GENETICS IS WHY IÕM STUPID
This is the age of placing blame on others for our shortcomings. If we have a neurosis, it is because of the way we were raised. If we commit a crime, it is because we are a product of our environment or because we had temporary insanity. If we smoke or use drugs, we blame it on peer pressure. If we are violent, it's because our mothers didn't love us. So I'm blaming my problems on genetics.
I didn't know I was stupid until I decided to investigate my heritage. There are a number of services now that will take your $200 - $900 payment, send you a cheek scraper and then analyze your DNA and tell you lots of things about your heritage and DNA that you won't understand. At least I don't understand. I tried to understand.
Depending on how much money you sent them, their DNA analysis will provide you with Y-DNA matches, Haplogroup information, Y-DNA DYS values, and mtDNA Matches. To provide clarification for things like FTDNA DYS markers, the following chart shows you a sample, with the note that they "provide the actual scientific Allele values and DYS #'s for your results." Thank goodness for that.
*Also known as DYS 394
In case you might be confused by this, they provide other charts and graphs, like the one below, to clarify it.
All this help in understanding Genetics made me feel stupid, so I decided to try and overcome my ignorance by reading up on what is going on in the field of genetics. I noted that the head of one DNA analysis service has organized a three-day AAPA conference, so I decided to see what that was all about - not having any idea what AAPA means other it probably has something to do with genetics.
There are approximately 570 scholarly papers planned for this three-day conference in a number of different sessions. Papers with titles like "Ontogeny and functional histology of the first ethmoturbinal in strepsirrhines" were not helpful. I did recognize that the paper, "Electromyography of peroneus longus in Varecia variegata and Eulemur rubriventor helps in grasping primate origins" had something to do with apes. But I wasn't interested in apes other than to look at them. I did own a golden spider monkey for 18 years. She didn't need any help in grasping, and I wasn't interested in her peroneus longus. Technically she wasn't an ape, so she might not have had a peroneus longus, but she did qualify as a primate.
I did wonder about the people giving these papers. Are they strange or is it just me? Do these folks ever shop at WalMart or eat at McDonalds? What do they do for fun? Would they be able to explain to me what a Worldwide Y SNP test is to the point where I would be willing to pay $219 for it?
Googling "AAPA" didn't help me learn what it means. There are hundreds of AAPA's out there – everything from the Alabama Asphalt Pavement Association to the American Art Pottery Association. And they all have web sites. After looking through many of them I decided that the AAPA in question must be the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. This suggests the possibility that 'non-physical' anthropologists exist. Or perhaps 'theoretical' anthropologists. Either way, I'd rather not know about them. I feel stupid enough as it is.