Re: Race is Phenotypic Variation

Gerold Firl (
6 Dec 1994 12:35:55 -0800

In article <3brmkf$> (John Collier) writes:

>It is worth adding that in studies on breeds of dogs, so far it has
>been impossible to use cladistic analysis of genetic variation to
>separate the breeds. There is basically no usable information in a
>fairly large amount of available data. The methods used have been
>_very_ succesful in classifying sister species, even with a much
>smaller database. Wolves, incidentally, are as closely related
>genetically to other dogs as dogs within a single breed are. In other
>words, there appears to be at present no usable genetic basis for
>distinguishing dog breeds as separate clades. I trust the implications
>for human "races" are apparent.

Actually, the implications are not completely apparent to me. Perhaps you
could explain?

I think we would all agree that dog breeds are "real". That is, there is a
significant impact on the fitness of any particular doglike individual
resulting from their breed. Furthermore, breeds are genetically

You point out that current science and technology is unable to distinguish
between breeds of dogs. I guess the main implication I get from that is
that we are pretty clueless about genetics. Dog breeds do exist, they are
genetically determined, they have a significant impact on morphology,
behavior, and fitness, yet we cannot distinguish where and how the
differences are coded. Hopefully, all the time and money spent on the
genome project wil eventually enable us to tell a miniature poodle from a
st. bernhard. %^)

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf