Monday, October 6, 2014

The cost of N=1

As if the marriage failure rate for women with moderate sexual experience weren't bad enough, now genetic science has revived the possibility that merely being a non-virgin may be sufficient to taint a woman's subsequent genetic line with her first lover's DNA:
Telegony is the belief that the sire first mated to a female will have an influence upon some of that female's later offspring by another male. Although the reality of telegony was acknowledged by such authorities as Darwin, Spencer, Romanes and many experienced breeders, it has been met with scepticism because of Weismann's unfavourable comments and negative results obtained in several test experiments. In this article, alleged cases of telegony are provided. A search of the literature of cell biology and biochemistry reveals several plausible mechanisms that may form the basis for telegony. These involve the penetration of spermatozoa into the somatic tissues of the female genital tract, the incorporation of the DNA released by spermatozoa into maternal somatic cells, the presence of foetal DNA in maternal blood, as well as sperm RNA-mediated non-Mendelian inheritance of epigenetic changes.
This could have severe societal repercussions if telegony turns out to have a solid basis in genetic science. It should be fairly easy to confirm too, by comparing the DNA of a woman's children to that of the man to whom she lost her virginity but was not the father of her children. It would certainly renew the value of a woman's virginity.

I suspect there will be tremendous pressure to not explore these hypotheses due to those potential repercussions, but the concept is too fundamentally interesting and important to remain unexplored for long.

55 comments:

GF Dad said...

Is there any reason to think the effects are limited to the "first sire mated"? I'm just wondering what sort of genetic soup carousel riders must be creating.

finndistan said...

I was thinking the same thing. What are the effects of a caroussel? Especially a raw one.

"But my past choices are my choices, except your kids are actually the genetic soup of you and everyone before you"

"Virginity prevents Diversity"

Cataline Sergius said...

Sperm doesn't have that great a shelf life but individual proteins can linger for long damn time.

Possible, if just barely, that it could initiate RNA transcription with the resulting cascade effect of turning on a whole suite of genes.

Fun fact; we have no idea what forty percent of the human genome is supposed to do. It's basically left over junk collectively called genetic dark matter.

And it just gave me a story idea. I gotta make a few notes. Back later.

GF Dad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brad Andrews said...

Shouldn't the title be "The Cost of N>1"?

GF Dad said...

I think there's more to consider regarding short lived sperm being the "only" genetic carrier. It's my understanding that "the pill" doesn't prevent conception, but it prevents implantation in the uteran wall. So carousel riders could have had dozens of zygotes formed and passed out of the body during menstruation. Anything about the genetic implications of this would strictly be conjecture, but it is something to consider even though I doubt any research will be done on this. The potential of upsetting the current paradigms are too great to allow this to be pursued.
Regarding so-called junk DNA, a few years ago, I read that there was research being done into junk DNA that showed that the junk was actually being used as part of an error correcting code, like parity bits, but much more complex. I don't know if anything ever came of this or not, but if it did turn out to be the case, it would be even more difficult to believe that DNA was an accident of the primordial soup.

APL said...

"I don't know if anything ever came of this or not, but if it did turn out to be the case, it would be even more difficult to believe that DNA was an accident of the primordial soup."

We are at the end of a highly unlikely train of events, including the extinction of a group of predators that had been dominant on the planet for more than a million years.

Looking back and saying 'we are here' it must have been planned, implies a high degree of confirmation bias.

de ti said...

If this is true, and nonvirginity taints a woman's genetic line with her first lover's DNA, then that certainly furnishes a scientific, physiological basis for:

1. Female bonding
2. Alpha widowhood
3. The inability/unwillingness of high N women to bond to husbands
4. The inability/unwillingness of high N women to forge attraction for men who might actually be willing to commit to them


But it will never be explored or researched, because, as others pointed out, there are too many people and entrenched interests invested in the current narrative that premarital sex isn't harmful so long as the man has provided "commitment" and demonstrated "emotional accountability".

de ti said...

I almost forgot: And has "social intelligence".

GF Dad said...

@ATI - confirmation bias cuts both ways. If you think you arose from primal goo, then of course, you will leap through whatever mathematical hoops you have to in order to demostrate that chance, no matter how unlikely, was the only way you got here. Hail Fortuna.

de ti said...

GFDad:

Yeah, it's theorized that something happens to a woman's DNA when she has had multiple sex partners. Even if she's not getting pregnant, the man's spern and seminal fluids go somewhere when they're deposited into her body. Those fluids are coming into contact with sensitive mucous tissues whose function it is to absorb whatever matters are put there. So it makes sense that her body absorbs the semen and breaks it down into proteins, and incorporates it into her own body somehow. That has to change her body chemistry in some way. And it's not far fetched to think that DNA could be detected.

I've seen somewhere else that multiple DNA tests of some women occasionally yield different results, and that such a woman (or individual, man or woman) is a "chimera". It'd be interesting to get info on these women's Ns. Could it be that what's being found are remnants of the DNA of her past sex partners?

SarahsDaughter said...

I suspect there will be tremendous pressure to not explore these hypotheses due to those potential repercussions

Or tremendous pressure to explore them considering the financial benefits a woman could accumulate via child support from every DNA provider.

b1bae96e-6447-11e3-b6bb-000f20980440 said...

An overactive immune system is actually to a number of illnesses from allergies to obesity. One theory is that we are too clean and bacteria that used to train the immune system is no longer present. Perhaps the reason for this increase in autoimmune diseases is too many chefs in the kitchen.

Remo said...

My goodness... GOD was correct again. Who'da thunk it? Certainly not the cheer leaders of American Churchianity who constantly remind young men to marry non-virgins, single mothers, et al because "God will give them a virgins heart" and all.

Crowhill said...

But we're supposed to "rise above" biology wherever it suits the feminist agenda. If we have a natural instinct to prefer virgins, we have to suppress that instinct in favor of the higher morality of allowing women to do whatever the heck they want.

SirHamster said...

I've always found the OT thing on making children for your deceased brother's widow to be rather odd, because genetically they'd just be the living brother's children, no? (Yes, there's practical aspects of the widow having her own children to care for her)

This line of research has interesting implications - maybe they do end up being the deceased brother's children in more than a symbolic way.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

My goodness... GOD was correct again.

Haha, yes, that thought also occurred to me. Science continues to provide evidence and justification for religious tenets.

2870b918-77c0-11e3-b9bd-000bcdcb8a73 said...

Shouldn't the title be "The Cost of N>1"?

No, N in this context means the number of partners a woman had before her husband, not including him. Vox is pointing out that even an N of 1 has consequences; the cost of higher values of N has been dealt with in other posts.

It should be fairly easy to confirm too, by comparing the DNA of a woman's children to that of the man to whom she lost her virginity but was not the father of her children.

I dunno. . . if his DNA shows up in the children, might that not just mean that he was their father?

It happens all the time that a woman has regular sex with one man, cheats on him, gets pregnant by another, and a DNA test positively excludes the first man as the father. If telegony is true, this sort of finding should be rare, as the regular partner's DNA would be in the mix regardless of actual paternity.

SFN said...

This appears to be based on a few case studies, after the fact, with no controls. Wouldn’t the simpliest explanation be that the women were banging their ex and lying about it?

Matamoros said...

There was an article about 12-14 years ago where it was said that constant sex with her husband had changed her DNA enough that she could be a kidney donor for him.

de ti said...

"And a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh, whereby they are no longer two, but one."

Who'da thunk?

APL said...

GFDad: "confirmation bias cuts both ways."

Well, yes. So then it boils down to; do you choose to suspend your rational mind and believe in some entity that chooses to wipe out half of its creation on a whim ( exactly what did the dinosaurs do to displease God?) or knowing exactly what you are thinking at any given time or place, demand that you prove your devotion/loyalty to it, by killing your own son.

In other words, do you consider yourself a plaything or a sentient being?

GF Dad said...

What a strawman. If that's your understanding, so be it. Hail Fortuna.

grendel said...

Metamoros, maybe that's why my wife acts more like me all the time. At least she doesn't look more like me, thank goodness.

newrebeluniv said...

I suspect there will be tremendous pressure to not explore these hypotheses due to those potential repercussions, but the concept is too fundamentally interesting and important to remain unexplored for long. --VD

Thus it will be explored by a fringe group so the brights can dismiss it.

--Hale

Daniel said...

This appears to be based on a few case studies, after the fact, with no controls. Wouldn’t the simpliest explanation be that the women were banging their ex and lying about it?

No. That wouldn't explain how the kids carry the dominate DNA of the father and the modifications by the non-sire. In fact, that would simply be more direct evidence for telegony.

APL said...

"Telegony"

Where does this 'first' seed, reside?

Not in the womb, that is flushed out every month.

GFDad: "What a strawman. If that's your understanding, so be it."

Disagree with the first clause. The second, I can live with.

Daniel said...

Shouldn't the title be "The Cost of N>1"?

No. N refers to the number of partners a woman has had prior to marriage or current long-term relationship. In other words a woman who was a virgin prior to marriage has an N=0 before and after the honeymoon. The cost of a wife N=1 is that a husband may have genetically compromised children. The title could have been "The Cost of N>0" but that's just confusing, even if correct.

Daniel said...

Not in the womb, that is flushed out every month.

Yes in the womb. That's the theory. It isn't that one egg is fertilized, it is that seminal fluid has an unknown modifier effect on the woman's reproductive system: possibly only her entire supply of eggs, possibly on something that affects the supply. That's what the bit above is talking about: the somatic tissues, previous fetal blood, epigenesis, etc.

So no, not one egg, possibly not even a prior impregnation. Something in the womb.

CarpeOro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matamoros said...

grendel said... Metamoros, maybe that's why my wife acts more like me all the time. At least she doesn't look more like me, thank goodness.

)))) I don't think any of us want our women to look like us/a man.

One Fat Oz Guy said...

So, doesn't this increase the argument for condoms?
Best bet to get big companies to invest in research is to get a condom company involved. All companies love scientific data that suggests you use their product.

tacticaltoolbox said...

Deut 24
1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.

2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife.

3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;

4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.


Hum, potentially starts to make sense now... I mean if it turns out to be true about the genetics. If not, the truth is still the truth, God sees it as abomination and so should we, too.

Corvinus said...

A telegony study could be very easily done.

There are lots of white women who had slept with black men and subsequently married and had children with white men. Do a study on the children if they are confirmed to be genetically her white husband's, and see if they have any groid traits. The wide gap between the European and African races should prove a great advantage here.

jimmy-jimbo said...

The Bible does suggest a woman has spiritually bonded with her husband (and vice versa). I have always taken it as her first husband, but I guess it means her lover too. Thus, it is possible to be physically mated to your first lover no matter if you're latter married to a new person. Perhaps that is why I always think back to my first lover and first wife despite all attempts to forget them.

Markku said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Markku said...

Well, yes. So then it boils down to; do you choose to suspend your rational mind and believe in some entity that chooses to wipe out half of its creation on a whim ( exactly what did the dinosaurs do to displease God?) or knowing exactly what you are thinking at any given time or place, demand that you prove your devotion/loyalty to it, by killing your own son.

In other words, do you consider yourself a plaything or a sentient being?


This contains both the fallacies of Complex Question (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_question) and False Dilemma (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma). The first being, the assumption that believing those things involves suspending one's rational mind. And "whim" assumes that the decision happened very quickly, which is something you didn't get from the narrative. If you used the word "arbitrarily", then I would agree with it, provided you meant it in the original meaning, and not the modern one.

As for the second, the word the original Hebrew and Greek uses of our relationship with God is "slave". Slaves ARE sentient beings by definition - otherwise we would indeed use the word "plaything".

Markku said...

You, on the other hand, aren't a slave, you are a rebel. And I'm sure you feel more free. For now.

Michael Maier said...

Yet one more reason to be glad to know my father was not my mother's first... I was literally naseous reading this.

Michael Maier said...

Remo said...
My goodness... GOD was correct again. Who'da thunk it? Certainly not the cheer leaders of American Churchianity who constantly remind young men to marry non-virgins, single mothers, et al because "God will give them a virgins heart" and all.


If anyone ever said this to me, I would have to say "God thinks you're a fucking idiot".

mickeypavic said...

"And the two will become one flesh."

Telegony, heh.

Oddly my dog breeder friend (breeds Bull Arabs) won't allow his bitch to breed with mongrels as he says it would ruin her, who would have thought the oldies were on to something.

APL said...

markku: "This contains both the fallacies of Complex Question "

Interesting. Let me try again.

We know, because Christian and Judaic scripture tells us, why and how the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. Agreed?

What does Christian or Judaic scripture have to tell us about the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum?

GF Dad said...

@APL - you did create a strawman. You made some accusations regarding a belief system in an effort to avoid addressing the fallacies in your own. Defend your position - demonstrate mathematically the ease at which an error correcting system can form in any self replicating molecule. I'm sure it's a trivial task because we're here, standing now, at the end of billions of years of evolutionary development, right?

I'm willing to bet that the odds are infinitesimal, even within the framework of trillions of multiverses.

APL said...

GF Dad: "Defend your position - demonstrate mathematically the ease at which an error correcting system can form in any self replicating molecule."

Er, that was your position, specifically:

"Regarding so-called junk DNA, a few years ago, I read that there was research being done into junk DNA that showed that the junk was actually being used as part of an error correcting code, like parity bits, but much more complex. I don't know if anything ever came of this or not,"

You do the math to support it, 'it' wasn't my proposition. I can simply reflect that over an infinite period of time and given an infinite number of permutations, with a clear filter ( if it works it lives, otherwise not ) life, once established is a fairly resilient, conservative phenomena.

If life evolves, for example, the haemoglobin molecule and, a use for the molecule, it's not a stretch to propose there is some mechanism (in addition to death) to make sure the haemoglobin molecule is reliably reproduced.

After all, DNA by itself is a pretty awesome molecule, so why is it necessary to think nature produced one awesome molecule that has one purpose that we have managed to identify, but Gosh, it cannot possibly have another purpose too.

GF Dad: "You made some accusations regarding a belief system"

Yes, and you have corroborated my assertion that to 'believe', you need to suspend rationality.
If you can successfully test your belief system. Then it is no longer a belief system and no longer requires faith, because it is science.

Mindstorm said...

"Some influence..." on the phenotype or on the genotype? If the first, then nothing special, if the second... highly unlikely.

Mindstorm said...

If the influence isn't heritable further down the line, then I don't know what the fuss is about.

For example, the more older brothers you have, the more are the chances of you turning out gay. Could it be a similar mechanism there?

Mindstorm said...

Or it could be another facet of the 'sperm wars'.

Markku said...

What does Christian or Judaic scripture have to tell us about the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum?

Nothing in specific to those cities, but generally that the world was cursed at the beginning of Genesis by God. So, that same fate could happen to anyone at any time. It just happened to be Pompeii and Herculaneum, but it could be New York tomorrow.

The wonder is not that some cities were annihilated, but that there are cities still NOT annihilated. But that will change, according to Revelation.

Mindstorm said...

It reminds me of Rh factor incompatibility in some way.

APL said...

Markku: "Nothing in specific to those cities, but generally that the world was cursed at the beginning of Genesis by God. So, that same fate could happen to anyone at any time."

So it wasn't anything the population of Sodom or Gomorrah had done, just that one of their ancestors ( I presume Eve ) had got humanity kicked out of Eden? In that respect have the scriptures given us an inaccurate picture of the situation? S & G were destroyed because any city anywhere at any time is subject to Gods vengeful curse?

You earlier objected to my use of the term 'whim', but destroying two cities just because an ancestor behaved badly seems whimsical ( not in a good sense ) to me.

Markku said...

In that respect have the scriptures given us an inaccurate picture of the situation? S & G were destroyed because any city anywhere at any time is subject to Gods vengeful curse?

Subject, yes, but in Sodom and Gomorrah's case God went out of His way to do it. We have no specific reason to believe He did it for Pompeii or Herculaneum, though He might have. But as far as we know, it could just have been the nature taking its course, and God knowing it in advance but not stopping it due to the curse. On Sodom and Gomorrah, we do have that information.

I objected to "whim" because in addition to arbitrariness (in the original sense), it also implies a quick decision. And you don't know this from the text. So, accuracy, please. Those decisions ARE arbitrary, as they depend only on God's decision and not some set of fixed rules (which is the original meaning), but we have no reason to believe they are impulsive. If I allow you to sneak in unjustified assumptions, like impulsiveness of the decision, you might use them as presuppositions for some argument later. Can't have that.

Markku said...

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Considering that we don't have up- or downvotes on this site, this is obviously spam that you just copypaste everywhere. So, expect it to be deleted for ordinary, non joo-related reasons.

Robert What? said...

Unless there is a major societal shift the chances of the average guy finding a virgin to marry are almost nil.

dwarzel said...

OT:

Women cannot be held responsible for their actions or decisions, # 226,551 in a series:

http://thehairpin.com/2014/10/stories-like-passwords

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