by Dr. Swaggins
Ladies and gentlemen of Coontown, I have decided to go a little bit off of the beaten path.
The inaugural post of Coontown’s very own racial science blog will not, in fact, be dedicated to disproving a recent origin out of Africa, affirming the heritability of IQ, or even highlighting the often drastically different reproductive habits of negroids and non negroids. Rather, I have a more ambitious goal in mind: I’m going to convince at least one of you to breed a small army of children.
As a student of the life sciences, I occasionally distill people all the way down to what genes they might have and how those will be expressed in a given situation, almost regarding human beings as the sum total of the chemical reactions that occur in each of their cells. I may be guilty of losing the forest for the trees, but I think it’s beautiful to see the traits I cherish in loved ones go on, copied base pair for base pair, in their descendants. As my older relatives get ready to make their exit from this world, I see younger relatives stepping boldly into the world, and I cannot help but notice that many of the traits I loved about my grandparents, aunts, and uncles are not dying with them. We’ve known for around thirty years now that these personality traits have a heavy genetic basis, as do IQ and physical appearance to no one’s surprise, and I encourage anyone curious about this topic to look into the Minnesota Twin Family Study and its associated studies. The gene is passed, and therefore the trait is passed, and therefore that part of that person outlived the person themselves, walking the Earth alive and well in the body of another.
I’ve seen people talk about how valuable family is, and how much their heritage matters to them. It should be fairly obvious that mating is how we pass our genes on, but I’m going to go into more detail; I’m going to quantify much of the value of family by arguing that family is how you can pass on the overwhelming majority of all your tendencies, capabilities, and other traits, dying only in physical form while the people you love most carry the torch of all those things which made you, you.
In the quest for genetic immortality, you run into an apparent roadblock in the limits of your own ability to breed. With each child you have, you pass on half of your genes, but you can’t have two kids and call it good: each child possesses a randomly selected half of your genome, meaning that after two children, you’ve successfully passed on around 75% of your genome. At three you’re 87.5% successful, and at four, you’re 93.75% successful. I take it you’re noticing the diminishing returns?
You’re probably not going to get upwards of 99% on your own, which requires seven children. Who said you needed to go it alone, though?
Siblings are 50% genetically identical on average. Imagine deciding which genes your younger brother might inherit from your father by coin toss: you have 23 quarters representing your own genome laid out in a row. Heads means that you got your paternal grandfather’s copy of that particular chromosome; tails means you got your paternal grandmother’s copy of the same chromosome. If you have heads for the first toss (Grandpa’s chromosome 1), your little brother has a 50% chance of getting the same result you did. Now, repeat this 22 more times to determine his genetic inheritance from Dad, and do this 23 times for Mom’s genome as well. In these 46 coin tosses, about 23 will be the same as yours and 23 different.
Now imagine that before inheriting your paternal grandfather’s chromosome 1, some of grandma’s genes hopped onto it by a process called recombination. Whenever you have heads, it’s part tails, and whenever you have tails, it’s part heads. This means that even when you get a different coin toss result, there will still be some similarity, because that chunk of tails in your heads resembles your brother’s tails and that chunk of heads in his tails resembles your heads. It sounds like a very complicated version of a Reese’s commercial, but the end result is that your siblings are almost always going to be pretty close to 50% genetically identical to you.
That identical 50% of your sibling’s genome will be inherited randomly as well, half on average to each child. Should a sibling of yours have four children, an estimated 87.5% of that 50% will be passed on, for 43.75%. Better yet, if you have two siblings and each has two children, that’s two random sets of 37.5%, with the estimate climbing to 60.94%. And since your own gene transmission is equally random, your siblings will be passing along some of YOUR genes you didn’t manage to pass. Let’s say you had three children; your 87.5% estimate has gone up to 95.12%.
The final part of my calculation will be to include your first cousins, who on average have an eighth of your genome each, and will randomly transmit one half of that every time they have children of their own. I’m not including second cousins because they carry about 1/32nd of your genome and you’re likely never to meet them. Even with first cousins, however, I should note that if two of your first cousins are siblings then their contribution to your genetic immortality will be somewhat redundant due to the fact that the genes they share with you both derive from the same person.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for: what percentage of your genes is passed on based on the number of kids, nieces and nephews, and first cousins once removed you have? This can be calculated on a relative by relative basis:
(0.5)^n, with n being the number of kids you have, is the proportion of your genes you didn’t pass on. For a given sibling, 1- (0.5 x (1-(0.5)^n)) is the proportion of your genes they didn’t pass on. For a given first cousin, 1- (0.125 x (1-(0.5)^n)) is the proportion of your genes they didn’t pass on. Taking all these values for you, your siblings, and all your first cousins, multiplying them together, subtracting that value from 1, and multiplying by 100 will give you an estimate for the percentage of your own genome that has been passed on. For a more precise estimate, you have to account for the fact that your paternal first cousins only have access to your paternally derived genes and your maternal first cousins only have access to your maternally derived genes. In extreme cases, such as my girlfriend (thirty cousins on her mother’s side, zero on her dad’s), the percentage of her DNA passed on by her first cousins will approach 50% instead of 100%, but that 50% of her genome is going to be found in a lot of people.
This method of approximating the proportion of your genes passed to the next generation is just that: an approximation. We would need an obnoxiously detailed equation to account for the redundancy of your cousins who are siblings passing on chunks of the same 25% of your DNA that your aunt or uncle will share; that, or we’d treat your aunts and uncles as passing on their 25% instead of your first cousins passing on their 12.5%. That would work mathematically, but I’m encouraging people to have babies today, not two decades ago.
If both sets of your grandparents, their children, and their grandchildren have three children each, you will have two siblings and twelve first cousins. You and both of your siblings will see about 99.0% of your DNA copied letter for letter within your family, without accounting for the fact that assortative mating will drive this figure upwards, particularly among coethnics, and the fact that you have an even split of maternal and paternal first cousins in this scenario.
It’s disturbing to think of slipping away from this world, not knowing what will happen next. Still, if you pass on your work, ideas, values, culture, and the overwhelming majority of your genetics, the only part of you that is lost will be your consciousness- your ability to experience the future of your work, ideas, values, culture, and genes as they’re passed down in your family. With the passage of time, old minds are wiped away into nothingness and new ones grow, made from the same stuff as their elders were; the tapestry of an unbroken line never stretches or tears, only ever renewing itself as the same threads are continually re-woven in our chromosomes. You are an extension of your family, and your family is an extension of you. Family is how we pass on everything we are and everything we value.
Your family has probably given you so much over the course of your life. Give back to them. Strengthen them, care for them, breed more of them, and support them in their trials and endeavors.
It is exactly as Shakespeare said: “the world must be peopled!”