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Thread: mixed race, genetic diversity, etc page

  1. #1
    reamz's Avatar
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    mixed race, genetic diversity, etc

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    so i was having a conversation with a friend today, and the topic of marrying cousins came up. So i asked him what he thought about it, and he said he thought it was good. He argued that we evolved having kids with people who were genetically similar, like 2nd or 3rd cousins or at least those of the same ethnicity. He said mixing genes too closely related was bad (eg siblings or 1st cousins) but also mixing genes too "far" (as in different races) is bad, i.e not as optimal/healthy for the kids.
    I argued that people who are closely related having kids is bad for obvious reasons - less genetic diversity, more chance of passing on rare genetic diseases etc. Thus being mixed race shouldnt have an impact, or if it does it would be positive? I randomly found this article : http://www.independent.co.uk/news/sc...on-523076.html, though i'm sure I could find more to support my argument.

    Anyway, i clearly disagree with him but just wanted to hear other's thoughts on the subject?
    Last edited by reamz; 11-22-2010 at 12:32 PM.

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    Owly's Avatar
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    Sounds like veiled racism to me. Anyone who knows more about genetics want to weigh in?
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    Offhand, I don't believe there is enough difference between "races" (define a "race"?) to have any significant effect beyond pigmentation etc. Perhaps with the exception of specific traits such as sickle cell that have proved advantageous in certain areas.

    Inbreeding leads to a higher chance of recessive genes being exposed - this could be for something good OR bad - think of how pedigree dog breeds are established and maintained.

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    Race is a human-created concept.

    The less genetic similarity there is in a breeding pair, the less likely that the offspring will develop genetically inherited defects.

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    All I know is that my mixed-race friends (indian-indonesian, indian-chinese, japanese-german) are the most GORGEOUS people on earth. Just sayin'.

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    Weston Price wrote that the prevailing theory of his time (1930s) was that the horrible teeth & facial structure & susceptibility to disease of mixed race folks across the world was b/c they had begun to mix the "races." He found that this was completely untrue, that it was entirely food that caused the problems when one "race" (usually white Europeans) brought their food & culture to another "race."

    He compared natives on their native diets, natives mixing their native diets with the foreigners' processed food, natives eating entirely the foreign processed food, "whites" eating the various mixtures of diet, and "mixed blood" inhabitants eating the various mixtures. He found universally that whoever was eating the native, unprocessed food, no matter his skin color or whether his parents were of the same or different ethnicities, had healthy teeth, facial structure, and freedom from "diseases of civilization." He found that the extent of these maladies depended on the extent to which a modern, processed diet was adopted.

    So the disease came not from a "native" marrying a "white," but from adopting the "white" foreigner's diet.

    Anyway, whether there can be other complications, I don't know, but this theory was a prevailing one 100 years ago, and I don't think one necessarily has to be a racist to wonder whether it can matter, but I believe there is no current evidence that there is a disadvantage to marrying with others from different ethnic groups.
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    @Elwyne: I agree! I was born in Peru, my dad's grandparents are Italian, his parents are from Spain. My mom's entire family is Peruvian but with perhaps some African background (my maternal grandmother is pretty dark skinned) but my mom's father was VERY fair skinned. My mom is a nice cinnamon color, mixed with my father's fair skin gave product to me! I tan very easily but during winter can get somewhat pale. I think when/if I have kids with my girlfriend of German descent we're going to have some pretty good looking children. I hope they get my skin tone and her blue eyes, I always wanted blue eyes!

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    I have to agree that it sounds like thinly veiled racism.

    He does have a good point about cousins reproducing. Most of our taboo against it is social, with little scientific justification: once you get out to 2nd and 3rd cousins, the increase in the chance of undesirable recessive traits showing up is very small. Even 1st cousins reproducing is not as dangerous as many think it is - in fact, the Journal of Genetic Counseling reported that it is no more likely to result in birth defects than a woman having children after the age of 40.

    As for people of different ethnicities reproducing, it does confer some genetic advantages. Of course, I'm probably a bit biased, as I'm in an interracial marriage: I'm an Ashkenazi Jew married to an African American man. In spite of what a lot of people say, I'm not convinced our hypothetical future offspring would be any more attractive than non-mixed race individuals (we're both short, stocky, and have terrible eyesight), but at least we can be sure that they won't have Tay-Sachs or sickle-cell disease - fatal recessive conditions that are common in our respective ethnic groups.
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    I don;t think this person is racist -he is in fact mixed race himself! just...has weird theories/ideas i guess! lol
    Furthermore isn;t there evidence that modern humans evolved from a small group of individuals in africa? Thus we're all very very similar genetic-wise, so even two completely opposite looking people are really not all that genetically different!

    Oh, and i agree on mixed race people being (generally) really beautiful!
    Last edited by reamz; 09-25-2010 at 07:40 AM.

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    Well, as a parent with kids that are black, Hispanic, American Indian and white, the mixing of it all has created perfect children! LOL. They are beautiful, smart, athletic and have the best hair ever. Okay, so maybe I'm a bit biased but really, there is nothing that makes them weaker and some things that make them stronger...they have sickle cell TRAIT, which beats the heck out of sickle cell disease.

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