Thursday, August 17, 2006
It is surprising to see MIT's superb Technology Review indulging in "Gene for" journalism. See here. "Gene for" journalism consists of stories announcing that scientists have discovered the "gene for" homosexuality, alcoholism, gambling, blogging, whatever. I thought TR would have known better. The best current thinking suggests that, except in a few rare cases, translating one gene into one condition is dubious if not entirely illogical. Genes act in complex ways both with each other and with the rest of the organism and its environment. To see one gene as producing one result is a failure of perspective. In this case, scientists have supposedly discovered the "gene for" being human in that it seems to have something to do with the evolution of the cerebral cortex. But, in fact, no. Further down we learn that "scientists don't yet know the function of the gene." Pity that.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 5:58 am