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A question of genetics?

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A question of genetics?

Old 12-03-04, 03:06 PM
  #51  
alanbikehouston
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Originally Posted by Smoothie104
No Caucasian has ever run 100 meters in under 10 seconds....
This is the sort of nonsense one reads when someone confuses the accomplishments of five or ten rare, highly talented, obsessively dedicated individuals, with the imaginary " typical abilities" of arbitrarily defined billions of humans that might be sorted into imaginary "races", ethnic groups, or nationalities.

Currently, 100 % of the white males in America have failed to run 100 meters in under 10 seconds. And, about 99.99999 % of black males have also failed to run 100 meters in under 10 seconds. World class sprinters are extremely rare, and are not "typical" in any group of people. Now that Balco is out of business, someone who can run at that speed is not just "one in a million". They are about "one in a billion", regardless of nationality or ethnic group.

In the 1980's, a third to half of the players on most major league baseball teams were African-American. Today, less than 10% of major league players are African-Americans. Did the "genetics" of African-Americans change to lose the "baseball gene" between 1980 and 2004?

The Astros recently began supporting inner city youth baseball in Houston. They discovered that Houston did not have decent baseball diamonds available on a daily basis to younger inner city players. Few inner city kids had access to a high quality baseball program or coaching. Genetics? No. Opportunity, resources, and coaching are the key to developing first class baseball players.

Preparing a young person to become a good baseball player is no different than preparing that same person to become an engineer, nurse, or accountant. There must be the opportunity. There must be resources. There must be good coaching.

Inner city Black males in America have plenty of ORC for basketball. But, little for baseball. None for hockey. And, OCR is scarce in the inner city for a future as an engineer or accountant. ORC, not genetics, is the key to enabling any individual to fulfill their potential in life, in every field of endeavor.

The same folks who use neo-nazi "genetics" arguments to "explain" why Black males are successful in the NBA, yet are scarce in the upper management of "Fortune Five Hundred" corporations oppose society making a meaningful investment in educational and health resources in the inner city. After all, if "genetics" explains individual success, why invest community resources in neighborhoods where "genetics" has already decided who will succeed and who will fail?

The truth is, virtually every individual human, from every race and background, has something of value to offer society, IF society invests the resources to develop their potential. AND, if society ceases to place limits on people's opportunities, employing absurd "genetic" assumptions about what any individual can or can not accomplish.

Last edited by alanbikehouston; 12-06-04 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 12-03-04, 03:26 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Patriot
Of course it would, because as generations go by, their genetic makeup will slowly evolve into something else. But, as long as that particular bloodline/population continues to be subjected to a particular stimulus, then those traits will remain for the short term. And, by short term, I mean for the first several generations, maybe even a several hundred years, as with the Western African decendents here in the States. It seems obvious to me, those traits which were passed down by there forefathers hundreds of years ago, still play a major role.
The Nature vs. Nurture discussion will probably never completly be resolved (though there was some interesting work done in Sweeden using twins separated at birth- basically clones raised in different environments) but the scenerio that people from certain geographic locations are predisposed to certain sports is not very likely.
First you'd need a completely isolated population. Only a small percentage of geneflow (3% is more than enough) in an enviroment with moderate selection pressure will homoginize genotypes between populations. So if you've got a population in the moutains and a population in the valley, it would only take a handful of people per generation moving between them to prohibit either from developing specialized genetic traits. People have been moving around the world, conquering, exploring, enslaving, traveling and breeding with people from enviroments with different selection pressures for quite awhile now, there are probably less than a handful of genetically isolated human populations that retain any 'specialized genes' (assuming for the sake of argument that they ever existed).
Second, for a dramatic and sustained increase in a gene's frequency the trait would have to effect reproductive fitness, meaning those who were fastest would have the most children. Again for this to tip any population's gene frequency to an extreme end of the statistical spectrum, you would need nearly complete isolation as well as extreme fitness consequences- i.e. the fastest of the fast would be the only to successfully breed, which especially in non-harem mating systems is very unlikey. Gene frequency does't evolve or shift (aside from 'random' drift) without this driving force. I've never been to Kenya, but I doubt that entire generations were consistanty created by a handful of the best athletes. Even Wilt Chamberlin couldn't do it!
Most importantly the trait must be heritable. This kinda gets back to the nature v. nurture debate. Some (to what degree is arguable) of what makes Kenyans great is Kenya is a great place to train. If I spend my life training for a marathon in high altitude Kenya, eating delicious, healthy Kenyan food, enjoying the social acceptablity of running 80 miles a week etc, I'll develop more red blood cells, expanded lung volume, calves of stone, etc. and take the marathon world by storm, but it's not going to do jack for my kid's marathon running abilities. Conversly, if I sit on my butt and eat cheese and drink beer, and my kids do the same, there will be absolutly no genetic consequence to my great great grandkids marathon dreams.
The way I see it, you've got two very unlikely scenerios and one moderatly debatable one to explain genetic predisposition, based on geographic variation, to sports abilities.

Last edited by bombusben; 12-03-04 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 12-03-04, 03:40 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
Genetics "true believers" would argue that the astounding progress of Australian cycling over the past ten years proves just one thing: the genetic makeup of Australians must have changed dramatically since 1990.
OK. I'll chime in here, seeing that I'm a specialist of human genetics and molecular biology. That comment would only make sense if 100% of australians attempted to become professional cyclists, don't confuse sport popularity with genetic selection. It's like saying an American can never be a top soccer player -it's just unlikely given the unpopularity of professional soccer in US and the anti-athletic population trends.

Any cycling coach at teen amateur levels will tell you you can only have so much coaching, training and determination to a certain level, beyond that, it's genetics. A good sports program needs to involve large numbers of selection -Russians did this for years.

There have been proven examples of exceptional atheletes having a known polymorphism, or genetic difference in a protein that gives them a significant advantage, and a larger than average proportion of that population has this polymorphism ( a famous finnish cross country skier has a heme protein with a higher affinity for oxygen).

Genetic makeup will affect base physical ability. It will also affect ability and utility of certain doping protocols, and this is very important in modern sports because performance modifying drugs are now the norm in almost all sports, especially cycling (a very long history in this). Some riders respond better to drugs than others. Any drug industry researcher will tell you that some drugs work significantly better/worse in different ethnic populations.

Sad truth, believe it or not,is that one can only get so good, even with doping. Determination is a factor, but at the sport's highest level, they are all determined.

Genetics is complex, and not due to any one factor, so you can't look at a son of Eddy Merckx, he doesn't have all Eddy's genes, only a clone of Eddy Merckx would have the genetics of Eddie Merckx.

So start cloning Lance.
 
Old 12-03-04, 04:04 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by DocRay
only a clone of Eddy Merckx would have the genetics of Eddie Merckx.
And even then you wouldn't be guaranteed a great cyclist.
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Old 12-03-04, 04:13 PM
  #55  
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DocRay,

Since you appear to know just a smidgeon about genetics, is it a correct assessment for me to theorize that long term (hundreds or thousands of years) exposure in a given environment will actually cause the human body to create an inherant gene that will allow them to perform better in that environment?
And ,wouldn't it be logical to assume that the genes which provide that to one, would be passed on to their posterity, even if they were to temporarily leave the previous environment that caused the genetic change to begin with?

Just curious as to your thought on that theory.
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Old 12-03-04, 04:15 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by MichaelW
Can you name any outstanding athletes (or people from any field) who have been outclassed by their children? There are countless examples of the children of great and outstanding people who are better than average but not as good as their parents.
persumably there are as many above average parents with outstanding kids as outstanding parents with above average kids

One problem is that the context for the parent is always different than for the offspring. We judge Eddie in the context of cycling in the 70's. We judge Axel in the context of cycling in the '00's. Two different worlds. The interesting question is whether the context change was greater than the offspring/parent change


BTW, both my daughters are smarter than I am
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Old 12-03-04, 04:35 PM
  #57  
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alanbike:

It's true that any person from any race could turn out to be the best at any given sport. It's also true that any differences between races does not make any one race "better" than another.

However, I think most people are looking at this on a population level, not an individual level. Take the old saying "white men can't jump." Nobody here (I don't think) is suggesting that all black males can jump higher than all white males. I can't jump very well, but there are certainly a number of black guys I could beat in a jumping contest. However, if you took an average 10 black guys off the street and put them in a jumping contest with an average 10 white guys off the street, the black guys would probably win. Nobody wants to admit it, but it's probably true.

Now, you yourself are even suggesting that certain body types are better suited for certain sports, and body type is largely a cultural thing. Taller people will be better at basketball...that's just a sad fact for my 5'6" whiteboy self. There are a ton of NBA scouts in Africa right now because there are an abundance of 7-footers over there (I forget the name of the culture, but on culture is full of tall people). Do you think these Africans are genetically inclined to be better basketball players than the average Asian (typically short except for Yao Ming and others)? Absolutely.

On average, different cultures have different skin colors, different facial features, and often times different body types. Different body types are better for different sports. So, on average, certain different cultures will be better suited for different sports.
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Old 12-03-04, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Patriot
DocRay,

Since you appear to know just a smidgeon about genetics, is it a correct assessment for me to theorize that long term (hundreds or thousands of years) exposure in a given environment will actually cause the human body to create an inherant gene that will allow them to perform better in that environment?
And ,wouldn't it be logical to assume that the genes which provide that to one, would be passed on to their posterity, even if they were to temporarily leave the previous environment that caused the genetic change to begin with?

Just curious as to your thought on that theory.
My smidgeon of an opinion:
No. Genes are not created. Mutations happen. Those which bestow reproductive fitness advantage usually increase in frequency. Those which cause non-recessive deleterious conditions are usually purged. Those which cause recessive deleterious conditions usually persist at low frequency. Those which have 'neutral' fitness consequences may be lost or persist, depending on the fickle nature of chance. Modeling how quickly any of that will occur in a real world population is tremendously difficult. But in a nut shell, those are the general patterns.
I believe what you are saying is that populations in Kenya have had to run to catch food, get to the movies, etc for generations. Those that got the most food and started making out in the back row of the theater first, contributed most to the next generation. And from there the cycle repeated itself until people in Kenya were all super fast runners with a soft spot for romantic comedies. Therefore, someone from Kenya would be faster than someone from the U.S. (who, since the dawn of time, have gotten their food from the supermarket) because of generations of 'runner genes'.
However based upon my experiences in most of the world (admittedly not Kenya yet) even the slow, fat, or somewhat ugly people of the world have just as many if not more children, and pass on whatever genetic component there is to being slow, fat, or somewhat ugly. And frankly, most of the world is slow, fat, or somewhat ugly compaired to world class marathoners. There are way more of those genes in Kenya (and everywhere else for that matter) than 'fast runner' genes.
In a nutshell, there is no concentration of athletic specific genes anywhere. Learned skills, sure. As others have said in this tread, sure more Canadians play hockey than Kenyans, but is that due to genetic athletic specialization to hockey? Changes in gene frequency work on much, much slower time lines (99.9999% of the time) than hockey does, should it ever be played professionally again.
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Old 12-03-04, 05:41 PM
  #59  
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Alanbike, just a few comments on your inner city Houston argument. It goes back to a society being predisposed to a certain activity. We can try to change the inner city youth, but it's not going to be any easier than changing them genetically. This crosses into any society. People generally resist change. Americans are finally playing soccer to a respectable level, but after how long? We're still not that in to it. Hell, our woman's team is very good, and still they don't get the respect I think they deserve. Give an inner city kid a choice between a bike, a book and a basketball, and what are they going to choose. Due to their societal "norm" they'd be inclined to take the basketball, for whatever reason that is. It can be argued, but once again, you're trying to affect change within a society. Takes time, just like genetic mutation and the evolution that results from it.

Now, we also need to distinguish between these different activities. Basketball and cycling are so completely different, they shouldn't even be used in the same argument. Granted basketball is one of the more rigorous sports, as opposed to baseball and dare I say... golf?? But, basketball is not measured in terms of endurance, but rather skill. Skill is teachable, ability, not so much. There's a peak that everybody has. Some are going to be better than others. Some will have abetter hand, eye coordination, etc. For the pure endurance sports, running, swimming, cycling, cross country skiing, etc, I don't see why any particular ethnic group can't be successful at one or the other. We just end up going back to societal norms.

The Jamaican bobsled team was embraced by Jamaica because they went out with the "look at us, black men on ice" mentality. They used the race card, and said, we can be just as good, and for the most part they are. They've also been given the access to proper training for the event now. Any society can take their top tier athletes and "coach" them to be successful in a given event, as long as it plays on that particular athletes strength. In the case of the Jamaicans, it was their sprinting ability. It's rare though, that somebody will be the best at more than one thing. Triathalons are a great example of this. Even the top tier triathletes have a "best" event. I think it was Andy Hampsten who spoke of Dave Scott as an absolute animal on a bike. But Andy could take him. Andy invoked his skill, which he was coached. If Dave Scott had chosen cycling exclusively, can anybody argue that he would have been amazing? Eric Heiden of speed skating's past ventured over to cycling after training his entire life as a speed skater, and was admirable in that endeavor. If Eric had picked cycling from the beginning, as opposed to skating, he probably would have been top tier also. So, I will argue that there's no reason a Kenyan, at a young age, who runs outside to watch the marathon team run by, and says to himself, "I will be on that team", couldn't just as easily be seduced by the Tour de France, and become a world class cyclist, if he has the potential to be that world class marathoner in the first place.

I will never be a linebacker in the NFL, or a center in the NBA. It's not really a valid argument. I have chosen cycling, and running as my sports. Why? Who knows, I maybe could have been an amazing baseball player, or soccer player. Who knows? But there is the argument, that maybe my children, (if God's got a sense of humor), will be the second in the line of a mutation started by me, to be passed to my progeny, that we will be predisposed to be better endurance athletes, generations from now.
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Old 12-03-04, 08:26 PM
  #60  
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abh...i thought the whole topic of conversatoin was based on averages and groups. we are talking about races being more dominant at certain sports than other races. we are talking about the group, not the individual. you can never rule out the fact that there could be an individual who has the traits to dominate a sport even if his ethnicity is not predicated towards that sport, but if your telling me that as a group, pygmies are just as likely to succeed at basketball as well as just about any other ethnic group you are wrong. its just a fact that, most other ethnic groups and races would be superior in almost every way to a pygmy trying to play basketball. even if they were to develope all the dribbling and shooting skills necesary they would still be a at a large physical disadvantage. does that diminish their value? no.
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Old 12-03-04, 08:54 PM
  #61  
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I think, from my limited experience that acheivements in sports and other compeditive stuff is determined by 4 things,
practice; a person who trains 10hrs a week will beat a person who trains 3hrs a weelk, duh
Determination; this is the "mental game" and motivation behind someone, the thing that can make anyone a winner
Strategy; a person with a plan does a lot better. Its very obvious in all the national leauges (ex: NBA, NHL, NFL) and in cycleing its where/when you attack the person and what you train most for (sprinter, climber, ect)
and yes Genetics; not a huge factor most of the time (think, 80lbs 4 foot tall vs. 210lbs 6 foot tall) but in most cases its just what I would call an 'edge', not the determining factor.

I think this is a fair assumption but others might not think that, beautiful thing is its a fourm.
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Old 12-03-04, 08:57 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
It is simple: all humans are individuals, not "clones" of some imaginary "average Latvian". YOU take the SAT, not "your race". YOU are standing at the free throw line, not your nation of origin. "Groups", "races", "nations", "averages", are artificial concepts that have no value in predicting the abilities and potential of the one guy standing alone at the free throw line. Just ask Shaq.
.
Alan,

You're wrong. Two main priniciples need be satisfied in order to fully debunk your logic. First, we need to establish that physical abilities are inhereted (even if partially) by genetic make up. This one is easy to prove. Here's an example;

--------------------
While I can never find the article, I remember reading in Science magazine several years ago about the star XC skier from the Lillehammer olympics (his name is Bjorn Dahlie I think). He appearently has a VO2max of 94 attributed to a genetic mutation in his copy of the hemoglobin gene. A Norwegian scientist studied his entire family and found that a few generations ago his relatives acquired this beneficial mutation that provided for increased oxygen carrying capacity.
--------------------

Second, we need to prove that different populations contain a subset of similar genetic information and that this phenomenon is not limited to very small populations, but can be applied to large groups of people. This one is also very easy to prove for one important reason; while individuals are indeed extremely heterogeneous with regard to genetic makeup, it is still possible for population geneticists to stratify large populations via genetic markers. For example, they can trace migrations patterns of groups of humans out of Africa or even trace language based on genetic markers (ref 1 ref 2 . This would be impossible if our genomic complement was radically different between each person.

Having satisfied that genetics contributes to phenotype and that distinct genetic populations exist that can be traced via genomic information, it is clear that distinct populations can be catagorized by genetic uniqueness which may in turn be characterized by phentypic difference, for example physical ability. While data is currently missing to explain one's ability to jump farther or run faster, if the above example of aerobic capacity is any indication, we will soon find correlation between gene alteration and capability.

-mark

Last edited by geneman; 12-03-04 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 12-03-04, 09:14 PM
  #63  
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geneman,

Though painful, a good response. That's kind of what I was looking for in terms of explanation. It kind of reinforces my overall personal theory that as group, we become a product of our environment, as our bodies will adapt to operate under certain conditions. And, over long periods of time, we will physically evolve, and a genetic marker, if ever indentifiable, will indicate that not only what that particular person/group may be capable of physically, but also provide an indication of historical existance, ie. where they came from.
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Old 12-03-04, 09:20 PM
  #64  
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It is simply impossible, and ignorant of the established science, to discount the role genetics play in predisposition of identifiable groups towards either certain abilities and/or limitations. The genetic makeup of ethic groups does affect certain characteristics. While the human genome project is starting to throw more light on the specifics of this, some of it has been known for years. Probably one of the more well known, and unfortunate, genetic dispositions is that found in black Americans with respect to Sickle Cell Anemia:

"Sickle cell anemia affects mainly blacks, though people of South American, Southern European or Middle Eastern descent also are at risk. About one in 500 black newborns, and one out of every 1,000 to 1,400 Hispanic babies are diagnosed with sickle cell anemia each year in the United States. A baby born with sickle cell anemia inherits a gene for the disorder from each parent. Some people inherit only one gene for the disease. This is referred to as having the sickle cell trait. People who have the sickle cell trait don't develop the disease, but they can pass the gene on to their children. Almost 10 percent of black Americans carry the sickle cell gene."

http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?id=DS00324

This simply bolsters what geneman said above.
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Old 12-03-04, 09:26 PM
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P.S. For those interested in possibly becoming like Lance over a few short weeks ...
http://www.gma.paisley.ac.uk/policy/alrc2003.html
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Old 12-03-04, 11:09 PM
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no one is being racist!!!! for pete's sake man!!!!! you cannot be a great cyclist without having the genetic make up that would allow you to do so and some groups have more of a chance at producing said genes. and speakign of yur short friend who is difficult to strike out, i had alluded to some pygmies earlier and was just wondering if you thought their genetic make up would allow them to have a higher walk percentage in baseball than another group whose average height was 7 ft tall?
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Old 12-03-04, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
A question to the "genetics controls outcomes" crowd: Do you think you could study the facial features and skin colors of a hundred different people who are taking the SAT test, an IQ test, an engineering aptitude test, an artistic aptitude test or a music aptitude test, and then accurately predict the score that each test taker will earn?
Give me genomic DNA from 100 people and I could probably tell you their lineage. I'll say it again. The common link between people of similar lineage is shared genetic code. And we're not just talking about standard 'ol genomic DNA, we're talking genes, DNA that actually codes for protein. If proteins are being modified (and shared within a population), then these people may be able to be differentiated from one another based on physical manifestation.

You're looking for overt signs where these signs may be so subtle as to not be seen without the right environmental push. IMPORTANTLY, when we're able to break down similarities and differences between populations at the single gene level, we're presented with the opportunity to eliminate stereotyping all together and comment on a person's individual traits. It just so happens that this personalized commentary can and will be applied to groups of people. But again, the comments will not be at all stereotypical because there will be no need to extrapolate beyond the effect of the single gene trait.

Will we be able to link facial features skin color with other single gene traits? Very likely.

-mark

Last edited by geneman; 12-03-04 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 12-03-04, 11:21 PM
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nice work geneman. now if only we all could now understand what you have written haha
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Old 12-03-04, 11:24 PM
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Alan,

As I wrote in myfirst post, I contemplated putting this in the politics forum, but I want to keep this as honest and as scientific as possible. Of all the posts thus far written, you are the only one who has brought into the discussion an accusation of racism, which is solely an emotional response which we are trying to avoid. I really enjoy your viewpoint in this discussion, but try refrain from losing your cool by accusing others here of something they are not. It definitely enters the realm of major rule breaking, and I don't want the mods to kill our thread.

I really would like this thread to continue, especially if there are any real Medical Professionals who have a good study of Genetics from medical school or similar.

So far, geneman, and DocRay have had some great input. I was kind of hoping they would be able to chime in again with a little more of a technical explanation in laymens terms for us intellectually challenged cyclists with serious racial mental problems.
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Old 12-03-04, 11:33 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by Patriot
Alan,

As I wrote in myfirst post, I contemplated putting this in the politics forum, but I want to keep this as honest and as scientific as possible. Of all the posts thus far written, you are the only one who has brought into the discussion an accusation of racism, which is solely an emotional response which we are trying to avoid. I really enjoy your viewpoint in this discussion, but try refrain from losing your cool by accusing others here of something they are not. It definitely enters the realm of major rule breaking, and I don't want the mods to kill our thread.

I really would like this thread to continue, especially if there are any real Medical Professionals who have a good study of Genetics from medical school or similar.

So far, geneman, and DocRay have had some great input. I was kind of hoping they would be able to chime in again with a little more of a technical explanation in laymens terms for us intellectually challenged cyclists with serious racial mental problems.
sorry ... I've a Ph.D. in genetics. I thought I had sufficiently simplified things ... guess not. I usually hate participating in threads on the topic of genetics because it's challenging to convince others of your point without having to explain the technical details.

-mark
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Old 12-03-04, 11:43 PM
  #71  
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no, no, that's ok, the pain went away, we are ready for more....
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Old 12-03-04, 11:53 PM
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Can we simplify this a bit so people don't give me a headache by replying in circles and not actually generating any conclusions?

Lets just conclude that the way you are physically built is a result of the genetic material you are made up of, passed on to you by your parents. Lets also say that we are all more similar than we are different, and because the world is homogenising (if I can put it that way) at an unprecidented rate, any genetic traits generated through environmental isolationalism are largely irrelevant.

So, basically, it's a genetic crap-shoot the chances of any one individual being a world class athlete, regardless of their ethnicity.

Now, this of course begs the question......If you started a colony of world class cyclists, forced them to breed, and made them live in a totally pro cycling isolated environment, how many hundreds of thousands of years would it take for them to turn into a cycling super breed race type...group?

Or, ( Genetics specialists chime in here ) would the pendulum somehow revert towards the status quo somehow? ( Kids rebelling, deciding to drop out, eat chips and play Nintendo etc. )
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Old 12-04-04, 12:02 AM
  #73  
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Supercyclists....hmmm... maybe we could hook them all up to little generators, and solve the worlds energy problems?
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Old 12-04-04, 12:20 AM
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Yeah, like the Matrix! Except......errrr.....pedaling unconscious while wired up in a bath of goo!
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Old 12-04-04, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by geneman
--------------------
Having satisfied that genetics contributes to phenotype and that distinct genetic populations exist that can be traced via genomic information, it is clear that distinct populations can be catagorized by genetic uniqueness which may in turn be characterized by phentypic difference, for example physical ability. While data is currently missing to explain one's ability to jump farther or run faster, if the above example of aerobic capacity is any indication, we will soon find correlation between gene alteration and capability.

-mark
Genes contributes to phenotype. Distinct genetic populations exist that can be traced via genomic information. I agree. However, as presented, these two principles are not necessarily related to one another.
The genetic uniqueness that is used to categorize populations is from non-coding, hypervariable segments of mtDNA. These segments have no phenotypic expression, are not subjected to selection or meiotic recombination, and have vastly different mutation rates from nuclear DNA. They are genetic fossils. I agree with you that to some unknown extent there is very complicated correlation between variation in the nuclear genome and physical capability. However there is nothing to suggest that hypervariable mtDNA segment mutation is consistent with the nuclear loci responsible for an individual's phenotypic expression of athletic ability. Therefore assuming that these traits follow a geographical distribution or evolutionary history is a complete shot in the dark.
Take for instance the sickle cell allele. The fact that it is present in various ethnically distinct lineages “blacks, South Americans, Southern Europeans and Middle Easterners” suggests that nuclear DNA traits don’t always correlate well with the evolutionary history suggested by mtDNA analysis.
On top of that, I'm not sure what sort of inferences a reasonable person can be made about a population's "abilities and/or limitations" based upon the frequency of a single loci mutation like sickle cell or super hemoglobin (if it is also a single loci mutation). If the hemoglobin mutation is heritable, it is likely to spread to numerous populations much the same way sickle cell has. Will the Ethiopians be good at XC skiing too?
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