Being mean and ornery doesn't mean you can face down death! And
smoking is not your fault! Well, not entirely. That cigarette after dinner?
That's the one your genes made you smoke. Maybe.
in a piece picked up by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and
bounced around the web, headlined a story:
Smoking Gene May Reveal Why Some People Smoke More
The story summarizes a 79-author paper in Translational
Psychiatry titled "Genome-wide meta-analyses of smoking behaviors in
African Americans." Halfway down the WebMD piece comes the killer
Gene Predicts One More Cigarette per Day
And that's actually rather more definite than the paper, which
points at SNPs in a region that "are associated with very small changes in
smoking quantity and explain a small proportion of the variance."
This is historically par for the course for the tobacco industry: They have
spent generations funding searches for genetic variants, to promote "a
false story that smokers' risk of lung cancer and likelihood of smoking are
both in their DNA." As Helen Wallace has
documented extensively, the hunt for genes that dont exist has created
a vast gravy train of funding for the human genome and a false message about
cancer in the press.
'Personality Genes' May Help Account for Longevity
That's a press release promoting a report in
Aging titled "Positive attitude towards life and emotional
expression as personality phenotypes for centenarians." The
researchers targeted "a genetically homogeneous sample of Ashkenazi Jewish
centenarians" though regrettably the sample size was limited because
"most participants in the original study were unable to participate due to
their health issues or mortality." Moreover:
Some evidence indicates that personality can change between
the ages of 70 and 100, so we don't know whether our centenarians have
maintained their personality traits across their entire lifespans.
So did they live long because they laughed hard? (The contentment
is confirmed by other
research.) Or are they cheerful because they've forgotten their earlier
struggles? Enquiring minds want to know. Clearly a very large longitudinal
study is called for. And in the meantime, Dr. Monty Python may have the best
look on the bright side of life
Previously on Biopolitical
Gene of the Week: The Nice Gene
The Great Gene Hunt (cont'd)
The Geriatric Genotype?
A People's History of the Human Genome
Posted in Personal genomics, Pete Shanks's Blog Posts, Sequencing & Genomics
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