A Note on CRISPR, IQ & Genetics

Author: logothanatos

So I gave this article on some more recent discoveries in IQ and genetics a read.

Some of those genes which correlate not only with IQ but social
success at the same time, may not actually be contributing directly to
IQ but to capacity for acquiring or building those environments relevant
to IQ gains (which can involve environmental factors as an individual’s
traits can affect society’s receptivity and vice versa). Note, by
directly contribute I mean that it enhances the phenotype, all other
conditions at the genetic level being equal, and by indirectly I mean
that it enhances the phenotype based on its ability to precisely break
or leverage initial environmental conditions (and thus irrespective of
heterogeneities of environment or other genes). In any case, genes that
contribute directly can get muddled up with traits that contribute
indirectly, which is where the danger comes as the latter type of
trait’s contribution is mediated by social status.

Uncritically negatively selecting adverse genes might in the long-term
further entrench social, and thereby ecological, ills the more fit the
aggregate of the populace is in its own unecological & antisocial social structures and
institutions. People who lack evolutionary fitness perform a positive
long-term function by supplying short-term potential negative feedback
to social institutions, incentivizing the society as a whole to develop
either more efficient or more rewarding forms of social life. That is,
any “hard scientist” in these areas should be looking into sociological
theory (functionalism/conflict-theory/symbolic-interactionism) and the following sociological subdisciplines: sociology of
knowledge, sociology of deviance, social epistemology. This is why
science these days requires a greater synthesis across disciplines, not
snide interdepartmental condescension.

Here’s a key
and interesting quote from the article, which to me resonates with the
idea that we need a
functional biology and more biosemiotics/bioinformatics (as the
function is the basic unit that exists between the social and the
biological, and the selection of such functions involve the processing
of information or the interpretation of signs throughout a short-term

[…] Stanford
University geneticist Jonathan Pritchard and his colleagues argue that
complex traits aren’t polygenic, or influenced by multiple genes, as
geneticists have long assumed. No, Pritchard argues: They’re omnigenic,
or influenced by every gene.

In essence, the omnigenic hypothesis
posits that the networks regulating genes are so interconnected that
any gene expressed in a given tissue is going to have some impact, no
matter how infinitesimal, on the function of that tissue. What’s more,
the genes likely aren’t neatly arranged in discrete clusters, as
behavioral geneticists have hoped.

Author: logothanatos

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