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Planet Earth

Interview with Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza in Nature

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanOctober 17, 2007 10:55 PM

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The genetic map maker. Read the whole thing, but this is interesting:

How did you feel about being accused of racism? Well, many mistakes are made and that was a very curious one. I'd argued for decades that the concept of 'race' defined by external characteristics -- such as skin colour, size variations or facial fat -- is nonsense. These visible characteristics evolved under natural selection, mostly to cope with local environments, and have no deeper base. [my emphasis -r]

Hm. That's interesting. In his magisterial The History and Geography of Human Genes Cavalli-Sforza sketched out the phylogeny of our species. Here he is pointing out that many salient physical features are overlain on top of genealogical substratum. I've made this point recently myself, but as usual Cavalli-Sforza has anticipated me! Here is my interview with Cavalli-Sforza from last year.

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