Genetic Clues Reveal How Giraffes Got Their Long Necks

For the first time ever, scientists have sequenced the genome of the world’s tallest land species, the giraffe. Surprisingly, this majestic creature required only a small handful of mutations to attain its remarkable physical stature and physiology—but these mutations packed an evolutionary punch.

Source: Genetic Clues Reveal How Giraffes Got Their Long Necks

You don’t fool me! They stretched their necks out reaching for more food! Same way we get tailless mice! 😉

Mysterious Mutants: 13 Masked People Should Have Devastating Diseases—But Don’t

With a deluge of DNA sequences pouring in from various studies, researchers diving in are finding that Mendelian genetics may be a lot muddier than expected. Wrinkled peas aside, certain bad mutations may not always be bad.

Source: Mysterious mutants: 13 masked people should have devastating diseases—but don’t

Given the population density on the earth it is highly likely you’ll find naturally evolving resilience to disorders and diseases before you’ll solve them through man-made solutions.

My only concern is the privacy level these types of tests require. No one wants to be outed as the golden goose or the unlucky person carrying a bunch of dormant super crippling disorders that could affect their progeny.  That said,  the same team that did this study is also launching a new study (with re-contact clauses) at http://resilienceproject.com/

What This Classic Experiment on Rats Can Teach Us About Eugenics

A 1940s psychologist named Robert Tryon wondered if rats could be bred to complete a maze more competently, and after seven generations of selective breeding he succeeded. That classic experiment is still shaping our thinking about the age-old question of nature versus nurture when it comes to human intelligence and behavior.

Source: What This Classic Experiment on Rats Can Teach Us About Eugenics

The real problem with eugenics and selective breeding is that you are by necessity limiting your gene pool and therefore genetic diversity. While you are able to breed for select desired traits you often also get traits that you don’t want.

Even if you can keep from getting any undesired traits your new breed will lack the genetic diversity of the old breed. This means that an environmental or biological factor (like a virus) has a higher chance of being able to wipe out the whole of the new breed. Genetically diverse populations are more resilient against extinction because their genetic diversity makes them more adaptable as a group.

How Much Does Genetics Really Affect Your Fitness?

If you’re not seeing results in the gym, there are a lot of things you can tweak: your diet, your exercise schedule, and the types of workouts you do, to name a few. But genetics is also a big factor. We’ve all had that thought on bad days: Maybe I’m just not cut out to succeed at this.

Source: How Much Does Genetics Really Affect Your Fitness?

Height is considered ~80% heritable, but malnourishment and/or disease can stunt your growth.  If you’re really serious about addressing your height, limb-lengthening operations (cosmetic surgery) are a reality.  But tot only are they ridiculously expensive, but they also involve having your legs broken!  To lengthen limbs, the bones are broken to be spread so the body fills the gap by healing.   Anti-inflammatory painkillers can’t be prescribed because they might inhibit bone growth.   At a rate something like a millimeter a day, the apparatus is tweaked daily.  Some have achieved 6 inches, but most seem to be 2-3 inches.  Surgery would require someone like me to be off blood thinners, so far less likely that anyone will want to do the surgery for you.

All that said, for me part of the process has been about accepting what I can not change.

Four Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Healthier Person

If you’re completely satisfied with your health, don’t read this article. This is not for you. Give yourself a pat on the back, and save yourself the scrolling. For the rest of you, approach what I’m about to say with an open mind, and maybe you can come out of this a fitter person.

Source: Four Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Healthier Person

This article really is about getting the conversation with yourself started.  It doesn’t talk about long term, re-evaluating periodically.  A plateau is a more obvious sign about re-evaluating – not too late, but can be.

I’ve made some changes in diet in the last six months or so.  Weight loss is part of the training agenda, while noticing that I should probably eat more protein.  But the changes also appeared in my INR tests – my levels having consistently been in the 3.5 range.  A bit of a concern – higher chance of bruising/internal bleeding.  My doctor started taking notice, test in two weeks rather than monthly.  So made another change, which I’m hoping suits all goals – natural food source, a bit more vitamin K intake to level off the INR, and cheaper than what my second breakfast was (besides healthier).

Mortality Gap: Why Women Live Longer than Men

In every single country on the planet, women live longer than men. In response to this unpleasant fact, men are fond of replying, “That’s because we have to put up with women.” Humorous though it may be, that’s not the actual reason women live longer than men. In fact, it wasn’t until the beginning of the 20th Century that the “mortality gap” between men and women became so striking.

To investigate the underlying reason for the gender gap in life expectancy, a team of researchers examined mortality data for people born between 1800 and 1935 in 13 developed countries. Using this data, they were able to determine changes in the male-female mortality ratio, as well as determine when and why women began to outlive men.

Source: Mortality Gap: Why Women Live Longer than Men

The over 40 sample is great because it eliminates the two biggest gender specific dangers – childbirth and war.  I would really like to see a study comparing the life spans of childless women, compared to those with children.  One advantage of pregnancy prior to age 30 is a reduced risk of breast cancer.  But pregnancy increases risk for osteoporosis associated complications.

Why Don’t I Look Like My Goal Physique Yet?

There are only so many things you can control in life, and your genetics isn’t one of them. Aside from hitting the gym and plastic surgery, you have little say over how your appearance turns out—and even then, you may have less control than you think.

Source: Why Don’t I Look Like My Goal Physique Yet?

Do it for your health, not your looks.  You can shoot for both, but the former is more important.

How to Minimize Loose Skin During Weight Loss

There’s nothing worse than working your way through a diet only to end up with skin that hangs like a curtain from a window. Unfortunately, it’s a common byproduct of weight loss. Here’s what you can to minimize the amount of loose skin during weight loss or even improve the issue after you’ve lost weight.

Source: How to Minimize Loose Skin During Weight Loss

Not a topic you often see covered…

Eggs, tuna, lean chicken, navy or black beans, and – of course – protein powder are good ways to get a big dose of protein with a small amount of calories.

This Paper About Tongues and Genetics Fooled the Whole World

Rolling your tongue is not a genetic trait. Most of the people reading this were told, at some point during their schooling, that it was. At last you can read the paper that started the myth, and find out how quickly it was disproved.

Some of us had our tiny egos crushed in the third grade when a teacher, during a science presentation, tried to explain genetics by having the entire classroom roll their tongues. When some people couldn’t, the teacher announced that the ability to roll one’s tongue was genetic. The flat-tongued among us would never be able to twist their tongues into a roll, and should just give up. The inspiration from that lesson came from “A New Inherited Character in Man,” published in 1940.

Source: This Paper About Tongues and Genetics Fooled the Whole World

Sounds like something a flat-tongue would say!  Sorry, that was tasteless…