Because we are constantly evolving — that is, adapting to new circumstances — geneticists are able to backtrack along the DNAs in the bones of dead people in the past and find out the approximate dates when we acquired new variations, or mutations, in our genes. Thus, for example, we in Europe are now able to say when milk-intolerant hunter-gatherers began to be dominated by milk-tolerant farmers migrating from the Middle East some 40,000 years ago and then, a few thousand years later, by a wave of migrants from central Asia.
Genes, however, are only a small part of our DNA. Each of our 23 chromosomes can therefore be likened to a piece of string about two miles long with knots, representing genes, every metre or two. The material in between the genes was, until recently, called “junk DNA” because it was thought to be of no importance. It is, however, also evolving and, as there is about 50 times more of it than the DNA of genes themselves, then it is recently being able to give us more accurate datings when different human races coalesced.
Thus, in the coming years, each one of us will be able to trace our individual history back to even quite small groups once they had migrated out of Africa about 60,000 years go and migrated all over the world. We’ll also begin to understand why some mutations — but not others — became permanent additions to our genes according to quite different circumstances humans had to adapt to in different parts of the world.
The most important mutations of all are those which lead to more intelligence. This has applied all the way through our ancestry and, given the increasingly skilled specialisations necessary for survival today — individually and cultural — more than ever. High intelligence depends not so much on specific genes — there are far too many of them — but on reducing the number of deleterious genes that we also have in our DNA.
So far this is achieved for a small number of people by IVF treatment but in the last year or two a brand new technique — gene-editing — has come on the scene whereby precise segments of harmful material can be chopped out of an individual’s DNA and replaced with healthy gene variations.
For the first time since China entered the world trading market in 1979, the Chinese are now at the forefront of scientific research in one area. This is gene-editing. Editing one’s own and one’s children’s genes could be the greatest consumer growth market there has been so for.
If the Republican Party in America wants to follow Donald Trump’s policy of isolating China with prohibitively high tariffs then it will be even more idiotic than not having excluded him as a candidate in the first place — an opportunity that the Founding Fathers of America gave them when the Constitution was carefully framed.