How Small Genetic Differences Give Rise to Racial DiversityJohn Bean
French translation here
This article is based on an older work published in the October 2005 issue of Identity. It has been developed further by input from Roger Pearson, a Professor of Anthropology, particularly in the section on the origins of European man.
When the Human Genome Project was completed in 2000, it was widely touted that its result showed no genetic basis for race. In fact some scientists of the liberal-left consensus went so far as to dub race a “biological fiction.” I argue that developments since then have clearly demonstrated that quite small genetic differences can produce disproportionate results that substantiate the fact that racial differences are a reality and that they are more complex than just differences in skin color and hair texture.
When we are told that as the difference in DNA between peoples from different parts of the globe is so small therefore there is really no such thing as “race,” let us first remember that the difference between humans and chimpanzees is only just over one percent. Yet despite sharing 99 per cent of the same DNA, how is it that we are so different in appearance, behaviour and, above all, in mental abilities? Our pet dogs and cats also share around 80 per cent of our DNA. Approximately 75 per cent of mouse genes so far identified have a firm counterpart in the human genome.
Furthermore, according to Prof. Stylianos Antonarakis of the University of Geneva Medical School and Dr. Ewen Kirkness of the Institute of Genomic Research, Maryland, latest DNA research shows that some DNA regions of humans, dogs, and species as distant as elephant and wallaby are nearly identical. Importantly, they also found that huge tracts of human DNA, previously written off as meaningless junk, have been found to contain a hitherto unrecognised “genetic grammar,” making the language of our genes much more complex than previously thought. More on the importance of this DNA junk in producing group, or racial, differences later. But for the moment let it be noted that small though DNA differences may be the effects they can have are considerable.
It Starts in Your Genes
We appreciate that some readers fully understand the fundamentals of genetics outlined in the next few paragraphs. For those who have not really bothered about “genes,” “chromosomes,” and DNA, the following is a basic guide suitable for anyone with O level Science.
The characteristics you inherit from your parents and their ancestors are in your inherited genes. This genetic information forms part of the chromosomes which are composed of DNA, which is the chemical deoxyribonucleic acid. The chromosomes, which exist in pairs, are threadlike structures, usually found in the cell nucleus of animals and plants carrying the genes. The DNA molecule takes the structure of a double helix, i.e. a pair of parallel helixes with a common axis, and it exists in the nucleus of every living cell. This was the revolutionary discovery made by the British scientists James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953, including the fact that the two strands were complementary. The complete DNA sequence housed in a cell of an organism is known as its genome.
DNA consists of long sequences of four chemical ‘letters’ – C,T,G, and A – strung together in different combinations like different colored beads on a necklace. The information of DNA is encoded in the precise order of these four chemicals; like writing but using fewer symbols.
Genes are the smallest element of DNA and are the basis of heredity. There are around 600 genes that create each chromosome. In the human body there are 23 pairs of chromosomes containing 46 chromosomes altogether. They are sections of data that are received from our parents; one chromosome from each parent, and they combine in the embryo to create a set. It was originally thought that the genetic message comes equally from each parent, but it now seems that some children might end up with three, four, or even more copies of a gene from one parent. Although one can often see that offspring are related, even with large families each child, unless an identical twin, will be different in varying degrees. This is because the number of different offspring a pair of human parents could produce are two to the power of 47 (remember there are 46 chromosomes that can be shuffled about) or 140,000,000,000,000. Furthermore, this figure does not include genetic crossover, which results in an even higher figure.
It is the nuclear DNA that really makes us what we are. It consists of around 25,000 genes, compared with a paltry 37 that our mothers pass to us in mitochondria.
Mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell. They consume the sugars that our bodies have converted from food and in return produce electricity with which to power the cell But it is considered to be separate from the cell, because it has its own DNA, and this DNA is unaffected by other genetic exchanges.
Although you may have inherited all manner of characteristics through your nuclear DNA from parents, grandparents and back many generations, there is one factor that remains constant: the mitochondrial DNA hasn’t altered at all. It remains intact through the female line. Male sperm contains only enough mitochondria to power the sperm to the surface of the egg – it does not enter the egg. The egg, however, contains mitochondria that have been passed from mother to children for countless generations. The only way for mitochondrial DNA to alter is by natural mutations, which occur very slowly when compared with the almost frantic gene mixing we and our parents take part in. Importantly, according to Adrian Woolfson and also Sarich and Miele even the smallest DNA changes can result in significant changes to the structure and function of a living creature. In fact minute changes can have disproportionate results.
It is the natural mutation of nuclear DNA occurring just occasionally over countless generations that has led to group differences and thereby the establishment of separate human races.
Because the rate of mitochondrial genetic mutation is slow, Sarich proposed that it can be used as a clock to turn back time to a period before the mutations had crept in. The common belief at present is that modern Europeans originated from Africa (although some, such as the late Prof. Carleton S. Coon, contend that the ancestors of the living races of man achieved Homo sapiens sapiens status [truly modern status] independently in several different global areas). When mitochondrial DNA from modern sub-Saharan African populations are sampled they can be compared with European mitochondrial DNA. The mutation difference between the two populations can then be compared and a “clock” can be produced to give a time-scale which indicates when the distant ancestors of modern Europeans first left Africa (assuming they did). But there are vast differences between the genome of the Negro peoples of sub-Saharan Africa and the present day inhabitants of Europe, Asia and the Americas, because evolution did not stop after migrants moved out of Africa.
It is known that pre-sapiens “hominid” or humanlike populations were already in possession of many parts of the Old World before “intelligent” Homo sapiens spread around the world and replaced them. Some of these were quite intelligent, such as the Neanderthals of Ice Age Europe. But the prevailing view is that these were all replaced by the ancestors of modern men, although it is possible that in some places there may have been some genetic mixing with older more primitive populations. However that may be, the latest research indicates that after early Homo sapiens migrants from Africa entered Asia, they slowly spread outwards over the more habitable parts of Asia. Some went eastwards, in several waves, along the southern parts of Asia. The earliest of these are believed to have been ancestral to the Negritoes, a now rare people who resemble African Negroes, who have left traces of their genes in parts of India and Southeast Asia, and another wave may have been ancestral to the Australoids of Australia and New Guinea, who also left their genes amongst some of the living tribal peoples in the more remote parts of southern India, and amongst various southeast Asian peoples, notably in Cambodia.
But another portion of the Homo sapiens population that moved into Asia spread out in a more northerly direction, and found themselves north of the great mountain barrier that stretches from the Caucasus through northern Iran and Afghanistan. Here the climate was much colder, and from this population two further living human stocks are believed to have evolved. Those who spread eastwards became ancestral to the Mongoloids of Mongolia, China, and East Asia. Those who spread in a more northwesterly direction, became ancestral to the Caucasoids of Europe and Western Asia. The harsh conditions of cold northern Eurasia proved a challenge to survival, and many believed that this resulted in further evolutionary selection in favor of greater intelligence. Those who could not find ways of providing for their families during the long winter months, were less likely to survive. Certainly, the non-tropical climate led to modifications in the physical appearance of those who continued to be shaped by evolution in Europe and northeastern Asia, hence the fair coloring of Europeans, especially northern Europeans, and the relatively fair skin color of the Mongoloids of Eastern Asia.
When talking about race, we must remember that the further we go back in the history of the human race, the more localized people were, and so different populations evolved differently. There was no genetic mixing between Central Africans, North Europeans, Chinese, or Australian aboriginals until relatively very recent times. It is true that populations living in more central areas, such as Mesopotamia were likely to become admixed with neighboring peoples, and genetic mergers would occur in such places. The Caucasoids of the Middle East and North Africa deliberately conducted slave raids into sub-Saharan Africa to capture Negro men and women to serve them, and although they often neutered the males many had offspring from the female slaves, and so the genetic constitution of these people was changed, and their higher civilization slowly decreased.
The Cro-Magnons whom we find in southern Europe during the last Ice Age, some 25,000 years ago, were seemingly very similar to and probably ancestral to most living Europeans, but Northern Europe was not populated until the last Ice Age waned some 12,000 years ago, and allowed the glaciers and permafrost to disappear. DNA samples from human skeletal remains (based on a branch of science known as “archeogenetics”) showed that the first human settlers arrived in Britain around 10-12000 BC as Britain was thawing. They were much the same people as the people who settled Western Germany, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia as these areas became habitable. According to David Miles, formerly chief archaeologist at English Heritage and a research fellow at Oxford University in his book, The Tribes of Britain, the genetic make-up of modern indigenous Britons has hardly changed from those first post-Ice Age arrivals. He states that 80 percent of the indigenous British persons shares the same genetic characteristics as those early hunters and gatherers.
Some people have misinterpreted this important information by suggesting that the Anglo Saxons and Vikings, and even the Celts, must have had a minimal racial contribution to British stock if 80 per cent of us share the same genes as the first arrivals of 12,000 BC. This view is also held by Bryan Sykes in his book Blood of the Isles, based on the evidence of mitochondrial and y-chromosome DNA. The point here is that all the above peoples were but different variations of an otherwise common European race and, even Sykes recognizes that a key point is that European genetic differences are small. The earliest settlers of the British Isles and Western seaboard of Europe were in all probability akin to the Basques of northeastern Spain, but later, in historical times, the British Isles were settled more thoroughly by Celts, whose homeland was Southern Germany, and then by the Germanic peoples, from Northern Germany, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia. All were what we today would call European, with the Celts and Germans tending only to be blonder than the first settlers. Genetic testing has been carried out on modern day white Danes, Dutchmen, and Germans from Saxony and in nearly all cases very little difference in DNA has been found.
Small Differences – Wide Ranging Results
The human DNA carries an estimated 25,000 genes and at present it seems to be not much more than 0.15 per cent, i.e. 360 genes, account for the differences between individuals and races, whether it be freckles, Afro hair, ginger hair or hereditary in-growing toenails. Geneticist Steve Scherer, a senior scientist at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, has said: “Based on what we now know it (the genetic difference) is probably in the 0.2 per cent range and in the end it may even be as high as one per cent.”
Within the last eight years scientists have carried out in-depth work to chart these genetic variations. One of these, Francis S. Collins, a former leader of the Human Genome Project, had to admit that “well-intentioned statements” about the biological insignificance of race may have left the wrong impression: “It is not strictly true that race or ethnicity has no biological connection.”
Again, the importance of the small genetic differences between people groups/races was suggested in a paper in 2005 by Hua Tang and other scientists on “Genetic Structure, Self-Identified Race/Ethnicity.” Hua Tang et al contended that in a study of Blacks, Caucasians, Hispanics and Asians in 12 different U.S. locations and three in Taiwan, that there are 326 genetic markers for racial differences
A variation in a single gene may explain why some people can withstand pain — or other physical or emotional stress — better than others, a team from the University of Michigan and the National Institutes of Health reported in a recent issue of Science.
If we bear in mind that the rest of the primates have virtually as many genes as humans, then it cannot be the number of genes that account for the differences between us. As Woolfson explains, the main difference between the genes of “higher” organisms, such as vertebrates, and those of “lower” organisms is that they are “smarter,” which means simply that each gene is more complex, as are the behavioural patterns it influences. As genes become smarter, the organisms they build and operate become more complex.
We also have to consider that as much as 98% of the human genome contains “junk,” which are DNA sequences that lack protein-coding genes and about which scientists still need to know much more. It is now being found that a huge amount of information lies outside genes, scattered throughout the “junk” and is responsible for the maintenance, regulation, and reprogramming of genetic processes.
Now pulling all the above information together, it can be seen, for example, that the difference between the complexity of a fly and a human can be explained not only by the extra 10,000 or so genes found in a humans, but in the number of different gene behavioral patterns each genome is capable of producing. The difference is a huge number, larger than the number of elementary particles in the known universe, according to Woolfson. This means that a relatively small variation in the number of genes between two species has the potential to generate a tremendous difference in biological complexity.
If one applies this to the 330 plus gene differences between, for example, the European and the African, it would explain the biological, physical and metaphysical differences between these two races of the common species Homo sapiens.
Several laboratory investigations carried out on behalf of the Police and/or the FBI in the USA have confirmed that genetic testing can determine a person’s exact racial profile. A classic report was that by Josh Noel, a staff writer for the Advocate News, Florida, 06/04/03. It stated:
A private genetics lab altered the hunt for the south Louisiana serial killer after telling investigators that the person they sought was a black man. For eight months the investigation had focussed on white men.
Tony Frudakis, chief executive officer of DNAPrint Genomics said that he told the task force that the serial killer was 85% Sub-Saharan and 15% Native American based on analysis of the killer’s DNA.
Eventually a Black man was arrested as his DNA matched exactly the lab’s report. Frudakis has said his company can determine a person’s ancestral past by analysing 73 DNA markers and narrowing the result to proportions in four categories: East Asian, Indo-European, Native American, and Sub-Saharan African.
The Guardian, 16/06/05, reported that a drug (BiDil) is now available in America which is aimed specifically at African-Americans to remedy heart failure. Among New Yorkers aged 45 to 54 the death rate from heart disease among black people is 55% higher than among whites. The Food & Drug Administration’s stamp of approval for the drug was being opposed by some liberals because it would “give the stamp of authority on racial biological differences.”
In an article on genetic medicines in The Times, 18/6/05, Kenan Malik said that according to the American Heart Association the death rate amongst Black Americans was five times that of Whites. Malek also pointed out that Northern Europeans are more likely to suffer from cystic fibrosis than other groups. Tay-Sachs, a fatal disease of the central nervous system, particularly affects Ashkenazi Jews. Beta-blockers appear to work less effectively for African-Americans than those of European descent.
The New Scientist, 20/1/05 reported that a length of DNA has been found in a fifth of Europeans which is very rare in Africans and non-existent in Asians. This DNA is said to be 3 million years old and can only have passed to modern Europeans in the last 50,000 years, otherwise it would be present today in all other races.
In 1992 Bo Rybeck, Director of the Swedish National Defence Research Institute, stated that: “As we became able to identify the DNA variations of different races and ethnic groups, we will be able to determine the difference between blacks and whites and Orientals and Jews and Swedes and Finns and develop an agent that will kill only a particular group.”
The Sunday Times, 15.11.1998, revealed in a report from Israel: “Israel is working on a biological weapon that would harm Arabs but not Jews, according to Israeli military and western intelligence sources. In developing their ‘ethno-bomb’, Israeli scientists are trying to exploit medical advances by identifying genes carried by some Arabs.”
A North Korean team of microbiologists are also said to be working on an ethno-bomb which would destroy white races.
Before the secrets of DNA began to be unravelled and showed clearly that there were many genetic markers indicating racial differences, ample evidence had existed but was ignored or suppressed by the Marxist-liberal intellectual “elite” and its media mouthpieces. All differences were due to environmental factors, they said. This was the standard answer to the findings of countless IQ tests over the past century which have consistently shown that Northeastern Asians (Chinese, Koreans, Japanese) have a higher IQ than Europeans, who in turn are some 15 percent above people of African origin. A broad, in-depth investigation into IQ research studies was carried out by Herrnstein and Murray, the results of which were published in The Bell Curve, 1994, and greeted in the main with abuse by those who could not challenge their findings on racial IQ differences and that it was largely genetic and hereditary.
This may be connected with the fact that the Sub-Saharan African has a brain weighing just under 1 kg, compared with 1,240 gm for Europeans and 1,300 gm for East Asians.
We are frequently told that there is a shortage of West Indian, African, and Asian blood donors in the UK and that these are urgently required, but at the same time we are told there is no difference in the ratio of the blood groups in the various racial groupings. Similarly, with kidney, heart, and other organ transplants emphasis is given to matching the race of the donor and the recipient. More recently doctors have found, to their apparent surprise, that this also applies to the success of bone marrow transplants. In Britain the media has often reported on the difficulty people living here of Asian and African stock have in finding a donor of similar ethic origin.
It has long been known that West Indians and Africans are almost exclusively susceptible to the hereditary blood characteristic, sickle cell anemia. This makes them more receptive to jaundice, pneumonia, and TB, sometimes leading to death.
The UK Prostate Cancer Charity issued a report in March 2005 that Prostate cancer among African Caribbean men is three times more prevalent than among Whites. This has been confirmed in recent UK TV programs (June 2013)
American Indians have a tendency to hypertension and high blood pressure and, like the Japanese, have a low tolerance to alcohol.
We could probably continue with another page of specific biological, physical and mental differences to support our view that all these minor differences add up to there being a substantial difference between the world’s main racial strains. However, the emphasis is on difference, not on superiority of any one race over another because it would depend on the yardstick chosen to measure superiority.
* * *
To end on a personal note, the human genome project revealed that there are some 1,400 potential illnesses/diseases carried by single gene markers, and one of them I suffer from. This is Dupuytren’s Contracture, which causes one or more fingers to bend in towards the palm; a “disease” which I shared with Margaret Thatcher. Prior to an operation my surgeon said that it only occurs among people of “North European descent” and is sometimes known as the “Scandinavian disease” or the “Viking Finger.” The highest rates of incidence world-wide are in Iceland, followed by Denmark, and in Britain, the Orkneys and Shetlands followed by the north east of England (where many of my ancestors came from). I have since had a DNA test carried out by Professor Bryan Sykes’ Oxford Ancestors Ltd which confirmed I carry a Y-chromosome recognised as being of probable Danish Viking origin.
Of course, distorted fingers are of little concern for the future of the world’s races, but distorted reporting on the genetic evidence of each race’s distinctiveness is of great concern.
1. Science, October 2003.
2. Adrian Woolfson, An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Genetics, published by Duckworth Overlook, London, 2004.
4. Sarich and Miele, Race, Basic Books, 2004.
5. David Miles, The Tribes of Britain, Oxford University Press.
6. Bryan Sykes, Blood of the Isles, Bantam Press, 2006.
7. Paper by Professor Henry Harpending, University of Utah, June 2005.
8. Nature Genetics, Autumn 2004.
9. American Journal of Human Genetics, Spring 2005.
I believe it was Carl Sagan who said, “There are as many atoms in one molecule of DNA as there are stars in a typical galaxy.”
Also, since there are about three billion base pairs of DNA, and there are four possible combinations for each base pair, there are 81,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 possible combinations for human DNA.
A 1% difference means there’s a difference of 810,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 genes.
Needless to say, there’s a lot of variation that can occur in a number that big.
Sol Invictus makes a very important point on the possible number of variations in the atoms making up our DNA. If I had known of Carl Sagan’s comment I would have incorporated it into my article as a support for the fact that just 1% determines major differences in groups and races.
Even when I was studying basic genetics, I was taught how much information is contained in a single DNA strand. If you counted the number of humans that have ever existed on Earth (106 billion is the estimate from what I’ve found), from the earliest humans to the present-day, you would still be nowhere close to the number of possible combinations that exist for human DNA.
That’s what a lot of the liberal left doesn’t understand. The number of combinations in human DNA is three billion to the fourth power. They say human populations differ by these seemingly tiny percentages (0.1%, 0.01%, etc.), but they don’t seem to realize how big the number is that they’re taking that percentage from.
This is an excellent paper, and very well-written. But there are a few tiny problems that I have to point out. First, you write that we have 25,000 genes, with 600 on each of 46 chromosomes, but multiplying 46 x 600 equals 276,000. Maybe I missed something somewhere.
Second, it’s really a strange thing, how few people know exactly what a gene is. For years I studied behavior genetics until one day, I thought to myself, “What exactly *is* a gene?!” There are all these base pairs of G, C, A & T going down a strand of DNA. And several base pairs make up an amino acid. A number of amino acids make up a protein. But where in this whole thing do we specify what a gene is?
I figured this out many years ago, but to make sure I had it right, I just now called a new friend who’s a geneticist. If I understand her correctly, the segment that makes up a protein is a gene. Is this your understanding too?
Marian: when I first compiled my paper in 2005 protein was not considered as a gene. As protein’s are basically amino acids, I would think that your geneticist friend is correct. As you say, “what exactly is a gene?”. The science surrounding this is being revealed as more complex by each new devleopment – and I am not a geneticist!
Nevertheless, the new developments over the past decade all seem to substantiate my claim that tiny differences in DNA cause substantial differences in human groups or races.
As I understand it, intelligence as measured in IQ tests exists in two forms: logic and imagination/problem solving. Where can I find information on test results for the latter? Thank you for the excellent article.
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