common, because of their corresponding morals/beliefs?

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So, to overall conclude, it is certain that if you'd examine only gays, French, muslims, Russians etc. you won't find a gene/allel that almost everybody of the particular group has(n't) in common, because of their corresponding morals/beliefs?

 

Not exactly, culture and genes are coevolving but the influence of culture on genetics is very minimal at present in regards to ethnicity and life style. The complexities involved and the limits of history make it impossible to determine what influence culture may have had let alone what impact it will have on the future evolution of the human species. The knowledge that the two are inseparable places responsibilities on us that we have not sorted out.

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