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Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: phantomFive] #2311182
08/04/14 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by phantomFive

In other words, you don't know of any research.....you noticed that some kids learn faster at chess than others, and jumped to the conclusion that (of all possible reasons for this) it was genetics that caused their different learning speed? Is that really what you are trying to say?

People use genetics an excuse, for example, "I wasn't able to succeed teaching this kid, but I taught the other kid, so it must be because of genetics, not because I am a bad teacher." It's kind of a defense mechanism people use. Unfortunately, it also prevents them from reaching their full potential, either as a teacher or a student.

How does one prove that there are genetic traits that confer some people an advantage in playing chess, or playing the piano? By isolating the gene(s) for chess and for music (assuming they aren't the same)?

To my knowledge the Human Genome Project (that's been running for several years now) hasn't yet found the 'height' gene, but would you deny that there is a genetic trait for being tall - wouldn't you expect a child of tall parents to be tall? Or would you deny that's genetic, because nobody can show you the 'tall gene'? And you'd accuse someone who expects a child of tall parents to be also tall of 'jumping to conclusions'? And children of sporty parents to also be sporty - and excel in similar sports?

No, there's no 'proof' - and it's impossible to prove. I'm pretty sure there has been plenty of research on this but they don't constitute proof. (Frankly, I can't be bothered to look them up because I don't have Googling skills, which I'm sure is inherited.... wink ).

BTW, every teacher knows there are 'bright' children and not-so-bright ones. What excuse is there for a teacher who doesn't know how to teach? I really don't know why you're bringing them into this.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: phantomFive] #2311184
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Originally Posted by phantomFive
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Originally Posted by phantomFive


I'm really interested in your ideas about chess, because it seems counter-intuitive: top chess grandmasters come from a diverse genetic background (India, Russia, Norway, Israel....).
Duh, isn't that racist?

No, because genetics isn't the limiting factor in becoming a top level chess player.

Seems to me you're attempting to justify an almost-racist statement there - you should be more careful......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: bennevis] #2311199
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by phantomFive

In other words, you don't know of any research.....you noticed that some kids learn faster at chess than others, and jumped to the conclusion that (of all possible reasons for this) it was genetics that caused their different learning speed? Is that really what you are trying to say?

People use genetics an excuse, for example, "I wasn't able to succeed teaching this kid, but I taught the other kid, so it must be because of genetics, not because I am a bad teacher." It's kind of a defense mechanism people use. Unfortunately, it also prevents them from reaching their full potential, either as a teacher or a student.

How does one prove that there're genetic traits that confer some people an advantage in playing chess, or playing the piano? By isolating the gene(s) for chess and for music (assuming they aren't the same)?

Doing this is known as science, but you can start with identifying an actual trait.

The original article at the beginning of this conversation did exactly that, by identifying "inclination to practice" as a trait, and then doing some preliminary research to find out if that had a genetic component or not.


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Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: phantomFive] #2311206
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Originally Posted by phantomFive
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Originally Posted by phantomFive


I'm really interested in your ideas about chess, because it seems counter-intuitive: top chess grandmasters come from a diverse genetic background (India, Russia, Norway, Israel....).
Duh, isn't that racist?

No, because genetics isn't the limiting factor in becoming a top level chess player.
No, that different nationalities have distinct genes affecting cognitive functions. Either that or what you're saying goes without saying.

Last edited by chopin_r_us; 08/04/14 08:35 PM.
Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: phantomFive] #2311209
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Originally Posted by phantomFive

Doing this is known as science, but you can start with identifying an actual trait.

The original article at the beginning of this conversation did exactly that, by identifying "inclination to practice" as a trait, and then doing some preliminary research to find out if that had a genetic component or not.

I think you're getting confused - the article did exactly what I did in attempting to show that there is a genetic component to various 'attributes'. Except of course, I'm basing everything on my own personal experience and observations.

There was no real 'science' as you so carelessly define it - nobody actually checked to see whether the hours logged practicing were accurate, just an assumption that if hours were logged, 'the estimates were presumably more reliable' than simple self-reporting (which was even more carelessly taken as the truth by Ericsson). How did they come to the conclusion that 'inclination to practice' is a genetic trait? The same way I came to mine, about blindfold chess, and ability at chess - and music.........

It seems to me in your many posts that you're pursuing some form of egalitarian agenda, picking and choosing bits that suit you and ignoring others that are staring you in the face.

Do you really find it so difficult to accept that people are just born different, and excel at different things, because of their genetic make-up?



"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: bennevis] #2311216
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by phantomFive

Doing this is known as science, but you can start with identifying an actual trait.

The original article at the beginning of this conversation did exactly that, by identifying "inclination to practice" as a trait, and then doing some preliminary research to find out if that had a genetic component or not.

I'm basing everything on my own personal experience.


I can tell.


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Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: phantomFive] #2311263
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Originally Posted by phantomFive


People use genetics an excuse, for example, "I wasn't able to succeed teaching this kid, but I taught the other kid, so it must be because of genetics, not because I am a bad teacher." It's kind of a defense mechanism people use. Unfortunately, it also prevents them from reaching their full potential, either as a teacher or a student.


I agree, some people do. But some people being ignorant doesn't change the facts. After one really starts understanding genetics in theory and see it work in practice, it becomes obvious how important role the genes have. It would be impossible for me to ignore genetics in the complex system of human behavior and learning while still appreciating the importance of the environmental factors.

I think the biggest mistake people do is they consider the physical traits in humans somehow inherently different than the "mental" traits and see those two as something separate. They are not, they are part of the same system that is developed and maintained by a complex interaction of genetic material and the environment. So just as the genes determine your eye colour, they partly determine how you will interact with the environment straight from the birth. While there are almost infinite number of possible outcomes from this interaction, there are also a number of impossible outcomes, no matter what the environment.

Last edited by outo; 08/05/14 12:27 AM.
Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: outo] #2311771
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Originally Posted by outo
Originally Posted by phantomFive


People use genetics an excuse, for example, "I wasn't able to succeed teaching this kid, but I taught the other kid, so it must be because of genetics, not because I am a bad teacher." It's kind of a defense mechanism people use. Unfortunately, it also prevents them from reaching their full potential, either as a teacher or a student.


I agree, some people do. But some people being ignorant doesn't change the facts. After one really starts understanding genetics in theory and see it work in practice, it becomes obvious how important role the genes have. It would be impossible for me to ignore genetics in the complex system of human behavior and learning while still appreciating the importance of the environmental factors.

I think the biggest mistake people do is they consider the physical traits in humans somehow inherently different than the "mental" traits and see those two as something separate. They are not, they are part of the same system that is developed and maintained by a complex interaction of genetic material and the environment. So just as the genes determine your eye colour, they partly determine how you will interact with the environment straight from the birth. While there are almost infinite number of possible outcomes from this interaction, there are also a number of impossible outcomes, no matter what the environment.


It seems like you are sincere, so I will answer......maybe you are right.

What you have there is a hypothesis. The next step, if you'd like to progress further in your hypothesis, is to suggest what trait (since genes correspond to traits) you think limits a persons ability to play the piano. Then that hypothesis can be tested.

There are so many possible reasons that one person excels in piano and another doesn't, that to fixate on a single one, especially without examining it scientifically, is silly. Not only is it silly, but it won't help your piano progress, and can even impair it.


Poetry is rhythm
Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: phantomFive] #2311780
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Originally Posted by phantomFive

The next step, if you'd like to progress further in your hypothesis, is to suggest what trait (since genes correspond to traits) you think limits a persons ability to play the piano. Then that hypothesis can be tested.

No, that is not the next step. These things have already been discovered (psychomotor speed, working-memory function, etc.)

This is what happens when you don't do your research; you end up not knowing you've been wrong this whole time.


"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
R. W. Emerson
Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: Atrys] #2311785
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Originally Posted by Atrys
Originally Posted by phantomFive

The next step, if you'd like to progress further in your hypothesis, is to suggest what trait (since genes correspond to traits) you think limits a persons ability to play the piano. Then that hypothesis can be tested.

No, that is not the next step. These things have already been discovered (psychomotor speed, working-memory function, etc.)

This is what happens when you don't do your research; you end up not knowing you've been wrong this whole time.

Fortunately, psychomotor speed and working-memory function is actually not very difficult once you discover (sometimes by stumbling on it) how to do it.


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Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: phantomFive] #2311786
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Originally Posted by phantomFive

Fortunately, psychomotor speed and working-memory function is actually not very difficult once you discover (sometimes by stumbling on it) how to do it.

This isn't even grammatically correct.

You do not "do" psychomotor speed or working-memory.

These things are bounded by genes anyways.

Last edited by Atrys; 08/06/14 12:29 AM.

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Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: Atrys] #2311790
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Originally Posted by Atrys
Originally Posted by phantomFive

Fortunately, psychomotor speed and working-memory function is actually not very difficult once you discover (sometimes by stumbling on it) how to do it.

This isn't even grammatically correct.

I was quoting someone.


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Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: phantomFive] #2311793
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Originally Posted by phantomFive

I was quoting someone.

You switched out terms to try and look clever, but the result was a statement that is both untrue and grammatically unsound.

Nice defense ha


"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
R. W. Emerson
Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: Atrys] #2311795
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Originally Posted by Atrys
Originally Posted by phantomFive

I was quoting someone.

You switched out terms to try and look clever, but the result was a statement that is both untrue and grammatically unsound.

Nice defense ha

smile


Poetry is rhythm
Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: phantomFive] #2311800
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Originally Posted by phantomFive
Originally Posted by outo
Originally Posted by phantomFive


People use genetics an excuse, for example, "I wasn't able to succeed teaching this kid, but I taught the other kid, so it must be because of genetics, not because I am a bad teacher." It's kind of a defense mechanism people use. Unfortunately, it also prevents them from reaching their full potential, either as a teacher or a student.


I agree, some people do. But some people being ignorant doesn't change the facts. After one really starts understanding genetics in theory and see it work in practice, it becomes obvious how important role the genes have. It would be impossible for me to ignore genetics in the complex system of human behavior and learning while still appreciating the importance of the environmental factors.

I think the biggest mistake people do is they consider the physical traits in humans somehow inherently different than the "mental" traits and see those two as something separate. They are not, they are part of the same system that is developed and maintained by a complex interaction of genetic material and the environment. So just as the genes determine your eye colour, they partly determine how you will interact with the environment straight from the birth. While there are almost infinite number of possible outcomes from this interaction, there are also a number of impossible outcomes, no matter what the environment.


It seems like you are sincere, so I will answer......maybe you are right.

What you have there is a hypothesis. The next step, if you'd like to progress further in your hypothesis, is to suggest what trait (since genes correspond to traits) you think limits a persons ability to play the piano. Then that hypothesis can be tested.

There are so many possible reasons that one person excels in piano and another doesn't, that to fixate on a single one, especially without examining it scientifically, is silly. Not only is it silly, but it won't help your piano progress, and can even impair it.


Yes, I am completely sincere and I really do not enjoy arguments for their own sake, I just like to bring out views I feel are neglected in conversations smile

What I wrote is based on a lot of research literature on genetics, learning, especially learning differences and difficulties, and psychology. There's still so much we do not know that anything you say is basically just an educated guess. But I think mine is educated enough for me to stand by it with firm legs smile

I haven't really talked to a scientist yet who would completely disagree on the general idea (but I am sure there are some), it's only about what they like to focus on. There is no single one trait that affects playing the piano, but there are countless that do on various levels starting from the shape of your fingers. Learning piano is not so completely different from any other learning that we couldn't use some of the information we have from other studies to better understand it.

What do you mean by fixating on a single trait, I never suggested that? In the best scenario one does understand where one's personal weaknesses are, one has or tries to look for suitable tools to work on those EVEN when understanding that it may not be possible to COMPLETELY erase their effect. And sometimes one needs to look for ways to COMPENSATE those weaknesses. This scenario does not include working less or in a sloppy way because one "has bad genes", but nor does it mean that one thinks "ANYTHING is possible if I just try enough". Rather "A LOT is possible if I work the right way and that might be a lot more than what I think NOW".

I admit there may indeed be someone who does benefit from grandous ideas of becoming the next Horowitch after starting at 30, but the majority would soon be discouraged by reality...

Does this make it any clearer?

Why is it even important? Because ignoring the effects of individual traits on learning will not help those who struggle at all, rather we make them think that it's completely a problem of their WILL if what works for the next guy doesn't work for them no matter how hard they try. That is a good way to kill all motivation and make people quit.

Last edited by outo; 08/06/14 01:28 AM.
Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: pianoloverus] #2311916
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Isn't 'psychomotor' casting the net rather wide? Are there genetic motor functions that effect moderate versus high level skill at piano? I can't think of any.

Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: chopin_r_us] #2311933
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us

Are there genetic motor functions that effect moderate versus high level skill at piano?

Motor function is bounded by genes (starting point, speed and methods of acquisition, and highest level of proficiency). Although it is a "wide net", it still completely encompasses piano play.


"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
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Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: Atrys] #2311942
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Originally Posted by Atrys
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us

Are there genetic motor functions that effect moderate versus high level skill at piano?

Motor function is bounded by genes (starting point, speed and methods of acquisition, and highest level of proficiency). Although it is a "wide net", it still completely encompasses piano play.
but when it comes to motor function, outside of pychology, we are all genetically alike - at least as far as moderate/higher level piano playing.

Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: chopin_r_us] #2311943
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us

but when it comes to motor function, outside of pychology, we are all genetically alike - at least as far as moderate/higher level piano playing.

Yes, we are genetically alike up to a certain resolution of the human genome.

At finer granularity, we are obviously different: eye color, height, hair color, etc.

There is no magical separation that makes the brain "unsubject" to innate, genetic traits in the same way that the rest of our bodies are determined by genes. Our entire lives are bounded by genes, brain and mind included.


"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
R. W. Emerson
Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: pianoloverus] #2311961
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Originally Posted by Atrys


At finer granularity, we are obviously different: eye color, height, hair color, etc.

but not on the level of motor function required for moderate/advanced piano playing as far as I'm aware. So it has no place in this discusion.

Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: chopin_r_us] #2311967
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us

but not motor function as far as I'm aware.

That right there is the problem. Again, motor function is a property of the CNS which is bounded by genes.

Go do your homework.


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Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: pianoloverus] #2311969
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Motor function is about signals sent down nerves - there are physical laws dictating that which genes have no control over. There is myelination. That's about it. Enough of the rudeness please.

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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us

Motor function is about signals sent down nerves - there are physical laws dictating that which genes have no control over.

No, motor function is a function of the CNS which at the lowest level is a function of physical laws. If you sum physical laws from the lowest level upward, you will end up with motor function. Although these physical laws are identical for each of us, the genes that determine the emergent properties are unique to the individual.

We are bounded in every way by our genes.

You're grossly misunderstanding this material.


"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
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Buddy, you can measure how long it takes for a message to travel down your arm. For all intents and purposes it's constant.

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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Buddy, you can measure how long it takes for a message to travel down your arm. For all intents and purposes it's constant.

Of course! That has absolutely nothing to do with anything at all.


"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
R. W. Emerson
Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: pianoloverus] #2312020
08/06/14 04:02 PM
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Quite right, it's motor function.

Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: chopin_r_us] #2312024
08/06/14 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Quite right, it's motor function.

No, it's not. It's the transmission of motor function, which is still subject to genes.

You really never did your homework in high school.


"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
R. W. Emerson
Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: pianoloverus] #2312039
08/06/14 04:45 PM
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We can all insult. So long buddy.

Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: Atrys] #2312042
08/06/14 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Atrys

We are bounded in every way by our genes.

You're grossly misunderstanding this material.


Not necessarily the case. A lovely example, published in 2002 in Nature by Shin, T. et al showed a cat, CC (apparently short for Copy Cat!), that was cloned (from Rainbow) where the colour of the CC's coat was not a copy of its genome donor's. They are quite different in appearance.

Quote
[...] this is because the pattern of pigmentation in multicoloured animals is the result not only of genetic factors but also of developmental factors that are not controlled by genotype.


This does not actually go contrary to the original paper the news article was reporting. Having seen examples of shoddy reporting in the past, I went right to the original paper by Hambrick, D. et al in the Psychon. Bull. Rev.. An interesting read, certainly more informative than the news article.

To quote from their abstract:

Quote
[We] found evidence for gene-environment interaction, such that genetic effects on music accomplishment were most pronounced among those engaging in music practice, suggesting that genetic potentials for skilled performance are most fully expressed and fostered by practice. [emphasis added]


This to me suggests that other factors, such as practice also come into play. One my be genetically predisposed to be a good musician, but you must be properly nurtured to fully exploit that predisposition. But then humans are quite good at overcoming limitations be they genetic or physical, so to say that "genes may be key to great musicians" as the headline says, seems to me a bit of an exaggeration. While "good genes" (I use that term loosely) might be of benefit, even this paper would suggest it is not like the keystone of an arch, where if you remove it, everything goes tumbling down.

Interesting to note that the paper uses data form the National Merit Twin Study that looked at 850 same-sex twin pairs in 1962!!. They went through previous surveys for their data using self reported data though "there was evidence for their validity". Questionable data in my opinion, but to the authors credit they acknowledge this limitation, stating "[their] measures of both accomplishment and practice were fairly coarse" and that more research is needed to better quantify practice and degree of musical achievement as well as recognizing that accomplishment dose not necessarily correlate to skill.

They conclude with:

Quote
Although participants in the NMTS were likely to be a positively selected group of high-achieving students, they were not specifically selected to contain world-class music experts. Thus, the degree to which the present results would generalize to the highest levels of performance is unknown. Future genetically informative research on a special population of professional musicians would be necessary to understand the interplay between genetics, practice, and exceptional music performance.


As I said, an interesting paper, which at best suggests there MAY be some correlation with musicianship and genetics and that if there is, it is a combination of genetics and the environment. But as the authors themselves write, the application of the results to what we would consider "great musicians" is questionable.

Surprisingly to me, the news article is not too bad. I have certainly read worse where the conclusions the article draws is literally contrary to the research it references. But it does seem to paint this research as "perfect" without at all addressing its limitations. Thankfully Hambrick and his team know better and discuss in detail limits to their results. A good example of why I take scientific claims in the news with multiple handfuls of salt.

UGH...this ended up being a bit long... frown

For those interested here are the journal articles. You may or may not be able to get at the full version as they are often by subscription (which my workplace has). I won't bother listing all the authors...too many.

(1) Shin, T, et al., Cell biology: A cat cloned by nuclear transplantation, Nature 415, 2002, p 859.

(2) Hambrick, D. et al. The genetics of music accomplishment: Evidence for gene-environment correlation and interaction, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 20, 2014.

Re: Genes may be key to great musicians [Re: MALDI_ToF] #2312053
08/06/14 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by MALDI_ToF

Not necessarily the case. A lovely example, published in 2002 in Nature by Shin, T. et al showed a cat, CC (apparently short for Copy Cat!), that was cloned (from Rainbow) where the colour of the CC's coat was not a copy of its genome donor's. They are quite different in appearance.


Originally Posted by Shin, T. et a

As with other genetically identical animals with multicoloured coats, the cloned kitten's colour patterning is not exactly the same as that of the nuclear donor this is because the pattern of pigmentation in multicoloured animals is the result not only of genetic factors but also of developmental factors that are not controlled by genotype.


Yes, this is an example of something that is not controlled directly by the genotype, but this is not what I'm arguing.

I'm saying that even things that do not contain a definition in the genotype are still bounded by genes at higher resolutions than are totally understood. No human is ever going to grow angel-like wings from his back if he "practices" it enough; our genes do not allow for this.

Again, we are bounded by our genes.


"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
R. W. Emerson
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