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Racial Science in New York Times. News Team

The New York Times has been breaking taboos with recent articles on scientific studies into race and race relations.

An issue of the New York Times last week reported the results of multiple concurring studies that shows vast racial differences between Europeans, Africans, Asians, and others such as Papauns and Australian Aboriginees. Says the races evolved separately in recent times, and genes present in certain groups, but not others cause lactose tolerance, resistance to malaria, and even changes in cognitive abilities. Is the scientific community tired of political correctness and ready to speak frankly about race again?

From New York Times…

Last year Benjamin Voight, Jonathan Pritchard and colleagues at the University of Chicago searched for genes under natural selection in Africans, Europeans and East Asians. In each race, some 200 genes showed signals of selection, but without much overlap, suggesting that the populations on each continent were adapting to local challenges.

Another study, by Scott Williamson of Cornell University and colleagues, published in PLoS Genetics this month, found 100 genes under selection in Chinese, African-Americans and European-Americans.

Another puzzle is presented by selected genes involved in brain function, which occur in different populations and could presumably be responses to behavioral challenges encountered since people left the ancestral homeland in Africa.

He suggested that the selected forms of the gene had helped improved cognitive capacity and that many other genes, yet to be identified, would turn out to have done the same in these and other populations.

Even more strikingly, Dr. Williamson’s group reported that a version of a gene called DAB1 had become universal in Chinese but not in other populations. DAB1 is involved in organizing the layers of cells in the cerebral cortex, the site of higher cognitive functions.

Variants of two genes involved in hearing have become universal, one in Chinese, the other in Europeans.

The new scans for selection show so far that the populations on each continent have evolved independently in some ways as they responded to local climates, diseases and, perhaps, behavioral situations.

The concept of race as having a biological basis is controversial, and most geneticists are reluctant to describe it that way. But some say the genetic clustering into continent-based groups does correspond roughly to the popular conception of racial groups.