Genetic Selection

September 7, 2007

Note: This post may be offensive to certain readers. In particular red headed readers, and their friends and families, this post is not for you.

The Gingers. You may have seen them in your classes, walking down the street, or worked with them. Innocuous enough in their demeanor, it is the dangerously bright orange hair and extreme amount of freckles on the whitest of skin that would have tipped you off. They are different. Some propose that hair color is tied to personality and behavior only in the sense that you may have been treated differently growing up and that affects who you are as a person. Some believe there is a more sinister aspect to the Gingers. They are a group of zombie like creatures out to destroy society (admittedly this view has only been expressed on South Park).

But as a new article in National Geographic reports, they are an endangered species. Less than 2% of the world has red hair and it is decreasing. Because the recessive trait is more likely to be inherited in situations where both parents carry the allele, it has become rarer for two gingers to end up together and make more ginger babies. The article reports, if for some unforeseeable reason, you wanted to have a ginger baby the best shot is to breed with a Scottish or Irish person. There is some disagreement between scientists about when or if the trait could be eliminated. Predictions based on the current rate of change indicate that it could happen within 100 years. But other scientists believe that the wide geographic distribution would make the complete elimination almost impossible. Let’s hope they are wrong. Ginger children scare me tremendously.

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On a Lighter Note:

September 6, 2007

Following my negative post this morning on the ridiculous Fred Thompson, I figured we needed a lighter afternoon post.

The topic is ketchup. Ketchup (other acceptable names: catsup, red sauce, or tomato sauce) is a tomato based condiment as I image most of you already know. My Pittsburgh reader will immediately think of Heinz, but I assure you the contents of this post apply to all ketchups (yes, there are other brands; they’re just not as good). I learned something about ketchup today in pharmacy school. No we didn’t discuss the antioxidant properties of the sauce or any other potential source of benefit. My “Infectious Disease Management” professor enlightened us to the additional protein source in ketchup, all the bugs. My gut reaction was “not my ketchup, I buy Heinz not the cheap crap”. Apparently because of the large quantity of tomatoes needed, there are microorganisms and insects that find their way into the crates. The US government understands the plight of ketchup producers, and as such allows bugs in ketchup, provided the number is within an “acceptable range”. I came home and directly checked out the USDA site and other ketchup processing links. I am now going to share my discovery with you.

According to current, USDA Grade Standards, Grade 1 Ketchup must contain no more than 30 fruit fly eggs per 100 grams. The classic glass bottle featured in the Heinz sign could hold up to 115 fruit fly eggs. EAT UP!

For all you cat lovers, my sister sent me this video yesterday; it looks/acts just like her cat Merlin.