Sunday, May 3, 2009

Geneticist as cowboy?

This is a great cartoon, but .... what does it mean?? The geneticist is a cowboy? The cowboy was cloned?? Lab results show the guy's a cowboy? Any ideas??


Amie said...

Nature vs. Nurture? ( in the sense that it's taking aim at the fact that many people believe 'superficial' traits to be genetic rather than cultural or related to external factors?)
I'm just a musician, so excuse me if this is not at all scientifically sound... :-)

Ken Weiss said...

Musicians can be cowboy's too, ya know! I also think it may mean something nature-nurture related, that the right way to decide whether someone's a cowboy or not is on the ranch, whereas geneticists think they can tell who's a cowboy from their DNA. Ranchers think in terms of what you can do; geneticists in terms of what you 'are'.

Of course, musicians probably shouldn't be allowed to read science blogs.

Anne Buchanan said...

Musicians can be so intuitive; we could probably find genes for that in the lab! Actually, I've been pondering this cartoon for a few days, and I agree with you, Amie, about nature vs nurture, but I also think the point is that there are some questions that it's unacceptable to ask in genetic terms, and for which answers just shouldn't be looked for in the genome. Behavioral traits, say, like occupation, or others. I may well be reading this into this cartoon, but if so, it's because that's my own bias. And, these kinds of complex traits aren't coded for by genes anyway.