Genetic Patterns, Endogamy, Exogamy and Genetic Interests
This essay is based upon the work of Dr. Frank Salter as published in his On Genetic Interests and in Population and Environment, Peter Lang Publishing, Vol. 24, pages 111-140, 2002.
To begin with, a question: is endogamy superior to exogamy, and if so, why? How can we interpret this in view of the issue of ethnic genetic interests?
Endogamous mating is superior to exogamy because it concentrates ethnic genetic interests: the more (genetically) similar one’s mate, the greater the similarity of distinctive gene frequencies one will share with offspring produced with that mate. Conversely, the greater the genetic distance between mates, the fewer will be the similarities between parents and offspring in distinctive gene frequencies.
Ethnic/racial identity is, in the vast majority of cases, a useful proxy for relative genetic distance. This table quantifies these differences. It shows, for example, that a European Caucasian choosing endogamy with another European Caucasian gains a 66% increase in parental kinship compared to that obtained if the person chose exogamy with an African (or, European-African exogamy would yield a relative 66% loss of parental kinship for each parent).
As Dr. Salter makes clear in On Genetic Interests, it is possible that the precise quantification of loss of parental kinship through exogamy may change with better gene sequencing data and/or better formulae for calculating kinship based on genetic distance. However, even though the numbers may shift, the basic underlying truth would remain: that endogamy results in maximization of parental kinship with offspring, and that exogamy damages genetic interests by decreasing parental kinship with offspring, and this decrease (whatever it is) will be related to the genetic distance between the prospective mates.
Also keep in mind that this is all relative. The chart above shows the major geographical races, but the endogamy vs. exogamy argument operates, albeit at a much more attenuated level, within races as well. Thus, we can consider fitness costs to a Chinese-Korean marriage vs. Chinese-Chinese and Korean-Korean; however, those costs would be much smaller than that resulting from, say, an English-Chinese marriage. Essentially, to repeat: the costs of exogamy are related to the genetic distance between the mates.
Of course, one can argue that having more offspring can offset the shortfall in gene sharing with offspring. In other words, if picking a spouse from ethnie “X” means losing 80% of potential kinship with each child, then doubling the number of children you produce will more than compensate for this. But:-
1)Endogamy is still superior
. Given any fixed number of children, your genetic interests will be maximized by endogamy. If you have six children with exogamy instead of three with endogamy, you can make an argument about genetic compensation. But if you are planning on having six children anyway, then six with endogamy beats six with exogamy. All else being equal, endogamy wins.
2)In developed western nations - which are the nations of interest to us and which are the nations experiencing mass exogamy - the trend is for small families
. The average married White American has 1-3 children, with a high degree of average parental investment in that small family. Thus, given these practical constraints, endogamy is superior (again, see point 1). One can theorize about family size compensating for exogamy; the reality is that mixed-race couples are not going to say: “Hey, let’s have extra children to make up for our loss of parental kinship.” It doesn’t work that way. They’ll have the same number of children as everyone else and lose genetic interests thereby.
3)Point (2) applies for nations and the world as well as for single families: there are limits to population growth
. One can talk about ethnic groups, being displaced by immigration and participating in intermarriage, salvaging their genetic interests by having more children and “spreading their genes” via exogamy. However, unpleasant reality intrudes once again. Every nation has a carrying capacity, a limit beyond which further population growth is not possible and/or not desirable. When that limit is reached, it will make a big difference to the native ethny whether that ultimate population consists of “pure-bloods” or hybrids.
For example, let’s change the situation from parent-child to original European population-admixed population. Let’s say a European population thoroughly mixes with Africans, and reaches its carrying capacity of 100 million people. The “parental kinship” of the original population to the admixed “offspring” population will be 66% lower with Eurafrican hybridization compared to the maintenance of European endogamy. And the world itself has a practical limit in carrying capacity as well. Thus, one cannot say, “have more children” when we are faced with overpopulation and environmental limitations. Thus, endogamy gives more genetic “bang for the buck” in all practical scenarios.
4)We also observe the problem of relative differences in kinship maintenance
. If one population sends its surplus population into another, and if this surplus mates with the natives, then the genetic interests of the natives of the receiving population are being diluted. Meanwhile the genetic interests of the sending population are not only stable in their own (ethnically homogenous) homelands, but are increased by spreading their genes into the recipient nation. In this specific case, “spreading genes” via exogamy can be adaptive because the immigrants’ homelands are ethnically secure, and the immigrants represent a surplus population whose exogamy in no way threatens the interests of their homeland.
Instead, such exogamy represents a further dissemination of their distinctive genes and gene frequencies over and beyond what is taking place in their ethnically homogenous homelands, with the added benefit of diluting the genetic interests of a competing group (the recipient ethny) in that group’s nation.
Granted, the immigrants would have had an even higher level of genetic interests preserved if they had remained endogamous in their new home, had many children, and merely directly displaced the natives. But given that there is an undiminished (and usually growing) reservoir of undiluted genetic interests in their homogenous homelands, intermarriage with the natives of the receiving nation can be, as stated, an effective way of further enhancing the genetic interests of the immigrants.
Thus, this is a further argument against the “have more children to compensate” rationale: not only do you come up against barriers of desired family size and national carrying capacity, but you also must deal with the loss of relative fitness compared to those more racially homogenous nations that are the sources of the peoples with which you are miscgenenating. A Chinese female in the USA may mate with a white American male secure in the knowledge that the 1.25 billion Chinese of her homeland are demographically secure and that her mating choice, while diluting her own personal genetic interests, advances that of her co-ethnics by spreading East Asian-specific gene frequencies while displacing European-specific genes and gene frequencies. The white mate, on the other hand, has no such compensation, since he suffers not only a personal dilution of potential kinship compared to that he would have enjoyed through endogamy, but he is participating in the genetic dilution of his native stock in its homeland.
This dilution is in no way compensated by a Europe which, unlike China, is itself being swamped with displacement immigration. Thus we can see how a persons choice of mate effects not only themselves but their co-ethnics. By choosing a Chinese wife the white man harms his fellow whites, who lose the potential greater genetic kinship they would have had with his offspring had he mated endogamously (the same holds for trans-racial adoption as well). A side point, as Dr. Salter points out in On Genetic Interests, is that when a person out-marries and has children, they then, on a personal level, must adopt some sort of interest in their mate’s ethny since, as Dr. Salter rightfully observes, both parent’s (and hence both ethny’s) distinctive genes and gene frequencies have a common fate in the children. No wonder that whites who out-marry and have mixed-race children often show a distinct interest in their mate’s non-white ethny - a fact that harms white interests by dividing loyalties of group members.
The other basic problem with “genetic compensation” is that mere counting of gene frequencies does not tell the entire story. It not only ignores the possibility of population-specific epigenetic modifications (eg, heritable differences in DNA methylation that influence phenotype) that can be lost through hybridization but, even more importantly, the loss of the specific combinations of genes and gene frequencies that define different populations and are also responsible for the suite of phenotypic characteristics that typify various human groups. This needs to be explained in more detail.
I believe that differences in the population-specific macro-patterns of combinations of particular gene frequencies are also important genetic interests and this is in addition to the mere counting of differences in gene frequencies.
Thus, I propose that not only do different population groups differ in their gene frequencies, genes, and epigenetic modifications (GFGE), but they also differ in how the GFGE are patterned in different combinations. Different ethnies are characterized by heritable patterns of combinations of GFGE, which distinguish them from other populations. Heritable patterns of gene frequencies are reproducible pieces of genetic information; hence, they are genetic interests. The difference between the English and the Bantu is not merely in the Fst values - a measurement of differences in allele frequencies (or genetic variation) - but also how the genes are patterned in the genome. The English may tend to have certain clusters of alleles inherited together (e.g., gene alleles coding for particular patterns of phenotype) while the Bantu have their own unique patterns.
What about genetic recombination? The obvious argument one can expect against this idea is that genetic patterns are not heritable, in that, in each generation, genetic recombination “re-shuffles the deck”. If the pattern of genes is recombined each generation, even with endogamy, how then is this genetic information - and, hence, genetic interests - reproducible? The answer is to understand exactly what is being talked about here. Obviously, in the absence of cloning (and in cloning one may well lose epigenetic modifications) one does not exactly reproduce the genetic patterns of one generation to another. But what is preserved, if relative endogamy holds, is a broad macro-pattern, a range if you will, of genetic patterns that is inherited from one generation to the next. Genetic interests of patterns of gene frequencies do not require exact inheritance of patterns - that is, a key that “exact” is not needed. All that is it required is that over time the genetic information stays within a particular range characteristic of particular populations. The range is the reproducible genetic information that constitutes genetic interests.
Indeed, recombination would shuffle the alleles around each generation, but if endogamy or near-endogamy is maintained, then the recombination merely shuffles around a restricted set of population specific gene frequencies and creates a restricted set of potential genetic patterns. The micro-patterns may differ but the overall combinations of gene frequencies stay the same.
It would be like shuffling and reshuffling the cards of one deck. In contrast, exogamy coupled with recombination not only shuffles the deck, but also replaces cards from one deck with novel, alien cards from a different deck.
This is no mere theory, but is observed in reality. Linkage disequilibrium (LD) - that is, finding alleles linked together at a higher probability than expected - can be established throughout the entire genome after a major admixture event. This is because novel combinations of gene alleles from the two parental populations are being brought together in ways not observed in the parentals. Thus, the unique types of parental genetic patterns are disrupted and replaced by the new hybrid pattern. Over time this LD begins to fade as recombination distributes the new alleles throughout the genome, establishing a new, more stable genetic structure pattern characteristic of the hybrid population (thus, the patterns of hybrid populations takes some time to be fully stabilized). See Figure 12.12 here. Note how the patterns of alleles change with the admixture event, and how LD is formed throughout the genome after admixture - evidence of a large-scale disruption of the pre-existing genetic patterns.
This has impact on genetic interests. Looking merely at gene frequencies, English-Bantu matings can recover their loss of genetic kin interests by doubling the number of children (although this “recovery” is a one-shot deal). However, by taking into account the genetic interests inherent in those reproducible overall (overall, not exact) patterns of genetic combinations which are characteristic of different ethnies we observe that English-Bantu matings are an enormous loss of genetic interest, regardless of the number of children produced. This is because in the next generation both the English and Bantu lose the reproduction of the particular range of ethnic-specific patterns of allele combinations characteristic of each population.
Let’s consider this some more, and bring back the recombination issue. A population “X” is characterized by, let us say, particular distinctive gene frequencies for alleles at loci A, B, C. D etc. Another population, “Y”, is characterized by different frequencies of alleles at those same loci. Looking at this from the perspective of gene frequencies only, exogamy between these populations will decrease genetic interests by diminishing the frequencies of particular alleles in a specific number of offspring. In theory, having more children could compensate, if we ignore the practical considerations outlined above (points 1 to 4 above) which ensure that this compensation never actually takes place.
But what about the genetic patterns? Let’s take population X. In generation 1, we may observe that the frequency of a particular pattern of alleles at these loci is 0.25, a different pattern is 0.15, etc. The next generation, again assuming endogamy, may exhibit frequencies of these patterns of 0.30 and 0.20. These changes would be due to genetic recombination. In the third generation, the frequencies may be 0.28 and 0.22. The patterns are not being exactly recreated at the same levels, but the overall pattern remains the same: the pattern of a range of frequencies, characteristic of this unmixed population, is maintained. And it is precisely this generation-to-generation maintenance of specific macro-patterns of gene frequencies that is heritable information: a genetic interest.
However, after a massive admixture event between populations X and Y, regardless of the number of children created that may “compensate” for individual gene frequencies, the patterns may be at frequencies of only 0.03 and 0.01. Or perhaps the patterns may be lost entirely, and only reformed at very low frequencies (or not at all) after several more generations of the hybrids mating with each other. The greater the size of the pattern, the smaller the chances of it being re-assembled in subsequent hybrid generations.
So, the card shuffling analogy comes to the fore again: with endogamy, genetic recombination shuffles the allelic cards of the same genetic deck, altering the micro-patterns of gene frequencies and changing, within a prescribed population-specific range, the frequencies of different micro-patterns. Thus, the overall macro-pattern is maintained.
In contrast, exogamy introduces into the mix genetic cards from an alien deck, reshuffling the two sets together so as to diminish the frequencies of the micro-patterns to levels not characteristic of the original populations, and disrupting the macro-patterns altogether. Reproducible genetic information is lost; hence, genetic interests are lost, regardless of the number of children produced.
Using a phenotypic example may help illustrate this further (although the gene frequencies in question need not be of such phenotypically-relevant genes). Let us consider a North European population characterized by patterns of genes coding for eye and hair color, skin complexion, nose shape, head shape etc, so that in each generation a reasonably reproducible fraction of the population will be blonde, blue-eyed, fair-skinned, straight-nosed and long-headed. The exact frequency of such a phenotype may change slightly each generation because of genetic recombination, but will stay within a range, assuming the maintenance of endogamy. Perhaps in one generation the frequency of such a phenotype will be 0.60, in another 0.50, in another 0.67 etc, but there will be a reproducible range that is characteristic of the unmixed population and reflects the underlying genetic structure. Given marked admixture with Bantus - even if enough extra children are produced to “compensate” for changes in gene frequencies - the patterns will be disrupted. The frequency of the combinations in question will be drastically reduced, perhaps eliminated if complete panmixia occurs with two equal-sized populations. Subsequent generations may exhibit a small fraction of people with some of the traits clustering, but very, very few, if any, will exhibit all the traits together in the same form as the original “Nordic” population. Regardless of the exact frequency of “throwbacks” the point is clear: a dramatic loss of heritable genetic information - particular frequencies of specific gene patterns - has taken place and, hence, a large loss of genetic interests regardless of the number of children produced.
This example using phenotype raises other issues. Putting aside the notion of phenotypic interests per se (which, while legitimate, are secondary to the underlying, ultimate genetic interests), we observe that there are different fundamental types of genetic interests. So far we have been discussing implications of kinship-based genetic interests, the most basic type. But that is itself related to the other type of genetic interest: adaptive genetic interests. Certain genes and gene frequencies and patterns of such genes and gene frequencies (epigenetic modifications fit in here as well) are of particular “interest” because they are adaptive; they code for some sort of trait or suite of traits (e.g., intelligence, behavior, etc.) that increase the probability that the person or population will survive, reproduce in good numbers etc.
In other words, adaptive genetic interests are adaptive precisely because they represent that part of the distinctive genome that aids in the reproduction of all the distinctive genome (adaptive or not). This is why eugenics can be compatible with genetic interests even though eugenic policies will alter the frequencies of some genes in the next generation compared to the present - ostensibly a loss of genetic interests. However, if these changes in gene frequencies enhance the reproductive fitness of the entire population’s distinctive genome then the net result is an increase in genetic interests. Put another way, a few “bad” genes and gene frequencies are “sacrificed” to enhance the reproduction of the vast majority of the rest of the distinctive genome, thus resulting in a net increase of genetic interests.
In addition, it can be expected that the changes from generation to generation in gene frequencies due to eugenic interventions would probably be no greater than that observed from natural processes such as genetic drift and selection, which work on human populations and alter gene frequencies throughout time.
There is, therefore, an enormous difference between eugenics-driven (small) changes in gene frequencies and the huge loss of genetic interests due to admixture, an admixture that usually has no compensating benefits.
What about so-called “hybrid vigor”? As the late Dr. Glayde Whitney pointed out (Glayde Whitney, Mankind Quarterly, Vol. 39, pages 319-335, 1999), such “hybrid vigor” in human populations usually takes place when highly-related human populations interbreed. An example would be the mixing of different European sub-types. In this case the genetic distances are small so any damage to ethnic genetic interests due to hybridization would be very low. For the types of mixes that would significantly damage genetic interests - those between genetically distant populations - Whitney suggested that “hybrid incompatibility” may be more common. He cited the health problems of Black Americans, an African-European mix, as an example.
Indeed, one can also survey the highly mixed populations of Latin America and Central Asia for examples of “hybrid vigor”. Compared to recently unmixed Europeans or Asians, such does not exist. In addition, one published paper (Udry et al., Am. J. Public Health, Vol. 93, pages 1865-1870, 2003) demonstrated increased “health and behavioral risks” for mixed-race adolescents. Thus, there is no evidence whatsoever for any “hybrid vigor” effect in mating between widely divergent human populations, and certainly no effects that would compensate for the marked diminishment of genetic interests. Instead, such matings seem to cause problems, as suggested by Whitney as well as Udry et al.
What about the fact that the average IQ of Northeast Asians and Jews are higher than that of European-derived whites? Is that not a compensatory benefit for the admixture of these groups with whites? As regards Asians, the problem is that their average IQ is only a few points higher than the European average only a fraction of a standard deviation (SD). Thus, raising the white IQ with Asian admixture by even a few points would require such a massive level of inter-breeding that the resultant population would no longer be white, but rather, Eurasian. In other words, only complete panmixia between Europeans and Asians could result in even a minor change in average IQ. Is it worth it? Is the possible gain of a few IQ points worth the extinction of distinct European types (genocide) and the complete loss of kinship-based genetic interests? I do not think so. Eugenic improvements among unmixed Europeans can yield the same result in increased intelligence, without the catastrophic demographic/genetic effects.
Of course, one can argue that the Asians may not desire panmixia either (although they have enough numbers to survive it) and from their perspective inter-breeding with Europeans would be lowering the average IQ. From the European side, counter-arguments can be made that Europeans, despite their slightly lower average IQ, may be higher than Asians in creativity, imagination, the possible wider distribution of IQs (maybe more with very high IQ) and certain behavioral traits that encourage innovation, and that these characteristics would be lost with admixture. While the average IQ of Ashkenazi Jews is a full SD above the white mean, the Ashkenazi population is so small compared to that of European-derived peoples that the entire Ashkenazi population can be used in such an admixture scheme without markedly altering the resulting average white IQ. I imagine that the Jews themselves would rightfully object to such a scheme, since it would lead to the dissolution of the (Ashkenazi) Jewish ethny and identity. Furthermore, it must be noted that Jews seem to be lower on visuo-spatial IQ than are Europeans; thus, the situation is complicated by that fact as well.
Some would argue for a limited admixture between these groups to form a white-Jewish-Asian “elite”. Skimming off the more intelligent members of the white population for this scheme would be disastrous for the future well-being and integrity of the entire white community; their long-term interests would suffer. The potential gains for the white elites involved are questionable: they would fare better just to look for intelligent members of their own people to marry, conserving both kinship-based and adaptive-based genetic interests at the same time. Such a white elite, by maintaining racial endogamy, would maintain ethnic genetic interests with the greater white population as well beneficial to both the white elites and the masses. I see no reason why this “elitist” scheme should be favored from the white perspective, although I am sure that Asian immigrants and their descendants may well approve of the chance to dilute white genetic interests, and remove high-IQ whites - an intelligent leadership class - from the white population.
One can of course make more “proximate” arguments against exogamy: undesirable effects on phenotype (outward and “extended”), negative effects on group solidarity, culture, etc.
In summary, (relative) endogamy is clearly superior to exogamy, particularly for those of European descent. In addition, one may wish to consider patterns of gene frequencies as a useful addition to the concept of ethnic genetic interests, a concept with application to the whole problem of genetically distant immigration and ethnic displacement.
The genetic interests of people for co-ethnics is not only based on distinctive gene frequencies, but on the population-specific patterns of these gene frequencies, and possibly, epigenetic modifications as well. Therefore, the “traditional” view (ie, gene frequencies only) of ethnic genetic interests, as stated by Dr. Salter in his work may significantly underestimate the level of genetic interests people have with co-ethnics.
Ethnic genetic interests may be far more important than we have heretofore suspected.
The informational value of gene frequency patterns is discussed by AW Edwards in Human Genetic Diversity: Lewontin’s Fallacy. Bioessays 25: 798-801, 2003). To quote from the abstract of that paper:-
“…most of the information that distinguishes populations is hidden in the correlation structure of the data and not simply in the variation of the individual factors.”
The reality is that a large amount of genetic information is found in the correlation (ie, co-inheritance) of gene alleles. This correlation structure is, despite recombination, heritable at the population level as long as endogamy is maintained. Heritable distinctive genetic information constitutes genetic interests. Therefore the correlation structure of the genetic information is an important genetic interest.
In his NY Times article, Armand Marie Leroi mentions the possibility of Negrito extinction. He says that yes, if the Negritos become extinct some of their gene frequencies will live on in other peoples who are in part descended from them. But, he states:-
“But the unique combination of genes that makes the Negritos so distinctive, and that took tens of thousands of years to evolve, will have disappeared.”
Thus, Leroi acknowledges that a people can be defined by a heritable, unique combination of genes. In other words, then, we are talking about agenetic interest defined as a specific pattern of distinctive gene frequencies
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