Ignorant Genetics Musings

I need to preface this with the massive disclaimer that I know NOTHING about genetics and these ideas are probably already known to be completely wrong and ridiculous — in no way supported by the data. Having said that, I am going to use my remaining eightminutes at a Cusco internet cafe to put some ideas ‘on paper.’

First, what if traits aren’t inherited in a linear Mendellian way, but in a probabilistic fashion? Father has blue blue eye color genes, mother has blue green, thus, children have a 50% chance of blue, 50% of green. Obviously, even with  my limited knowledge of genetics I know cross interactions occur with other genes and the former is a gross oversimplification.  Alternatively, consider a probabilistic approach where there is a spectrum of eye colors, such as white-blue-green-brown-dark. It doesn’t matter what the spectrum is, just that there is one. For my mathy friends, say you have a unit interval of eye colors. What if the genes your parents have are simply akin to a probability distributions mean parameter. You are given two of these ‘means.’ Nature does some type of convolution of the distributions and spits out these parents eye color distribution. It has a mean value that is a function of both the genes they pass on. Say both your parents have blue eyes, their corresponding distribution would likely concentrate most of its mass close to blue. This type of approach would allow for any possible couple to birth children with any possible trait, but would preserve a natural bias towards their traits. This idea is much more well thought out than this, and I will elaborate if anyone is curious. Once again, I know nothing about genetics and am a crackpot.

Second, my biased and insignificant personal observations have led me to believe that it is extremely unlikely that people are born with certain traits and then will pass on traits to their children simply as a result of what they were born with, not affected by their experiences at all. I highly doubt this is the way modern genetics understands inheritance, but I will continue anyways. For example, I think both physical and mental stress affect trait inheritance.

Consider this theoretical experiment. Say you take a few thousand pure-blood Scandinavian twins, who completely look the part. Their ancestors have lived in Scandinavia for thousands of years. Now, take one person from each pairing and move them at birth to Egypt. From each pairing, one twin will live out his life in Egypt and the other in Scandinavia. What will happen when these twins reproduce? Say the groups in both Egypt and Scandinavia have babies with other members of respective groups. Would the babies on average look the same, or would the ones birthed in Egypt be have slightly darker coloring, something more well suited to Egypt. Would changes such as this happen on a noticeable scale after one evolutionary cycle? If so, how is the ‘information’ that the Egyptian parents should bias their traits passed on? Is there a stress related chemical that sits in your body and its levels during intercourse affect inheritance?

Times up.


One Response to “Ignorant Genetics Musings”

  1. Boris Says:

    hahah. I like the idea. I too have no idea about genetics, but that’s never stopped us before from making crazy assumptions.

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