Tracing Our Ancestors – Rick Kittle

This lecture really had me thinking about ethnicity versus race versus our biological ancestry. Before this, I was expecting a coverage of a much more larger cladogram. I guess it just goes to show how diverse we are in our species alone. I thought it was interesting how Kittles talked about he looked and what he actually was. Personally, I indentify myself as Filipino or Asian and I basically exhibit those features. In reality, I am definitely not 100% despite both of parents being Filipino. Spanish colonialism is a major part of the history of the Philippines and now I’m just really curious to know what my percentages are! It’s no wonder that the search for one’s ancestry is number two for internet business. Potentially, a person’s genes can tell stories and histories. However, scientists and doctors are probably far more interested about nature of these stories. Kittles talked about polymorphisms and in class we talked about these are the roots of diversity within a population. Advantageous traits along with diseases  begin with that one mutation. Cures and preventions can come from inspecting how these mutations are inherited and what type of conditions promote this. In a way race can be linked to certain diseases considering where people are situated around the world. With that, Kittles mentions continental variation, a term that was completely new to me prior to the lecture. As I see it, it is adaptations as a result to the different environments. Since humanities started in Africa, 50%  of human variation is exclusive to Africa. I can imagine how difficult it must be to trace back ancestry, especially with effects of colonization.  The grouping together of African groups are not only the root of a lot of conflict within Africa, but it can potentially mess up chances of finding/researching cures for diseases since disease is in fact reflective of genetic ancestry. In biology we covered a lot of what he talked about in terms of genes, transmissions of genes, the gene pool, and convergence, but it was interesting how Kittles tied in the aspect of race and identity. Besides this idea of looking into risk for diseases, a lot of people are really curious to see what types of connections they have. Bottom-line we’re all fairly “mixed”, but what we identify with has to do a lot with the environment we are raised in (different from Darwinian biological environment, more so the prevalent values and time period).

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