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Sure, just as opponents of the invasion of Iraq were (as Christopher 
Hitchens never tired of saying, exhibiting a similar degree of nuance), 
supporters of Saddam Hussein. 


On Sat, 7 May 2011 10:05:45 +0200, Michael Balter 
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>If the human genome project is helping to prove that genes are not as
>important as many had argued, then it has done a great service: 
Providing
>scientific evidence against genetic determinism.
>
>As Dick Levins put it here recently (I'm paraphrasing), the results of the
>project have disproved the assumptions on which it was based. But we
>wouldn't be able to to make that statement nearly as effectively had 
the
>project not gone forward. Meanwhile all kinds of other good things are
>coming out of it, including in my own pet subject area, our 
understanding of
>human evolution.
>
>MB
>
>On Sat, May 7, 2011 at 3:31 AM, Robert Mann <[log in to unmask]> 
wrote:
>
>>  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/17/human-
genome-gen
>> etics-twin-studies/print
>>
>> The failure of the genome
>> If inherited genes are not to blame for our most common illnesses, 
how can
>> we find out what is?
>>
>> *                Jonathan Latham*
>>                 guardian.co.uk, Sunday 17 April 2011
>>
>>         Since the* human genome* was sequenced, over 10 years 
ago, hardly
>> a week has gone by without some new genetic "breakthrough" being 
reported.
>> Last week five new "*genes for Alzheimer's disease*" generated 
sometimes
>> front-page coverage across the globe.  But take a closer look and the
>> reality is very different.
>>      Among all the genetic findings for common illnesses, such as 
heart
>> disease, cancer and mental illnesses, only a handful are of genuine
>> significance for human health.   Faulty genes rarely cause, or even 
mildly
>> predispose us, to disease, and as a consequence the science of 
human
>> genetics is in deep crisis.
>>       The human genome sequencing project was based on a huge, 
but
>> calculated, gamble.  The then leaders-to-be of the project believed 
that
>> faulty genes inherited from our parents were probably the cause of 
most
>> disease.  After all, many rarer diseases were already known to be 
genetic.
>> So it seemed a small leap to suppose that inherited faulty genes 
would
>> underlie common diseases, too.
>> There was, however, a problem with the basis for their confidence.  
The
>> best scientific evidence in humans for genes as causes of common 
disease was
>> based on comparing disease rates in genetically identical twins 
against
>> rates in non-identical twins (who share 50% of their DNA).  These
>> comparisons, called* heritability studies*, aimed to measure the 
relative
>> contributions of genetic variation versus environmental variation.
>>         Although extremely widely used and cited, these studies were
>> considered worthless by some geneticists. * Richard Lewontin* of 
Harvard
>> University, for instance, called in 1974 "for an end to the 
measurement of
>> useless quantities".  Other critics pointed out that these experiments
>> relied on the proposition that identical twins experienced no more 
identical
>> environments than did non-identical twins, when it was abundantly 
clear that
>> parents were treating their identical offspring more similarly than 
their
>> non-identical twins.  These arguments constituted a threat to the 
genome
>> project. Ultimately they were swept aside and all but forgotten.
>>      In 2009, one of the few remaining scientifically active leaders of 
the
>> original genome project, Francis Collins, published a review paper in 
the
>> scientific journal Nature, along with 26 other prominent geneticists.  
It
>> was titled* Finding the Missing Heritability of Complex Diseases*.  
In it,
>> the authors acknowledged that, despite more than 700 genome-
scanning
>> publications and nearly $100bn spent, geneticists still had not found 
more
>> than a fractional genetic basis for human disease.
>>   Since the Collins paper was published nothing has happened to 
change that
>> conclusion.  It now seems that the original twin-study critics were 
more
>> right than they imagined.  The most likely explanation for why genes 
for
>> common diseases have not been found is that, with few exceptions, 
they do
>> not exist.
>>         The failure to find meaningful inherited genetic predispositions 
is
>> likely to become the most profound crisis that science has faced.  
Not only
>> has the most expensive scientific project ever conceived failed to 
reach a
>> goal it assured the world it would achieve, but there is also the 
ticklish
>> problem of why the headlines have been so consistently discrepant 
with
>> reality.  As the failures to find significant genes have accumulated,
>> geneticists have remained silent.
>>     There are still important decisions to be made.  The Collins paper
>> proposed a no doubt expensive and open-ended search among 
hitherto
>> disregarded genetic locations.  We should be under no illusions, 
however.
>> The likelihood that further searching might rescue the day appears 
slim.  A
>> much better use of that money would be to ask: if inherited genes 
are not to
>> blame for our commonest illnesses, can we find out what is?
>>
>>
>>  - to which this comment (*inter alia*) was posted:
>>
>> * Jonathan Latham asks: "If inherited genes are not to blame for our
>> commonest illnesses, can we find out what is?" The answers have 
been known
>> for decades, but are not genetic and have been largely 
unacknowledged: poor
>> nutrition, lack of exercise, chemical pollution of our bodies and the
>> environment, electromagnetic pollution, and the stress of living in an
>> economically driven society. There is good reason why people who 
have had
>> little contact with western ways rarely suffer from western diseases;
>> however, if such people adopt our ways, they too become subject to 
our
>> common illnesses.
>>
>> *Dr Eva Novotny*
>> Cambridge
>>
>>
>
>
>-- 
>******************************************
>Michael Balter
>Contributing Correspondent, Science
>Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
>New York University
>
>Email:  [log in to unmask]
>Web:    michaelbalter.com
>NYU:    journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/michael-balter/
>******************************************
>
>"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why 
the poor
>have no food, they call me a Communist." -- H�lder Pessoa C�mara
>