Total Pageviews

Monday, July 14, 2014

Your Genetic Constitution, My Genetic Constitution: Friends Sharing DNA

     

     The company you keep may include similar genetic material--up to 1 percent shared DNA amongst your friends--according to a new study from scientists at the University of California--San Diego and Yale University published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.





     "Looking across the whole genome," co-author James Fowler said, "we find that, on average, we are genetically similar to our friends. We have more DNA in common with the people we pick as friends than we do with strangers in the same population."




     The researchers focused on 1,932 subjects from the Framingham Heart study; they compared pairs of unrelated friends against pairs of unrelated strangers. The same people, who were neither biologically related nor spouses, were used in both types of samples. The only thing that differed between them was their social relationship.
 
   The study controlled for ancestry (see study link below) and is a genome-wide analysis of nearly 1.5 million markers of gene variation. The researchers concluded that friends have similar genetic material to 4th cousins and that the shared genetic material is statistically significant.

    The strongest correlation between friends was sense of smell and the least correlated was resistance to diseases.

     The study is described in the 7-14-14 edition of Science Daily:

GENOME ANALYSIS AMONG FRIENDS

     So, mes amis, what are your favorite smells?! Least favorite smells? Do you suppose the study would be valid for on-line friends?

      My favorites smells are petriclor, lilacs, lemon, coffee, newly mown grass, pine trees, cinnamon, and baby-head smell. Least favorites? Mold, old sour milk, and ammonia.


      

      The paper also lends support to the view of human beings as 'metagenomic,'" co-author Nicholas Christakis said, "not only with respect to the microbes within us but also to the people who surround us. It seems that our fitness depends not only on our own genetic constitutions, but also on the genetic constitutions of our friends."
 
      So how's your genome profile? We all depend on each other, after all. . .







     And lastly, this misspelling of Quatorze de Juillet was too good to pass up. Happy Bastille Day, Julliet, Juliette, Julius, et al! 




Vive mes amis,

Steph
(Femme des Mots)

Any guesses as to what these are?




46 comments:

  1. Happy Bastille Day to traveling friends Elaine and Deb. We toured France for 5 weeks on bicycles one summer and watched fireworks on the 14 de Juillet around the Eiffel Tower...never once thinking about shared DNA !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sing along and have some Freedom Fries!

      Delete
    2. Enjoyed the stills (no video ;-) ) and Louis music.

      Delete
    3. Fireworks in Paris near the Eiffel Tower from a friend working there this year:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hukd5QEc3zI&feature=youtube_gdata_player

      Delete
    4. I'd never considered what a great fireworks armature that tower makes. Should've been obvious. But I can't see the US Park Service allowing the Statue of Liberty to be used that way, e.g.

      Delete
    5. Quite spectacular. The pyrotechnics are more stunning in 2014 than my trip in the 70's. . .

      I don't see that happening at the Statue of Liberty either, though.

      The chemistry dept at Smith creates special fireworks colors for an alum display at reunions. Paradise Pond is a great watery backdrop (underdrop?) for the display.

      Delete
  2. Epigenetics, metagenetics -- it's all certainly much more complicated than Jacob & Monod taught us. Don't forget the genetics of our internal friends.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beloved bacteria, yes! Grabbing my yogurt now. . .

      Delete
    2. Quite fascinating, Paul. Hopefully, the slower evolution via mostly the maternal side via mitochondrial DNA will lead to cures for diseases like Alzheimer's and diabetes.

      Of course, I want to know if it smells any different from nuclear DNA.

      Delete
    3. A few months ago, WW was asking about candidates for "living fossils", and I suggested mitochondria. "Asexual reproduction, almost no recombination, they seem relatively immune to the forces of natural selection, leading them to be highly conserved."

      Delete
    4. I remember that, jan.

      "Living fossils" still sticks in my craw, though, as by definition a fossil is evidence of something that used to be alive.

      If one can get past the definition, then, ok. . .

      Delete
    5. Gaia is to homo sapiens as homo sapiens is to:

      a. neuron
      b. corpuscle
      c. mitochondria
      d. E. coli
      e. Something I failed to mention
      f. ebola
      g. carcinoma
      h. something else I failed to mention
      i. all of the above
      j. none of the above
      k. some of the above
      l. all of the above until Schrödinger's box is opened, and then it depends on which end of the box was opened, and from which side

      Delete
    6. I sure hope you don't work for the Educational Testing Service that creates the SAT, Paul.

      I'll go with l for now but e, h, I, i, and k are also tempting. . .or. . .

      Delete
    7. U of Pennsylvania -- Microbiomics: The Next Big Thing?:

      http://news.pennmedicine.org/inside/2014/07/microbiomics-the-next-big-thing.html?utm_source=Penn+Medicine+Spring+2014+9-10&utm_campaign=07%2F21%2F2014&utm_medium=email

      Delete
  3. If we're going to talk about smells among on-line friends, let's mention Scentee, oNotes, and, best of all, the Oscar Meyer Institute for the Advancement of Bacon's "Wake up and Smell the Bacon" app. (Don't you wish you had gone there instead of where you went to school?)

    Fortunately, there's no technology that would allow me to share with you the smell of my last patient... :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scentillating stuff, jan. I don't know about school there instead. We had Yorkshire pudding and roast beef with homemade horseradish sauce on several Sundays at my school. . .Beats bacon smell for me.

      Sorry about your last patient...I actually like the smell of perspiration so if that was it, maybe we are more different than predicted ;-).

      I have been told that hearing is the last sense to leave a person in a coma, but I wonder if it isn't smell...And how do researchers know for sure anyway?

      Delete
    2. You're not going all Proustian on us, are you, Steph?

      In case you didn't catch this, here's some evidence of the value of that last bit of hearing in a comatose patient.

      Delete
  4. Hmmmm, the Proustian effect. . .I may be going Proustian, after all.

    When I was with a person who was dying and in a coma, she seemed to react more to the smell (and maybe touch) of lotion than to sounds.

    It's the old conundrum (are there new conundrums?) about a man sleeping in church. The woman behind taps him on the back of his neck with her fan and he dies of a heart attack because he was dreaming he was in France under the guillotine. What's wrong with this tale?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You mean, how did they know what he was dreaming if he's dead? Or what's a logician doing in church?

      Delete
    2. I always kind of thought I would do well with a genetic constitutional amendment or two.

      Two-scents-worthy from early grade school:
      1. Mimeograph/ditto machines that our teachers would use to print out purple-inked assignments and texts smelled intoxicating, perhaps literally. As each row passed its stack back from student to student, each one held the freshly inked sheet to her/his nose and inhaled deeply, probably killing off brain and lung cells in the process.
      2. Among my back-to-school supplies my mother bought for me one autumn was a translucent green eraser resembling a mini-slab of lime Jell-o, only darker. It was more “wiggly“ than erasers on pencil ends and, best of all, had a strangely pleasant fragrance, hard-to-place but one I am sure I have never encountered since. I stopped using the eraser so I wouldn’t waste the divine scent by rubbing it out on my many mistakes

      Then there are the standard food-based scents: fresh homemade bread or caramel/cinnamon rolls, and the Thanksgiving dinner mixed medley. jan is right about bacon, and ham ain’t bad either. Ironic that hog farm stench is such an issue when the “fruit of that malodor” smells so swell to so many.

      As for that ex-con nun drumming in church like Jim Baker’s brother Ginger, here’s the way I heard it: The woman behind the dozing man taps him on the back of his neck with her guillotine and he dies of a severed head… a pity because he was dreaming he was in France watching a fan dance by our old pal Sally McNally. What’s wrong with this tale? Answer Sally McNally never fan-danced in France (though she did fandango in Durango).

      What’s a logician doing in church, jan? Great question. Venn diagrams? Syllogisms? The NYT Crossword (which is what I usually try to do)?

      There is nothing really logical about matters theological. Theology is God’s logic, not human logic. Indeed this bible passage implies that “theo-logic” may well be beyond our ken (or barbie). St. Thomas Aquinas, who tried to prove God’s existence, was not exactly on board with that. But the prevailing mind-set today seems to be: “Just believe, even if it does not seem to make logical sense to you. Still, you must have faith.”

      Lego(il)logical

      Delete
    3. Lego,

      Sometime a trip through your brain (a la Ms Frizzle) would be in order.

      Two great grade school memories which, unfortunately triggered a memory of that pink flaked stuff the janitor would sprinkle on vomit making it smell even worse. The mimeograph smell was a good one though. Do you still have the eraser?

      I like to journal and draw during church...A friend got her PhD in geology and then became a nun--from geology to theology.

      Guess I will stop trying to make sense of a few things this week!

      Delete
    4. I guess the common theme in your friend's journey (from geology to theology) is petros.

      Delete
    5. Yes, either petros or petra works in some ways, depending on your theologist. An interesting career shift for sure. . .

      Delete
  5. This belongs with bird talk a few weeks ago but this crowd may appreciate the Monty Python connection:

    http://m.fastcocreate.com/3033103/london-celebrates-the-monty-python-reunion-by-putting-a-50-foot-dead-parrot-in-potters-field?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Looks to me like he's just resting...

      Delete
    2. Perhaps we ought to wrest him away. . .

      Delete
    3. ...or perhaps Polly Parrot is pining for the fjords.

      Delete
    4. Indeed. . .Do you distinguish separate meanings between . . . and ...?

      Delete
  6. Pedantic, but catchy: Word Crimes. (Maybe we can draw Enya_and_Weird_Al_fan over from Blainesville?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very catchy. Yes, how do you propose we lure Enya_and_Weird_Al_fan over? Resting birds? Mitochondrial DNA? Have him at our Grammercy?

      Delete
    2. I was just wondering whether leaving links to Weird Al videos around would do it.

      Delete
    3. How do we get him here to look though?

      Delete
  7. Dental flora DNA of "Ötzi, the Iceman" discovered:

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0099994

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even if Ötzi had flossed and brushed better, he'd still be dead by now. (An excuse my wife's mother gave for wearing her mother's furs.)

      Delete
  8. > Any guesses as to what these are?

    Wordwomanite crystals?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Replies
    1. Good guesses for these acicular crystals but, no.

      Delete
    2. Given the discussion on the other blog, how about Tinaite?

      And, yes, two distinct minerals together are present. . .

      Delete
    3. The minerals are agardite (blue) and conichalcite (green).

      But! You were in the right group, jan, as the mixite group includes the following:

      Agardite (Hydrated Lanthanum Yttrium Calcium Cerium Neodymium Copper Arsenate Hydroxide)
      Goudeyite (Hydrated Aluminum Yttrium Copper Arsenate Hydroxide)
      Mixite (Hydrated Bismuth Copper Arsenate Hydroxide)
      Petersite (Hydrated Yttrium Calcium Copper Phosphate Hydroxide)

      I had not heard of mixite before and thought you were kidding (imagine that!).

      So, an agardite and conichalcite star to you!

      Delete
  10. Hold the star; just browsed pix of acicular crystals until I thought I had a match. That was beforesearching in vain (vein?) for tinaite.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Still, the star is yours. Those are some pretty rare minerals.

    Now for something completely different:

    Tectonic Plate Ballet in 1:19 minutes. Pay attention to India crashing into Asia creating the Himalayas and Australia eventually ending up connected to southeast Asia in the future...And all the landmasses reuniting into a "Pangea Part Deux" millions of years from now. We'll not be around to see if it happens though. Rats!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYbTNFN3NBo&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ... And what then? Will Pangea break up again, recapitulating the now-debunked gravitational collapse of the universe? Or is this breakup and reformation a once-and-done phenomenon?

      My favorite college course was Intelligent Life in the Universe, taught by the Bio and Earth Science departments, and used the text of the same name, by Carl Sagan and I.S. Shklovskii, who, separated by an Iron Curtain, apparently never met while working on the book together. One minor point I've always appreciated was that, in the USSR, it was forbidden/discouraged to teach the repeated expansion-and-collapse or Fred Hoyle's Steady-State cosmologies. Marxism-Leninism required continuous improvement, and so favored the Big Bang Theory. So I guess they did win, in the end.

      Delete
    2. I don't know. I'm not even sure about this projection into the future.

      Imagine writing a textbook with someone you've never met! Sounds like a great course.

      Fred Hoyle and his thoughts on panspermia are quite out there. Literally.

      Big Bang or BB fits our recent spate of BB puzzles, too.

      Delete