population genetics reveals shared ancestries, art by wendy macnaughton and jane freilicher

Debating achievements of Homo Sapiens by race has always been problematic, at best, for quite a few reasons. The one that we can’t shake that goes deeper than skin, eye color, flat or pointed noses or the shape of one’s eyes is our shared genetic ancestry, Population Genetics Reveals Shared Ancestries

Analyzing publicly available genetic data from 40 populations comprising North Africans, Middle Easterners and Central Asians were doctoral student Priya Moorjani and Alkes Price, an assistant professor in the Program in Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology within the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Moorjani traced genetic ancestry using a method called rolloff. This platform, developed in the Reich lab, compares the size and composition of stretches of DNA between two human populations as a means of estimating when they mixed. The smaller and more broken up the DNA segments, the older the date of mixture.

Moorjani used the technique to examine the genomes of modern West Eurasian populations to find signatures of Sub-Saharan African ancestry. She did this by looking for chromosomal segments in West Eurasian DNA that closely matched those of Sub-Saharan Africans. By plotting the distribution of these segments and estimating their rate of genetic decay, Reich’s lab was able to determine the proportion of African genetic ancestry still present, and to infer approximately when the West Eurasian and Sub-Saharan African populations mixed.

“The genetic decay happens very slowly,” Moorjani explained, “so today, thousands of years later, there is enough evidence for us to estimate the date of population mixture.”

While the researchers detected no African genetic signatures in Northern European populations, they found a distinct presence of African ancestry in Southern European, Middle Eastern and Jewish populations. Modern southern European groups can attribute about 1 to 3 percent of their genetic signature to African ancestry, with the intermingling of populations dating back 55 generations, on average—that is, to roughly 1,600 years ago. Middle Eastern groups have inherited about 4 to 15 percent, with the mixing of populations dating back roughly 32 generations. A diverse array of Jewish populations can date their Sub-Saharan African ancestry back roughly 72 generations, on average, accounting for 3 to 5 percent of their genetic makeup today.

According to Reich, these findings address a long-standing debate over African multicultural influences in Europe. The dates of population mixtures are consistent with documented historical events. For example, the mixing of African and southern European populations coincides with events during the Roman Empire and Arab migrations that followed. The older-mixture dates among African and Jewish populations are consistent with events in biblical times, such as the Jewish diaspora that occurred in 8th to 6th century BC.

Since all non-native Americans can trace their ancestry to Europe, Africa and Asia those percentages of gene mixing would generally apply here. Ultimately our genetic kinship dates all the way back to Africa 2.5 million years ago. Some recent archeological finds in Asia suggest that humans may have evolved relatively early there also. There is not as much evidence for the origins of humans in Asia as there is for Africa. So the pieces to that puzzle may be filled in as more archeological evidence is found. there is  gap between African and Asian fossil remains of about two hundred thousand years. It is possible that in that span humans migrated from Africa to Asia.

from the farmer’s series by wendy macnaughton. her web site is here –  wendy macnaughton.com the road picture is part of a series. each series tells a story. most of the subjects have to do with northern california. her illustrations of people can be clever, satirical or warm, or usually a combination of all three and always beautiful.

House Republicans Escalate Attacks on Elizabeth Warren and Agency Created to Protect Middle-class

McHenry (Patrick McHenry (R-NC) was once known as Tom DeLay’s “attack-dog-in-training [3],” a title he more than earned today. Before the hearing had even begun, McHenry went on CNBC and brazenly accused Warren of lying to Congress [4]. He claimed that Warren had misrepresented her role in advising state attorneys general who are seeking a multibillion-dollar settlement [5] with the country’s largest mortgage service providers, who stand accused of massive and widespread foreclosure fraud. As evidence, McHenry pointed to a leaked internal document prepared by the CFPB that laid out different settlement options for the state AGs. McHenry claimed this went beyond the scope of the “advice,” that Warren had already admitted to providing, at the behest of the Treasury Department, in earlier testimony to Congress in March. “We’ve given advice when asked for advice,” she reiterated this afternoon.

The CFPB is in itself the very modest financial reform the middle-class and working poor got after that little meltdown that started in 2007. While a little like handing the public a trash bag in a hail storm it was the best we could get from a Beltway so thick in financial lobbyist a blind pebble thrower would probably hit one standing on the Capital steps. Once Warren admitted that yes she had as is her job and as she had testified at another hearing, indeed advised state Attorney Generals, McHenry’s show trial fizzled. How can you make someone look bad who admits they did the job they were hired to do. The consumer program director at US PIRG, summed up McHenry’s bizarre tactics and waste of tax dollars, “If the law is on your side, argue the law. If the facts are on your side, argue the facts. If you don’t have either, just argue.” The last election and supposedly all those tea stain rallies were about people fed up with being used and abused by Wall St. Elizabeth Warren was appointed to protect everyone from just that kind of abuse. Warren is even a recess appointment because Republicans blocked her appointment. Now that she is protecting the public, or trying to,  Republicans have tried to undermine her role of consumer protector by trying to block agency funding. So the Right and the tea stains learned nothing from the Great Recession. Some of McHenry’s political contributors include American Bankers Association, Mortgage Bankers Association, American Express, American Financial Services Organization, Cash America International, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley. It is back to business as usual for the culture of crony capitalism.

 Backgammon (1982) by Jane Freilicher

Freilicher’s work has been described as simultaneously lush and restrained. Her influences include Morandi, Redon, Marsden Hartley and Henri Rousseau. Some more of her work here – Now on View, the View From Jane Freilicher’s Window .

“I have always gone my own way,” Freilicher told the New York Times in 1998. “My work was deviant enough to explain why I was not rising through the ranks. But I liked not having the demands made on me a big career would have made. It allowed me a certain freedom to fool around. I felt the other painters respected me. Nobody treated me like a dumb broad. I felt I was smarter than those young painters who were tough guys and threw themselves around with this macho thing. I thought it was not terribly interested.”

She is the artist and she knows the angle from which she approaches her art. Though I do not find her art to be uniquely or especially feminine. This becomes easier to see when you compare her portraits and landscape ( rather than the flower studies at the link) to artist like Monet, much of early Picasso, Cezanne or even Jackson Pollock. Though with Pollock there was generally a kind of kinetic masculine narrative that ran though a much of his paintings, still not to be the point of being overwhelming. Many of them showed his view of the struggle between men and women.