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Biotech Idle Science

The Average Human Has 60 New Genetic Mutations 246

mcgrew pointed out a story about a new study that found the average person is born with 60 genetic mutations, very few of which involve weather manipulation or an amazing healing factor. This number was less than expected, leading the researchers to believe human evolution happens more slowly than previously thought. From the article: "Sixty mutations may sound like a lot, but according to the international team of geneticists behind the new research, it is actually fewer than expected. 'We had previously estimated that parents would contribute an average of 100 to 200 mistakes to their child,' Philip Awadalla, a geneticist at the University of Montreal who co-led the project, said in a press release. 'Our genetic study, the first of its kind, shows that actually much fewer mistakes, or mutations, are made.'
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The Average Human Has 60 New Genetic Mutations

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  • Mistakes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Comboman ( 895500 ) on Friday June 17, 2011 @12:12PM (#36475820)

    In terms of a DNA sequence making an exact copy of itself, yes they are mistakes (that is the very definition of a mutation). Whether that mistake turns out to be beneficial to the organism or not is a separate issue.

  • Re:Creationists? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RazzleFrog ( 537054 ) on Friday June 17, 2011 @12:31PM (#36476102)

    Creationists avoid all straight answers by just calling it "God's Will" or "God's Plan". It's a very handy catch-all bullshit answer.

  • by SETIGuy ( 33768 ) * on Friday June 17, 2011 @12:39PM (#36476214) Homepage
    Alternative medicine is just medicine that doesn't work, or hasn't been shown to work. If an alternative medicine is shown to work, they call it medicine.
  • Re:Creationists? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Friday June 17, 2011 @12:39PM (#36476218)

    The problem is that the human brain really likes to put things into categories. That is an hamster, but that over there is not. Just because that is the way the human brain likes to work doesn't mean that it's a universal truth. Species do not exist as a phenomenon outside of the human brain. Trying to decide where one species starts and another species ends is like picking two points of the visual spectrum at random as new colors and then arguing over where one starts and the other stops. Sure, if you look at one color and then the other, you can tell that they're different, but if how do you decide where the cutoff point is? Any point you choose is going to be arbitrary because your starting points were arbitrary. The same is true for organisms.

    There are organisms which are genetically similar enough to allow for viable offspring, and organisms that are not. But even that can't magically create an immutable category, everything inside of which is a hamster and everything outside of which isn't.

  • Re:Creationists? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Friday June 17, 2011 @01:04PM (#36476580)

    No, that empirically does not work on this subject. That is how scientists around the country tried to deal with the problem for 50 years and at the end of that half century there were more people against the teaching of evolution than there were at the beginning of it. The problem is that for every troll, there is an actual creationist out there who believes what they are saying (which, IMO, makes them uneducated, but not a troll). Leaving these people to their own devices just sets them up in an echo chamber of their own misunderstandings until we end up in a situation where decision makers believe this nonsense. Then you have school boards, text book publishers, even presidential nominees who will state proudly that they don't believe in evolution. At the very least, I will voice my disagreement to make it clear that there are those who disagree, those that will hear the proud statement of a candidate's ignorance and irrevocably put them on the 'will not vote for' list.

    So please, if you see someone politely, non-aggressively stating their misunderstandings, correct them politely and non-aggressively. If it's a troll, you won't have given them the satisfaction of making you angry because you will have been polite. If it's someone who actually believes what they are saying maybe, just maybe, you'll convince them to take another look at what they believe. Even if they don't believe what they are saying, someone reading it probably does, and if you can convince just a single person to rethink the subject it is, IMO, worth the 2 minutes it took to write out a reasoned, polite response.

  • Re:Creationists? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RazzleFrog ( 537054 ) on Friday June 17, 2011 @01:25PM (#36476936)

    And God creating something has been scientifically observed? Did I miss that on the news? You are asking to scientifically observe something that takes thousands/millions of years to happen.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers