Tuesday, October 24, 2006

KIBRA and the feeble memories of euros

People with the T allele of the KIBRA gene have better memories. The distribution of this allele breaks down by ethnic ancestry:
John Hawks Anthropology Weblog : 2006 10:

.... In populations of European ancestry, the T allele is the minor one with a frequency of 25%, as also shown in this study. In contrast, in Asian populations the T allele is most frequent (75%) and in African-American populations, the T and C alleles are almost equally frequent (54% and 46%, respectively). Therefore, it would be interesting for subsequent studies to assess KIBRA's relation to memory in populations of non-European ancestry.
I struggled memorizing my med school anatomy. Now I know I'm a disadvantaged paleface with a crappy memory subsystem. Maybe this explains why China has been able to bear the burden of a rather challenging system of writing.

Hawks explains that the KIBRA gene also plays a role in estrogen receptor activity, so KIBRA variations probably have a wide range of phenotype results. Evolution is going to be balancing conflicting optimizations. There's probably a way to use the math developed for microeconomics to model those optimizations ...

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