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Author Topic:   The Nature Of Traits
mike the wiz
Member
Posts: 4721
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 1 of 11 (143152)
09-18-2004 11:27 PM


Is a trait just a genetic advantage ?, in that - a useful trait originating from ones genes will give the required advantage for survival. Example; Can a person be born "athletic", or more built for running = inherited trait.

Or, if one works hard on his running - and sheds wait becoming faster and faster, has he gained a trait? Will his efforts be called a "trait" if he survives a lion attack but his protuberant friend doesn't? Or can it only qualify as a trait if it can be passed on genetically?

Is it more complicated in that because he has the ability to shed wait, and the will power to get "faster", his offspring might also have an ability to shed weight and "work hard" - So, can it still be regarded as a trait?

Or, is it simply a culmination of fitness/stamina ?, a light body, or whatever, and simply not labelled a trait, because of the possibility that you can't inherit the ability to shed weight etc. as "will power" isn't necessarily inherited - but rather a motivational and random occurence acting on particular circumstances in which an individual might find him/herself in.

Now, obviously a long-legged person whom is tall is genetically that way, but are there traits that are unique and are a culmination of characteristics yet cannot necessarily be passed on? This is bothering me.

{Sorry, topic got lost for a while. Topic now promoted from "Proposed New Topics" - Adminnemooseus}

This message has been edited by Adminnemooseus, 09-18-2004 10:26 PM


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by NosyNed, posted 09-19-2004 1:11 AM mike the wiz has taken no action
 Message 3 by Coragyps, posted 09-19-2004 12:07 PM mike the wiz has taken no action
 Message 9 by Loudmouth, posted 09-20-2004 6:18 PM mike the wiz has replied

  
NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8971
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 2 of 11 (143164)
09-19-2004 1:11 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by mike the wiz
09-18-2004 11:27 PM


Needs a geneticist but...
I think there is a problem with this. There isn't any, that I know of, good clear definition of trait. It is, AFAIK, used loosely. It seems to be about equivalent to allele or phenotype derived from a particular allele. At least in genetic circles. Anyone who knows want to comment?

a "trait" clearly doesn't have to be an advantage or disadvantage it is just some particular inheritable characteristic of someone.

And,yes, one clearly can be born better for running in a number of ways. I think that would be at too gross a level to fit what I think "trait" means. Lance Armstrongs "trait" of long thighs which happen to be advantages for cycling might be what we mean by trait.

I think you are tangleing up too many different ideas under one heading. But then I'm making up this whole post out of thin air.


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Coragyps
Member (Idle past 8 days)
Posts: 5553
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002


Message 3 of 11 (143195)
09-19-2004 12:07 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by mike the wiz
09-18-2004 11:27 PM


Interesting that you use runners as an example, Mike. There's an article in Science, vol 305, p 637 (30 July 2004) - it may be free access at www.sciencemag.org - about almost exactly what you're asking. It seems that Kenyans, particularly Kenyans who are from the Kalenjin ethnic group, are phenomonally good distance runners. In all world-class races of 800 meters to marathons, Kenyan men had 55% of all the top twenty performances in 2003. Part of this ability appears to be from heritable traits - Kalenjin tend to have "bird legs" - slender calves but strong thigh muscles, and have an odd enzyne that lets them burd fatty acids more efficiently that most people. And they're little guys, too - few linebackers come from Kenya.

West Africans are almost as dominant in the sprints as Kenyans are in distance events, and the article talks about what little is known about the genetics of this ability. It's apparently an area of active research, with possibly some sidetracks, at least here in the US, for "political correctness" concerns.


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mike the wiz
Member
Posts: 4721
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 4 of 11 (143340)
09-20-2004 12:08 PM


Thanks to Coragyps and Ned.

NosyNed writes:

Lance Armstrongs "trait" of long thighs which happen to be advantages for cycling might be what we mean by trait.

Haha, I wish I had that trait..which got me thinking, will his kids then have this trait if it helped them to survive? Let us pretend fast cycling would help survive for example, would his offspring necessarily have the trat? Just a thought anyway.

As for the Kenyans, Coragyps - " - slender calves but strong thigh muscles, and have an odd enzyne that lets them burd fatty acids more efficiently that most people."

- I suppose that's a good eaxample then, of something specific, which they obviously inherit. Thanks.


Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by coffee_addict, posted 09-20-2004 4:38 PM mike the wiz has replied

  
coffee_addict
Member
Posts: 3645
From: Indianapolis, IN
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 5 of 11 (143378)
09-20-2004 4:38 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by mike the wiz
09-20-2004 12:08 PM


mtw writes:

Haha, I wish I had that trait..which got me thinking, will his kids then have this trait if it helped them to survive? Let us pretend fast cycling would help survive for example, would his offspring necessarily have the trat? Just a thought anyway.


It depends if the allele responsible for the trait is dominant or recessive. But yes, if a dictator rises and wants to castrate everyone that doesn't have long thighs, then the children that happen to inherit this trait will survive.


The Laminator

B ULLS HIT

For goodness's sake, please vote Democrat this November!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by mike the wiz, posted 09-20-2004 12:08 PM mike the wiz has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by Rei, posted 09-20-2004 5:20 PM coffee_addict has taken no action
 Message 7 by mike the wiz, posted 09-20-2004 6:00 PM coffee_addict has replied

  
Rei
Member (Idle past 6287 days)
Posts: 1546
From: Iowa City, IA
Joined: 09-03-2003


Message 6 of 11 (143408)
09-20-2004 5:20 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by coffee_addict
09-20-2004 4:38 PM


Off topic, Darth Mal, but your sig made me curious. I wondered, "What words could provide the letters that you inserted into Bush's name, with the same spacing?" A dictionary search revealed the following that would fit:

BU..SH..
     illegitimate
     illicit
     illicitly

This message has been edited by Rei, 09-20-2004 04:23 PM


"Illuminant light,
illuminate me."

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mike the wiz
Member
Posts: 4721
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 7 of 11 (143434)
09-20-2004 6:00 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by coffee_addict
09-20-2004 4:38 PM


Is this natural election? (oof - awful pun)

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 Message 5 by coffee_addict, posted 09-20-2004 4:38 PM coffee_addict has replied

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coffee_addict
Member
Posts: 3645
From: Indianapolis, IN
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 8 of 11 (143444)
09-20-2004 6:14 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by mike the wiz
09-20-2004 6:00 PM


Hahaha. I'd call that a tragedy.


The Laminator

B ULLS HIT

For goodness's sake, please vote Democrat this November!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by mike the wiz, posted 09-20-2004 6:00 PM mike the wiz has taken no action

  
Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 11 (143451)
09-20-2004 6:18 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by mike the wiz
09-18-2004 11:27 PM


quote:
Is a trait just a genetic advantage ?

Strictly speaking, yes. Most define them as heritable traits, if that is what you are speaking of.

Also, traits can give you the propensity for that phenotype. That is, if two people are given the same amount of training one will do better because of a certain physical trait that is heritable. This trait can be masked by other factors, such as a diet of fish and chips washed down with heavy ale and a lack of exercise. Using other examples, a white european who trained every day could outrun a Kenyan who had never trained.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by mike the wiz, posted 09-18-2004 11:27 PM mike the wiz has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by mike the wiz, posted 09-20-2004 6:34 PM Loudmouth has replied

  
mike the wiz
Member
Posts: 4721
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 10 of 11 (143463)
09-20-2004 6:34 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Loudmouth
09-20-2004 6:18 PM


Cheers baba. I think that answers everything, I feel kinda silly for asking now. - u make it sound obvious;

Using other examples, a white lazy mike the wiz european who, if he trained every day could outrun a Kenyan who had never trained.

aaah. So even if a guy was on a fatty diet, you're saying that if he became fit, he would uncover the trait.

Will the guy with the trait always do better, or can willpower outdo traitpower?

This message has been edited by mike the wiz, 09-20-2004 05:35 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Loudmouth, posted 09-20-2004 6:18 PM Loudmouth has replied

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Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 11 (143467)
09-20-2004 6:51 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by mike the wiz
09-20-2004 6:34 PM


quote:
Will the guy with the trait always do better, or can willpower outdo traitpower?

I think willpower has to do more with "training" than the trait itself. That is, if given even willpower the one with the better trait in a certain area will do better. Also, there are more factors that go into making a good long distance runner besides superior metabolism and physical makeup. There is also technique, strategy, fortitude, etc. So I guess in a way, yes, willpower (loosely defined) can allow someone to outperform someone with superior physical traits. Maybe this is why humans enjoy rooting for the underdog, in that it gives us a reason to think that we can also perform spectacular physical feats and overcome our physical frailties through our will to win. Traits give us the tools, and the better we put those tools to use the better we will do. And the better tools that we are given . . . I think you get the idea.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by mike the wiz, posted 09-20-2004 6:34 PM mike the wiz has taken no action

  
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