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Biotech Science

DNA Suggests Three Basic Human Groups 459

Death Metal writes "All of Earth's people, according to a new analysis of the genomes of 53 populations, fall into just three genetic groups. They are the products of the first and most important journey our species made — the walk out of Africa about 70,000 years ago by a small fraction of ancestral Homo sapiens."
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DNA Suggests Three Basic Human Groups

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @07:21PM (#28460469)

    I've come to believe that human's are simply programmed to line themselves up in groups, to fight imagined or real enemies in other groups. We're raised on it, jocks vs nerds becomes blacks vs whites vs christians vs atheists vs global warming followers vs global warming deniers vs pro-life vs pro-choice vs republicans vs democrats vs whatever.

    So who else believes this will be the next big advance in 'scientifically supported' bigotry? After all, we now have proof we're better/smarter/more virtuous/taller than *them*.

  • by Haoie ( 1277294 ) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @07:22PM (#28460487)

    1. Those who make things happen
    2. Those who watch things happen
    3. Those who wonder what happened

  • Great... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @07:22PM (#28460491)

    More ways to be prejudiced against people.

    "My genetic group is better than yours!"

  • What's PC now? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @07:26PM (#28460545)

    So if there's only three distinct ethnic groups, who's the minority now? It's very important for political correctness. Wait... Minorities are an invention of mass-delusions by the public...

  • by jack2000 ( 1178961 ) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @07:27PM (#28460569)
    What strikes me as odd isn't the science or fact that people are different, what strikes me as odd is people seem to be somehow afraid of this and would fret about it endlessly...
  • Pointless article (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @07:28PM (#28460593)

    It sounds like it was written 50 years ago. At the very least I find it hard to believe the Australian Aborigines aren't a distinct group since they separated from the rest of the race before Europeans left Africa. The whole thing is an over simplification of a very complex family tree.

  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @07:59PM (#28460893)

    I don't think anyone's fretting about it at all. AC is just wondering out loud.

    Anyway, the worst that will happen is some group will protest the finding. The only people who are going to take the findings to conclusions about racial superiority are people who are using it to validate their pre-existing racism. Knuckle-dragging racists aren't made by facts, they're made by ignorance.

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @08:07PM (#28460951)
    That's not really the same thing, that was classifying human remains via the rough shape of the skull. This is a bit more personal than that is. You may very well be correct, it's just that basing it on genetics is far more likely to have some sort of meaningful accuracy.
  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @08:07PM (#28460955)

    I take a general offense to the nature of this article, presenting this as though it is some sort of surprise.

    Then you misinterpreted it. The suprise is at the degree of genomic similarity within the three groups. The groupings you mentioned seem to have been validated, but they weren't based on genome studies. Using those old "studies" you couldn't have said anything about the genetic similarity of two ethnicities within the, er, clades? Maybe you could have/did assume, but that would have been without any evidence.

    The suprise is not that there are 3 groups, the suprise is that there are 3 genetic groups.

    (Terminology is a bit off because, well, I'm not in this field)

  • Re:What's PC now? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by drsmack1 ( 698392 ) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @08:32PM (#28461149)
    In my experience, if he writes in perfect English then he is either over 40 or from outside the country. So, that still leaves the chance that he is Chinese.
  • Re:Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @08:49PM (#28461285)

    This is not how evolution works, bro'. The population with the most genetic diversity is the less evolved(in the sense that it retains more characteristics from the original population).
    Evolution works in the extremes where a few founding individuals exposed to higher than average pressure evolve multiple adaptations to the new conditions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @08:53PM (#28461321)

    Have you actually read The Bible?

    No incest, or more politely, inbreeding" had to occur at all.

    Read the book Man, see for your self, the talk of "the other people" who existed at the same time.

    RTFBible, because it's clear you're ignorant on some important "facts".

  • by arminw ( 717974 ) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @08:57PM (#28461337)

    ...There's still that bigger inbreeding problem....

    You are making an assumption here, namely that the genetic pool of humanity was then the way it looks today. It is interesting that there are exactly 3 people groups and not four or five for some of that number. It is not at all impossible that all people on Earth today descended from the three sons of Noah. This is a very simple theory and as far as theories go, the simpler ones are more likely correct. Of course, this theory has unthinkable implications for those who believe that the Bible is nothing more than a bunch of myths and falsehoods. People who do not wish to believe in the Bible and the God of the Bible will go to great lengths to come up with other, usually more complicated explanations for this data.

  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @09:12PM (#28461437)

    RTFBible, because it's clear you're ignorant on some important "facts".

    Wow, a preaching troll.

    Anyway, I have more important things to read. Like a stack of molecular biology papers thicker than the bible. And Fallout 3, although come to think of it that's not really reading. A lot more interesting and relevant though.

  • by itzdandy ( 183397 ) <> on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @09:46PM (#28461699) Homepage

    Inbreeding does cause genetic issues but evolution still applies. Over generations the flawed offspring would tend to die at a faster rate than non-inbred populations.

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @11:35PM (#28462525) Journal

    Because, like all the nonsense some ignorant folks made about Mitochondrial Eve, you don't know what you're talking about. No one said these three lineages separated at the same time. In fact, they didn't. So any attempt to marry this to your favorite mythology is nothing more than cherry picking certain statements, when the evidence, in fact, completely eradicates your beliefs.

  • by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @11:47PM (#28462601)
    Asians to a small degree? Which world history did you learn? Asian cultures were way ahead in most respects until roughly the Age of Exploration, and still on par until roughly the Enlightenment. Unfortunately some key internal weaknesses arose coincidently within the timeframe when Europeans were most actively colonizing, but ultimately that has been only a couple centuries of a developmental hiccup. The European Dark Ages were longer, and in my opinion, worse. Now Asia is ascendant again, and all things being equal, China will be the most powerful nation on Earth (again, but you obviously wouldn't know the history) in a matter of decades. Japan has managed to be second only to the US economically despite having a smaller total land area than Zimbabwe (wherein it logistically supports more than eleven times as many people with a quality of life, literacy, and depth of culture magnitudes greater).

    Asia has a history of literature at least equivalent to that of Europe, as well as visual art and music, architecture and engineering, philosophy and religion, virtually every dimension.

    To single out the Chinese, since I happen to know more about them than other Asian cultures, they invented the movable type printing press before Gutenberg, but their language was so complex that it wasn't practical so it didn't see a lot of use. They invented the compass, the crossbow, sericulture, belt drive, borehole drilling (did you know the deepest hole ever excavated by man before 1835 was done by the Chinese to extract salt brine?), a calendar as accurate as the Julian four centuries earlier (and another as accurate as the Gregorian three centuries earlier), cast iron, single and multistage rockets, negative numbers, porcelain, etc.

    Though I would agree that the illiterate cultures of sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas have little real, objective value, that you can try to level similar charges at Asia suggests to me that you are either ignorant or truly bigoted.
  • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @01:02AM (#28462971) Homepage

    Now Asia is ascendant again, and all things being equal, China will be the most powerful nation on Earth (again, but you obviously wouldn't know the history) in a matter of decades

    But it's not, nor will it ever be.

    People seem to forget that a nation's Government is the single largest institution that decides its prosperity by virtue of promotion or obstruction. Everything else after the fact is a moot point with regards to population and/or its resources available.

  • Read the Bible. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Thursday June 25, 2009 @01:52AM (#28463219)
    The advice and truths given in the Bible are credible because they mirror the real personal stories and events that happen in the world around us. Many myths and religions try to do the same, and they get some things right, but there is always the element of mysticism that has been injected by people trying to gain personal advantage. I know that many "Christians" have tried to do this too (most notably the catholic church and their instance that only the Pope can talk to God, which is in direct contradiction to the primary message of pretty much every book of the Bible, they also asserted in the past that only a properly educated person should be allowed to read the Bible), but such lies are easily uncovered by even a cursory independent look at the Bible.

    There is nowhere in the bible where it says giving sacrifices will bring a good harvest (though it does say that you should make sacrifices to atone for your sins and celebrate God), or that your God-given leader will bring you to God (though it does say that Jesus loves you and has opened they way for you). It also doesn't say that you can get to heaven through your own personal works (though it does talk about the importance bearing good fruit).

    There are a number of other elements to most religions which the Bible lacks, but the main difference is that most religious are designed to promote cohesion in society by establishing a theological basis for a hierarchal leadership structure (much the same way modern economics, philosophy and political science have established a theoretical basis for the same kind of structure). The Bible seeks to promote cohesion by explaining the benefits of good social behavior and uncovering the lies of society (society tries to tell us that bad behaviors like promiscuity, deceitfulness, idolatry and hedonism will make us happy, while in truth those behaviors separate us from the life-giving society we are a part of and will only lead to isolation and tragedy).

    Please do not think that the behavior of most people who call themselves Christians is indicative of the content of the Bible. Many people use the Church as a social club to further their own worldly goals. Instead, read the Bible (it's not much longer than Atlas Shrugged, which you should also read BTW) with an open mind and see whether or not you agree that it is a better way to go about living.
  • by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @02:55AM (#28463519)
    I think you're (deliberately?) missing the point. What I meant of course was 'barring any unforseen disaster or negative socio-political change'. China today is magnitudes better than it was two decades ago, let alone three, four, all the way back to Qianlong at the very least. China's government is still dangerous and corrupt, but it has been slowly improving.
  • by Reziac ( 43301 ) * on Thursday June 25, 2009 @03:18AM (#28463621) Homepage Journal

    Inbreeding doesn't *cause* genetic issues. It merely concentrates and thereby exposes those that are already present in a given gene pool, by increasing the chance of being homozygous for any given trait -- good OR bad.

  • Re:Read the Bible. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by qc_dk ( 734452 ) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @05:30AM (#28464279)

    But we can get people out of comas. You don't really believe that with the lack of understanding of medicine back then, that they would have the same rigorous definition of death as measured by brain activity do you?

  • by ILoveCrack83 ( 1244964 ) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @05:55AM (#28464399)
    Exactly. From TFA:

    There is a simplicity and all-inclusiveness to the number three -- the triangle, the Holy Trinity, three peas in a pod. So it's perhaps not surprising that the Family of Man is divided that way, too.

    That's where I stopped reading.

  • Re:Read the Bible. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by _Hellfire_ ( 170113 ) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @06:32AM (#28464505)

    But we can get people out of comas. You don't really believe that with the lack of understanding of medicine back then, that they would have the same rigorous definition of death as measured by brain activity do you?

    Are you suggesting that after being nailed to a cross for the best part of a day, having his legs broken so he suffocated, and having a spear put through his side, that Jesus was not dead, but simply comatose?

    Bloody hell - he's harder to kill than Jack Bauer!

  • by E IS mC(Square) ( 721736 ) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @08:37AM (#28465031) Journal
    Actually, there are four types of people in the world:
    1. Those who keep on repeating "10 types - binary" joke.
    2. Those who loves telling "3 kinds - can not count" joke repeatedly.
    3. People who hate above mentioned jokes and whine about it.
    4. Everybody else who does not give fuck.
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Thursday June 25, 2009 @09:07AM (#28465289)
    You know, if *my* wife gave birth to a European looking kid, an Asian kid, and a black kid; I'd probably have some serious questions for her.
  • by lilomar ( 1072448 ) <> on Thursday June 25, 2009 @09:37AM (#28465591) Homepage the darkness. And says "Let there be light."

    OMFG guys! The bible is actually a PHB! Obviously Adam wrote the MM when he named all the animals, so that only leaves the DMG, which is obviously metaphorically referred to as "the tree of knowledge of good and evil."
    Adam and Eve weren't kicked out of the garden for eating fruit! they were kicked out because they were peeking at the DM's notes!

  • by microbox ( 704317 ) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @09:49AM (#28465715)
    The future of 'racism' is that word will fall out of fashion and pretty much cease to exist in a generation or so.

    That sounds a little like wishful thinking. In just a few generations we've made tremendous progress with prejudice, however, it is rampant in its grossest forms in much of the world, and about 10% of westerners, who are "ethnocentric".

    Then there's covert racism, which is till common in modern society. Peoples behaviour choices are influenced unduly by racial considerations - esp. when it's personal (eg: choosing a family doctor), or ambiguous (eg: I didn't employ the black person because of his credentials).

    There are many ways to measure covert racism, however, be wary of the IAT [], it's highly controversial, so take what the researchers say about it with a grain of salt. Behavioural measures are the best (ie: watching what people *do*).

    It seems that prejudice is built into the human condition - at least at a subtle level:
    • We form groups as power units
    • We all generate an in-group bias - it's part of a healthy self-esteem
    • We use stereotypes as cognitive shortcuts for organising and quickly processing information. There is no way to /stop/ stereotypes from forming, they are basic mental formations. The trick is not to /believe/ in the stereotypes that somehow get implanted in your head. That's pretty darn hard, and is similar to not having opinions about people. The stereotype, like an opinion, is a mental schema with which we process information.
    • As power units, groups compete, which is fertile ground for distrust and conflict (think republican vs. democrat)
    • Group cohesion relies on dumbing down individual processing. This has been experimentally shown. People are smart, but groups are stupid
    • The confirmation bias [] means that a lot of information just doesn't get critically analysed.

    That's just who we are as human beings, and it means that we're always going to tread a fine line between in-group preference and out-group prejudice, and have difficulty even seeing that that's what we're doing. And that's in ideal situations when there are plenty of resources for everyone.

  • by gtall ( 79522 ) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @11:26AM (#28466847)

    Well, regardless of any trace of Neanderthal genes still present, one thing we know about humans is that if it looks...uh...screwable...someone, somewhere, sometime will have tried it. Just wander around the internet for examples today of just how out of the box some people think.

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle