study of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms
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Genetics is the study of genes, heredity, and genetic variation in living organisms.

All the biology that Dawkins tries to present as modern biology is no such thing... the idea of the selfish gene is an idea against biochemistry, against genetics which tells us that the DNA does not replicate itself, that it's not divided by itself, that it's divided by enzymes, that you have to take into account not only the genome; you also have to take into account the -ome, a whole system in which we can distinguish but not separate the different elements. That's why Dawkins has been so successful; science fiction is sold much better than scientific works. ~ Mario Bunge
In Card's strange world, children can inherit advanced qualities like a talent for xenobiology -- a bizarre combination of genetic determinism and Lamarckianism since these characteristics were presumably artificially acquired at some point in the past. (Or does Card imagine that there is literally a gene for xenobiological talent that we can breed for? How could such a thing evolve? Surely our genes would have to be macroscopic to carry all the information he assumes they do.) In any case, his pseudo-science serves primarily as an excuse for ugly actions running the gamut from genocide to vivisection. ~ Elaine Radford


  • Humanity should study the foundations of heredity. But this will be possible only when science is liberated from superstition and limitation. Many accumulations have piled up on man. Heredity of one’s personal incarnations, heredity of the clan, heredity of one’s people, supermundane heredity, and also the many influences of accidental encounters, which imprint themselves on the psychic nature and change it. Indeed, scientists of limited mind can observe heredity only within the context of the family; in other words, within the most narrow limitations. They occasionally do observe those inherited traits that may appear even after several generations. But they cannot make the more sensitive observations, because they do not believe in reincarnation or in the Supermundane World. It is impossible to properly observe man within these narrow, ignorant limitations, but one may hope that science will free itself and will achieve true insights...
    The Thinker reminded, “Liberate science, hasten to remove its fetters.” (929)
  • Forms transmit their peculiarities to other forms that proceed from them, these other forms being part of their own substance, separated off to lead an independent existence. By fission, by budding, by extrusion of germs, by development of the offspring within the maternal womb, a physical continuity is preserved, every new form being derived from a preceding form and reproducing its characteristics. Science groups these facts under the name of the law of heredity, and its observations on the transmission of form are worthy of attention, and are illuminative of the workings of Nature in the phenomenal world. But it must be remembered that it applies only to the building of the physical body, into which enter the materials provided by the parents. Her more hidden workings, those workings of life without which form could not be, have received no attention, not being susceptible of physical observation, and this gap can only be filled by the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom, given by Those who of old used superphysical powers of observation, and verifiable gradually by every pupil who studies patiently in Their schools.
  • Modern science is proving more and more clearly that heredity plays an ever-decreasing part in the evolution of the higher creatures, that mental and moral qualities are not transmitted from parents to offspring, and that the higher qualities the more patent is this fact ‘ the child of the genius is oft-times a dolt; commonplace parents give birth to a genius.
  • I don't think I was constructed to be monogamous. I don't think it's the nature of any man to be monogamous. Men are propelled by genetically ordained impulses over which they have no control to distribute their seed.
    • Marlon Brando 1994 statement, as quoted in Kosher Sex : A Recipe for Passion and Intimacy (2000) by Shmuley Boteach.
  • In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice.
  • In this unexpected scenario, the UFO occupants -- despite their obvious technological superiority -- are desperate for both human genetic material and the ability to feel human emotions -- particularly maternal emotions. Unlikely though it may seem, it is possible that the very survival of these extraterrestrials depends upon their success in absorbing chemical and psychological properties received from human abductees.
  • Naomi Hunter: Each person is born with their fate written into their own genetic code... it's unchangeable, immutable... But that's not all there is to life. I finally realized that. I told you before. The reason that I was interested in genes and DNA. Because I wanted to know who I was... where I came from. I thought that if I analyzed my DNA I could find out who I was, who my parents were. And I thought that if I knew that, then I'd know what path I should take in life. But I was wrong. I didn't find anything. I didn't learn anything. Just like with the Genome Soldiers... you can input all the genetic information, but that doesn't make them into the strongest soldiers. The most we can say about DNA is that it governs a person's potential strengths... potential destiny. You mustn't allow yourself to be chained to fate... to be ruled by your genes. Humans can choose the type of life they want to live.
  • A question commonly posed by clinicians, families and patients alike is, how do genes work in influencing risk for eating disorders? The lay conception of genetics tends to over-emphasize the deterministic aspect of genetic risk. Modeled after Mendelian inheritance one gene-one disorder examples (e.g. Huntington's), the misperception emerges that there is one gene for anorexia nervosa and if you have that gene you are destined to develop the condition. Clinicians are well-positioned to dispel these myths and offer more realistic albeit complicated explanations for complex inheritance patterns. By definition, eating disorders are complex traits. That means that their inheritance pattern in families does not follow traditional Mendelian patterns, and that they are influenced by multiple genetic and environmental factors of small to moderate effect. There is not one gene for anorexia nervosa or one gene for bulimia nervosa. More likely there are a number of genes that code for proteins that influence traits that index vulnerability to these disorders. Complicating the risk picture even further, these genes exist in concert with other genetic factors that may confer protection against eating disorders, along with main effects of risk and protective environments, as well as gene x environment interplay as we discuss in the following section.
  • One prong in the approach to incorporating genetics into clinical work focuses on the parents of individuals with eating disorders. Whether the parents are involved in parent training, traditional family therapy, or other types of supportive interventions, they can be educated about genetic factors influencing eating disorders. A sensitive explanation that incorporates knowledge about complex genetic etiology (not the one gene-one disease model) and about how genes and environment interact can serve to relieve guilt in parents who have been blamed for creating the illness in their offspring (or alternatively erroneously assumed that their parenting was to blame). A genetic and biological explanation can help parents understand that their child’s resistance is not just stubbornness or deviousness, but that in his or her recovery, their child is fighting an uphill battle against his or her biology. This knowledge can empower parents to understand and can decrease frustration. Care should be taken that parents do not transform this knowledge into a new form of guilt (i.e., feeling guilty for passing on risk genes), as the roll of the genetic dice is one thing over which we have no control. Likewise, care should be taken not to allow the genetic information to impart complete absolution on parents, as parenting can always improve and positive parenting changes should also be prescribed as part of treatment.
  • Patients read enormous amounts about their illness and are often aware of the genetic research on eating disorders yet they struggle to understand what the data mean for them and the challenges they face every day during recovery. Helping patients to understand the genetic literature is a first step. Although they might not initially see its relevance to their situation, helping them map how disordered eating and temperamental traits track in their families by using techniques such as labeling family trees can provide a useful context for understanding genetic and environmental contributions to their current situation. An understanding of genetic and environmental interplay can provide them with an explanatory model for not only their illness, but also for understanding their sensitivity to the environment. It can help provide them with the motivation to acquire skills that may help buffer them from the environment and combat their biology most effectively.
  • Although several decades ago there was significant debate about the influence of “nature” versus “nurture” on the development of psychological traits and outcomes, it is now generally accepted that both genes and environment interact to influence personality and behavior. However, in the clinical setting, genetic influences on clients’ presentation of their personal histories, including characteristics of their family-of-origin environment, their perceptions of stressful life events, and their experiences within their social network, are not generally viewed from a genetic-epidemiological perspective.
  • Jerome: For the genetically superior, success is easier to attain but is by no means guaranteed.
  • The X-men are frequently referred to as the “next step” in human evolution (X-Men: First Class 2011; Gresh and Weinberg 2002, 133). According to Darwin, in order for evolution to occur, an individual must exhibit a variation that makes it better suited to its environment and then that variation must be selected for and passed down to future generations. When that variation has accumulated throughout the species, the species is considered to have evolved. Playing by Darwin’s rules, then, in order for the X-men to be the “next step” in human evolution, they must have a variation, that variation must prove useful in their environment, and that variation must be passed down to offspring. The genetic variation that the X-men have is called the x-gene; presumably the same gene, shared among the X-men but not among normal humans. There are huge problems with this, not the least of which is that an identical gene has appeared simultaneously in individuals who otherwise share very few genes. Furthermore, while Richard Dawkins, celebrated author of The Selfish Gene and authority on genetics, talks at length in about genes for various physical traits and sets of genes for various behaviors, he never once in his body of work mentions the possibility of a gene that has the same protein structure in each individual, but manifests itself in each individual in a radically different way. There is a gene for blue eyes and a gene for brown eyes, but the blue-eye gene will never produce brown eyes. Yet the x-gene is capable of producing invisibility, scales, telepathy, and wings, all with the same protein structure. Even epigenetics, which can account for different physiological manifestations of the same genetic code, cannot produce such a wide variety of traits.
  • For the reader who isn't convinced that writing a book (no matter how highly acclaimed) makes up for exterminating a race, Card offers an alternative, albeit rather contradictory, excuse for his genocide's actions -- genetic determinism. Although this "science" has been shown to represent such an oversimplification that it's a downright distortion, Card makes it the foundation of the biology of his universe. From the very beginning, authorities can breed geniuses more easily than you or I could establish a strain of purebred blue budgies, and never mind that breeding for color and size involves at most a few genes, while breeding for intelligence would require a total understanding of the complicated interactions between whole chromosomes. In Card's strange world, children can inherit advanced qualities like a talent for xenobiology -- a bizarre combination of genetic determinism and Lamarckianism since these characteristics were presumably artificially acquired at some point in the past. (Or does Card imagine that there is literally a gene for xenobiological talent that we can breed for? How could such a thing evolve? Surely our genes would have to be macroscopic to carry all the information he assumes they do.) In any case, his pseudo-science serves primarily as an excuse for ugly actions running the gamut from genocide to vivisection.
  • The attitudes vary between countries, there are numerous texts for various types of biobanks, the same texts raise different interpretations in different institutions, there are new ethical opinions expressed, and mainly the novelty of questions raised by the uses of samples that are possible today, especially in genetics, and were not foreseeable at the time of sampling make the field difficult in practice.
  • There's no genetic basis for any kind of rigid ethnic or racial classification... I'm always asked is there Greek DNA or an Italian gene, but, of course, there isn't... We're very closely related.
    • Bryan Sykes, The Watchtower, July 1, 2011, page 23; Does God value one race above others?.

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