Friday, May 07, 2010

Neanderthal Autistic Transsexuals (Bex-Orange)

I am totally going to geek out right now..... I found the awesomest blog EVER (in my opinion)!

When I was in collage I was studying biochemistry and molecular biology hoping to concentrate in psychological genomics and potential pharmacological interactions with the genomics of the physco-somatic system once I made it to grad school. (In English... I want to study DNA and genes and how they interact and dictate our actions and the creation/functioning of our physical bodies. Specifically I want to work with the brain and the connection the brain has with the body. I am especially interested as an extension of that study, how drugs can interact with our genes & DNA to create changes in our thinking/feeling and the physical structure & functioning of the brain and brain-body connection) Shortly before I dropped out I was in an into to genetics & genomics class. We learned that there was a team of scientists at the time (2007) reconstructing Neanderthal DNA in Europe and hoping to cross reference Neanderthal DNA with modern humans. Their hypothesis is that Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons (modern humans) interbred and certain traits such as red hair come from them and is not inherent in our species.

What makes me excited is more than just the "detailed" genetic description of the results of the study, but also the fact that I have been intensely interested in Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon interactions. This led me to read a lot about it and even live in Europe for a year where I worked with a mentor to learn about the history of humanity in the region. (He even taught me how to date something back to the early stone age, blindfolded and only by the feel of it in my hands!)
Now something that has fascinated me lately is autism. There is this amazing woman named Temple Grandin who has been publishing books about being Autistic. She makes a case that autism is not a disorder but simply a different way to functioning. Not a malfunction, but an adaption! This blog entry jumps into this very theory while also suggesting a correlation with Autism and the percentage of Neanderthal DNA in the general populace in different regions of the world.

Then she jumps into how Autism is most prevalent in males, and there is a significant subset of transsexual women. In her entry (and several others), she goes into detail how the make up/functioning of the brain is very different depending on whether you are male bodied or female bodied, and your attraction to males or females. I don't fully understand it yet because I didn't have time to get through it (it has a LOT of complicated detail). What I did pull from it is something about cross gender identity which starts to explain how transgender brains work and respond/interact with the world around them. Apparently transsexualism, however, is not strongly correlated to Neanderthal global DNA distribution, even via the Autism link.

Anyway.... I look forward to reading into more detail about the static nature nature of sexual orientation in the brain and its complete lack of corrolation to gender identity. I'm sure that there is a bunch more interesting stuff on the blog. I put a link on the right hand side in my links section. Its A.E. Brain. Enjoy!

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