Time for another cup of Tea with Emily

OK, so my Geneticist friend in the U S of A keeps writing her tea break chats. This latest was on co-sanguinity and the accumulation of tiny genetic differences betwixt non mixed groups becoming apparent when they interbreed. This, in turn, she reckoned gave ample scope for autism to have emerged in recent years. I’ll put the reference to her blog at the bottom – this is our post blogging chat………


So I started:

“Seriously? Whereas autistic labelled symptomologies have emerged over the last forty years, intercommunal interbreeding has been rife for hundreds of generations and, in the “more developed” world it has been the norm for over a century. Computers give us the power to handle vast multitudes of data, which, quite frankly, are so beyond our human interpretation that just because we can does not mean we should! genies are best left in their bottles……

“Happy new year and the like. I’m pleased you continue to have your tea breaks – I drink far to much coffee…….”

    • The level of travel and intermixing has exploded in the 20th century. But you already know my stance on autism prevalence and that it is not a new entity peculiar to the last century.

      Still definitely drinking tea. Although I’ve switched from mugs and am enjoying a proper tea cup nowadays. 😊 👍🏻

  1. But Emily, even in the last forty years the rate of increase, year on year has been phenomemal. That could never, ever be thought of as being a genetically sourced change. We are not drosophilla!
    C/W the EXPLOSION in obesity and diabetes in US (and UK) since the 1980s. Also phenomenal. Also no way genetically derived.

    • I suspect that the rise in diagnosis rates, aside from being in part due to changes in how the label itself is defined, are affected by environmental factors. But I also suspect that heritable factors are involved in that vulnerability to environment. And small-effect genetic variants are actually the PERFECT partner to help explain vulnerability to environmental agencies. So the idea that common polymorphisms exist that affect autism risk would in fact fit perfectly with your focus on environmental influences.


About greencentre

Non grant supported hence independent scientist, green activist, writer and forest planter.
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